Global law firm, BCLP, has today formally launched its own high-volume managed legal services (MLS) arm, called ‘BCLP Cubed’. Its CEO, Neville Eisenberg – who is also senior partner at the firm – told Artificial Lawyer they decided to create Cubed because ‘GCs said [to us] wouldn’t it be good if the traditional law firms stepped up to the plate’.
‘The idea was born out of conversations with GCs, some clients, some not. We talked about their challenges, and how they saw their inhouse functions developing.
‘If you segment the market, complex work is mostly outsourced to traditional law firms – but when it comes to Business As Usual (BAU) work, that is no less important to companies, as their revenue depends on commercial contracts. However, if you look at the future and how to make savings [with BAU work] and how to take advantage of new opportunities in relation to data, then it’s more complicated [for inhouse legal teams] to figure out how to navigate through the market,’ he explained.
They came to the conclusion that BCLP was where the expertise and relationships already are, so they would build the platform using their US and UK process centres that have around 150 people already, and develop their own tech platform to support this work, and then grow from there.
Where this is different to the work before is that Cubed will be going to market with a view to growing and taking on work from a wide range of clients, not just doing relatively small and narrow tranches of work that is done at present. In effect it will be competing for work against other law firms’ MLS arms, as well as the ALSPs and Big Four.
To help with the development of the tech platform to support the growth of Cubed, the firm has hired Jody Jansen, former head of architecture and innovation at international law firm, Gowling WLG.
Eisenberg (pictured above) continued: ‘So, we decided to make a single platform supported by technology and with links to a broad range of legal expertise that may [be needed] in that work.’
The tech platform currently has a variety of applications, including legal AI doc review point solutions. However, as the Cubed platform evolves they will look at exactly what they need to achieve their goals. This may also include some homemade tech, as well, he added.
He noted that having Cubed as part of BCLP means that although much of its work may be relatively simple, high volume matters, when more complex issues arise they can help the client directly.
Although Cubed has been separately branded, and with Eisenberg as a distinct CEO of the group, he noted that it remains a fully integrated part of BCLP and has not been legally structured as a separate entity.
In terms of growth, he noted that: ‘We need enough scale to generate economies of scale.’
In short, if you are going to ‘go large’ in terms of work volume, then you really need to scale your platform sufficiently. Likewise, there is no point in having a platform for volume work, and the pricing for such matters in place, and a workforce designed for such matters, if you don’t have the workflow to match. One could say there is a positive feedback loop when it comes to volume work.
He added that the goal was to create greater efficiency, reduce risks and improve useful data capture for their clients as they did this work.
Finally, in terms of the main driver for this move, Eisenberg explained this was not a defensive move versus the Big Four and ALSPs in the market, but rather that the firm saw a significant opportunity to go after new business.
That said, he noted that in time, as the ALSPs and Big Four legal arms evolved and grew, they ‘may be better able to compete with us’.
In a statement, Jansen added: ‘I am delighted to be joining BCLP Cubed. It is an exciting new concept that will deliver significant benefits for clients and establishing a state-of-the-art technology platform on which to operate will be critical to its success. There’s already been a huge amount of progress in developing the new approach and I look forward to working with the team to maintain the momentum they have created.’