Shoosmiths targets flexible working market with contract lawyer offering

Shoosmiths has become the latest firm to enter the contract lawyer market as it looks to compete with the likes of Lawyers On Demand (LOD) and Allen & Overy’s (A&O) Peerpoint.

The new venture, Resource Solutions, is split into four services and is aimed specifically at helping in-house teams lower their costs. The four services are known as Spotlight, Blueprint, Resource pool and Secondment plus.

The new service has already been used by Weetabix after the company’s general counsel Chris Thomas requested a secondee to help with its “business as usual” contracts work.

Shoosmiths head of technology, media and commercial David Jackson said: “The legal market has changed dramatically in the past five years. Organisations are increasing the reliance they place on their in-house legal teams and require more and more from them with tighter budgets.

“Our clients challenged us to come up with a way of helping them to manage that increasing workload, for a price that is far more competitive than out-dated hourly-rate based fee models.”

Despite entering what has become known as the “new law” market, Shoosmiths is still lagging behind some of its competitors, which have recently expanded their offerings to Asia.

A&O’s flexible working venture Peerpoint has seen considerable success since it launched in 2013 using lawyers from the firm’s alumni. Since then the service has expanded internationally after opening its doors in Hong Kong last year.

In 2011 Eversheds launched its own service called Eversheds Agile, which worked by seconding lawyers to clients on a temporary basis. Following the service’s success the firm expanded Agile to Hong Kong and Singapore using a pool of between 20 and 30 lawyers.

One of the biggest players in the market is the BLP majority-owned Lawyers On Demand (LOD). The business was originally set up as a division of BLP but was spun out as a separate venture in 2012.

Last week LOD announced it was entering the Asian market in a big way through a merger with Australia-based AdventBalance. The merger will double the size of the firm and give it offices in Brisbane, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore and Sydney.