Addleshaws’ process-mapping divides opinion

Addleshaw Goddard story reveals chasm between modernisers and conservatives 

If proof were needed of the split between the old guard and the new Turks in the UK legal market, check out the comments on last week’s Addleshaw Goddard process-mapping story.

“What a load of old rubbish,” said one. “Delivery of legal services is not rocket science, but neither can it be reduced to a series of formulae.”

Cue the following response: “If you’re happy as an in-house lawyer paying expensive lawyers for work that needn’t be delivered by rocket scientists, that’s your call. Wonder if your chief financial officer agrees with you?”

This spat neatly sums up the divided UK legal market, as fault lines emerge between those new entrants or established firms exploiting new methods of service delivery, and a conservative old order.

In Addleshaws’ case, the firm last week revealed that it was making attempts to position itself in the former camp. The firm is rolling out a legal process-mapping initiative across more than 40 of its primary transactions in an attempt to provide cheaper and more efficient services to clients.

The new service delivery method, which the firm claims is an industry first on this scale, is being led by partner Andrew Chamberlain, the newly-created head of client delivery.

“The starting point was that the legal market is broken, clients aren’t happy and they want greater certainty and innovation around pricing,” said Chamberlain. “The economic crash was the final piece of the jigsaw to make a perfect storm.”

Earlier this year Addleshaws underscored its modernity credentials when it recruited legal process outsourcing specialist Andy Loach, who has held senior leadership roles in a range of well-known international change-related businesses, including Xchanging Group, CPA Global and Integreon.

Loach was also part of the senior management team of the Managed Legal Services Division at Berwin Leighton Paisner, another firm that last week confirmed it is embracing the possibilities of the new market by expanding its Lawyers on Demand service to include a pay-as-you-go model known as LoD On Call.