Global law firm, Linklaters, has today launched a new combined Legal Operations function that brings together four existing teams of over 400 people. And, perhaps most significantly, the new organisational structure places the Innovation offering under the Legal Ops banner.
The other groups involved will be: Alternative Resourcing (e.g. the firm’s Re:link network of contract lawyers), Knowledge and Learning, and Matter Pricing. These all already existed, but are now being placed under a single marketing/business structure called Legal Operations.
On one level this can be seen as simply a marketing strategy and leveraging what you already have to make a greater impact – not that there is anything wrong in that. But, there is perhaps also something deeper happening, which reflects two things: tying innovation work to a broader effort across the firm to help clients rather than seeing it as a standalone activity; and exploiting the potential to sell into clients in a more consultative way.
Such moves also help them to compete against the Big Four, which have been heavily focused on providing large clients with a connected offering of legal services, tech consulting and process support. That Linklaters is doing this now suggests that the Big Four and others’ efforts are starting to have an impact on client perceptions.
Meanwhile, the firm has also launched a two year graduate scheme for people who want to qualify at the firm as legal ops professionals – although, they will not necessarily be practising lawyers. I.e. this will be an additional professional route of its own inside the firm.
Led by Stewart Chippindale, the existing Director of Legal Operations, the combined Ops function has been designed to ‘drive greater collaboration across the firm and to ensure Linklaters is delivering the best possible service to clients’ the firm said.
The move comes not long after Artificial Lawyer broke the news that much of the firm’s Nakhoda tech team in London had left, and it signals a wider governance and strategic re-jig across the business of over 5,000 people globally.
The combined function includes the following areas:
- Alternative Legal Services – offering a range of alternative resourcing solutions from paralegals and Legal Project Managers to technology specialists and Re:link, the network of contract lawyers.
- Innovation – which will continue to deploy technology to improve the way they work with and for their clients. Working across the global innovation community, they ‘are developing a variety of products, processes and initiatives in an agile yet robust way’.
- Knowledge and Learning – offers a range of tools to enhance the capabilities of clients, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of their business.
- Matter Pricing – delivering cost-conscious, transparent solutions and using innovative tools to support pricing decisions for clients on both individual matters and fee deal arrangements.
Chippindale, Director of Legal Operations, said: ‘Linklaters is all about delivering excellent client service and our new Legal Operations function is designed to help us do just that. Legal Operations brings together our network of business experts into a single, integrated team, all focussed on providing the best possible service for our clients.’