The London office of Baker Botts is launching a new flexible resourcing initiative that will see it hire lawyers, potentially on a full-time self-employed consultancy basis, to fill a range of areas it currently sub-contracts out to UK firms.
The initial focus of the new scheme, which was the brainchild of London managing partner Steve Wardlaw, will include employment, tax and real estate. Baker Botts currently sends much of its deals work to a range of UK firms including Pinsent Masons and Stephenson Harwood, but is now aiming to keep some of it in-house by utilising its flexible resource scheme.
The plan, which is likely to see the lawyers charged out at discounted rates, was recently rubber stamped by Baker Botts firmwide managing partner Andrew Baker. If successful, it is expected to be rolled out across other offices.
“We’re effectively starting the scheme now,” said Wardlaw, “or as soon as we can get the new lawyers on board. The relationships we have with UK firms remain strong but we’d like to also be able to offer a range of services from lawyers who will carry a Baker Botts business card.”
Wardlaw confirmed that the as yet unnamed scheme could also serve as a recruitment tool for the firm to attract heavyweight M&A talent that currently would be put off by the London practice’s specialism limitations.
He added that the initial focus would be on employment, benefits, tax but that other areas such as real estate and environmental could be added over time.
London corporate partners Derek Jones and Neil Foster will be responsible for the implementation of the programme and its ongoing management.
A Baker Botts spokesman said the latter would involve recruiting lawyers across the various disciplines ”to the standards that we expect at Baker Botts while maintaining ongoing quality control”.
The spokesman added: ”We really believe that this flexible workforce will be very appealing to good lawyers as it will offer them stability in terms of an income while also allowing them the opportunity to pursue other lifestyles/interests.”