Flexible lawyer service Lawyers on Demand (LOD) has seen a 50 per cent rise in demand for interim paralegals that culminated in the month of March, with the impact of Covid-19 hitting clients.

The spike came as the company launched in January a new service, LOD paralegals, that gives access to a pool of 100 legal support professionals for specific projects. The first quarter of the year recorded the 50 per cent increase, with March being the busiest period for the provider. That month, it recorded 23 new assignments.

The service, which was debuted after a six-month pilot, provides associates who help clients with contract reviews, due diligence and discovery efforts. However, over the past 12 months, the paralegals have been deployed on project that has seen them taking on work usually carried out by junior qualified lawyers.

The fact that the paralegals were used to remote working helped fielding both individual resources and teams with short notice.

Over the last two months in particular, the provider has seen the biggest surge in demand from clients in the technology and digital sector, who were keen to rely on paralegals who are used to work remotely and make progress without being supervised constantly.

Simon Harper

LOD co-founder Simon Harper said in a statement: “Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were seeing in-house teams dealing with more and more budgetary and work-flow pressures. This trend has only increased now. LOD Paralegals started because of client demand for another way in which our services can take the pressure off and allow the team to focus on the bigger strategic matters – and now there’s more of that than ever.”

Josephine Whelan, who was hired to lead LOD paralegals from flexible resourcing competitor Vario, a spin-off of Pinsent Masons, said that the paralegal pool includes both law graduates and future trainees, as well as career paralegals and foreign qualified lawyers. They are usually selected through a vetting process that looks at previous placements and commercial knowledge.

“As a result, they are able to hit the ground running and immediately relieve much of the pressure that our clients are currently facing,” Whelan explained.

It is not the only provider to face a surge in demand for interim resources due to the crisis. Konexo, the alternative legal services business operated by Eversheds Sutherland, recorded a 300 per cent surge in requests for interim and ad-hoc lawyers over March, as clients have been grappling with the consequences of Covid-19 on their businesses. The spike in requests has led the firm to develop a new hourly service to accommodate the client needs.