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Allen & Overy joins flexible resourcing club

Peerpoint to follow Freshfields Continuum, Vario, Lawyers on Demand and Agile models  

25 November 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Allen & Overy has become the latest firm in the UK legal market to launch a flexible resourcing business.

Dubbed ‘Peerpoint’, the new business will employ A&O alumni on a contract basis to supplement its permanent workforce at times of high demand or to provide specialist skills support.

It follows the launch this spring of Pinsent Masons’ freelance lawyer service ‘Vario’, which takes a similar approach to Berwin Leighton Paisner’s ‘Lawyers on Demand’ (launched in 2009) and Eversheds’ ‘Agile’ (piloted in 2011). In May 2012, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer launched its flexible legal resource 'Freshfields Continuum', staffed by alumni on a contract basis.

Other flexible resourcing businesses launched by legal practices in recent months include DAC Beachcroft’s ‘The People Pool’ and Transatlantic Law International’s 'Labor Law Plus'.

“The traditional law firm model is under pressure and lacks flexibility,” said Allen & Overy’s global managing partner, Wim Dejonghe.

“In a low growth environment, peaks in client demand are far more variable, so we need greater flexibility in our model. We also want to provide an option for those high-calibre lawyers who enjoy the challenge of working with top tier clients without the added demands of working in a large law firm. Peerpoint enables us to do both.”

Allen & Overy expects to quickly establish a base of between 20 and 30 lawyers who will be self-employed legal consultants with the new business.

Peerpoint will initially be staffed by A&O alumni but, as demand grows, the firm says it will look to engage high-quality lawyers from other top-tier firms who are seeking greater flexibility over their work.

Once Peerpoint reaches a critical mass, it will start to offer clients direct access to its lawyers for temporary placements or specific projects – probably within 12 months. The firm says its client research has indicated that “there is a real demand” for this.

The service will launch in London but is expected to expand internationally to provide similar support to other A&O offices in time.

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