London Boroughs Legal Alliance grows from cuts

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  • Where there is a need for specialist advice, it is often cheaper for local authorities to club together to develop in-house expertise than to pay for exepensive external legal advice (that is often delivered without any real understanding the context).

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  • Fashions come and go, a few years ago there was this thing called the GLC. Good to see these Tory councils hark back to good old socialist aggregation!

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  • Does this provide value for money for the taxpayer? It seems like a bit of a false economy to me

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  • To Anonymous - most public sector law firms in the UK are fronted by ex-public sector lawyers, who understand the context of the issue at hand extremely well. This experience permeates through their legal teams.

    Additionally, due to in-house local authority lawyers generally lacking the commercial background necessary to develop and promote innovative solutions to what essentially amount to commercial problems (outsourcing, asset backed vehicles etc.), using external advisers is actually very cost efficient, as they are able to straddle both worlds effectively.

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  • @Steve 3:03 - ''...develop and promote innovative solutions to what essentially amount to commercial problems (outsourcing, asset backed vehicles etc.), using external advisers is actually very cost efficient, as they are able to straddle both worlds effectively.''
    I am no public lawyer but what a load of dross. Lawyers do not 'promote innovative solutions' - that is PR window dressing to justify the price tag. I think you will find they give legal advice. Outsourcing and ABV's are not innovative solutions - any business A-level student with half a brain cell know what they are. That comment is exactly why firms should stay in-house as much as possible. Make up jargon to make up work why don’t you?
    External advisers are not cost efficient, they clock up by the hour giving the exact same 'innovative' advice that any firm would give you but in doing so get a trainee or an associate to do the work, then another associate to do the same work again and then get a partner to check it all......And maybe get another trainee to do some schedules, indexes and a bible. So by the hour and by time spent, in-house is always cheaper.

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  • Thank you Steve for that: plainly local authorities lack certain expertise...
    "....asset backed vehicles" are otherwise known as lorries.

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  • Steve
    There are certainly some exceptions, but my experience of working in-house in the public sector is that external law firms are rarely as expert as they believe!
    I feel I'm well placed to comment having worked for a major private law firm before moving to the public sector. I niavely thought when I arrived that I would bring a better understanding, however I quickly realised that the in-house practitioners are almost always the expert. The "innovative solutions" you refer to are almost always a desperate last throw of the dice by solicitors that believe their own hype. If private sector law firms really were half as good as they believe, they would put their highly caveated engagement letters to one side!

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  • I do not believe that London Borough Legal Alliance has been created to save money. That is just superficial veneer.
    It provides a high level of legal expertise to London Boroughs using taxpayers money to fight against the very public the London Boroughs are supposed to work for.
    In addition the cuts to legal aid to the ordinary person means that their hopes of legal reddress for injustices is vastly reduced. The imbalance is very clear.

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