Panel collaboration: keep your enemies close

For any firm out there still under the misapprehension that it is the sole master of its destiny, here’s yet more evidence that the client is firmly in the driver’s seat.

Following yesterday’s news that Royal Bank of Scotland has drafted in change theorist Richard Susskind to advise on a second panel reduction, The Lawyer can reveal now that Barclays is pushing collaborative working as part of its latest review.

It’s one thing for firms to collaborate on projects but to have to pitch together for a single contract, ultimately working toward a single bill, is new and probably unwelcome territory for many partners.

Meanwhile the mounting demands of clients are forcing firms to look in ever-greater detail at the best ways to disaggregate work. One survey quoted in The Lawyer’s recent feature on alternative sourcing suggests that just 5 per cent of a lawyer’s workload is dependent on having a legal qualification.

What are partners doing the other 95 per cent of the time? Getting to grips with the benefits and challenges of collaborative working would be a good use of some of it.

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