Pinsents enters contract lawyer market with on-demand business

Pinsent Masons is launching a contract lawyer service for clients in the mould of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) offering Lawyers on Demand and Eversheds Agile.

Pinsents is planning to launch its Vario business – a hub of freelance lawyers who can be called on to help clients deal with spikes in activity or fill in gaps caused by staff absences – in the spring.

The firm is now looking for legal professionals across all levels to fill its books, and is searching its alumni network as well as in the wider market. Vario, which means variety or difference according to the firm, will offer clients lawyers with a range of experience, from paralegal to partner.

Central management partner Alison Bond is leading the Vario initiative. In a statement, she said: “Clients are increasingly asking for access to flexible resources as a prerequisite. However, we wanted to take the idea a step further and launch the next generation of this type of service.

“Our market testing with general counsel indicated that when they’re looking to plug a gap, personal attributes are as important as legal skills. They want lawyers who’ll add value quickly, get on with those around them and work with minimal supervision.

“So we’ve spent a lot of time designing a bespoke selection process which helps candidates understand whether this is right for them, as well as whether they’re right for us. We’ll actively manage assignments, staying close to clients and the lawyers themselves.”

In October 2011, Eversheds piloted a similar scheme called Eversheds Agile, which provides lawyers to in-house teams for temporary assignments (14 October 2011). Meanwhile, BLP launched its Lawyers on Demand business in 2009 (9 November 2009).