The original contract lawyer business, Lawyers on Demand, is to merge with Australia’s AdventBalance in the first corss-continent merger of its type.
The new business, to be called LOD from June, will still have Berwin Leighton Paisner – from which Lawyers on Demand sprang in 2007 – as a shareholder, but will operate independently of the City giant.
AdventBalance was created in 2012 following the merger of two businesses set up in 2008, one set up by a partner at Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) and the other by the head of business development at Allen & Overy.
The firms both provide freelance solicitors to companies and other law firms on a short or longer-term basis. Lawyers on Demands’ lawyers have access to Berwin’s know-how, professional support and training.
Many other leading law firms have since copied the model, although last November – in a ground-breaking move – DLA Piper chose to use Lawyers on Demand to create its own flexible lawyer offering.
The combined business will have offices in London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, over 600 lawyers and a client base comprising over 500 companies and firms.
Among the benefits cited were the ability to offer more opportunities for lawyers and “an integrated, global service for clients”, to take on larger, more complex projects for clients, and to create “a global platform to accelerate growth, further expand internationally and roll out a series of new innovations already in the pipeline between the two businesses”.
Simon Harper, co-founder of Lawyers on Demand and managing director, said, “We’ve known and admired AdventBalance for many years, having ‘grown-up’ together in the New Law environment we helped to create.
“Both businesses are very successful in their own right.What we also share is an unwavering commitment to our people and time has shown us that happy lawyers mean happy clients. AdventBalance has exactly the same approach.”
John Knox, a co-founder of AdventBalance and fellow managing director of LOD, said: “This merger just makes perfect sense. It will create unique opportunities for our people and clients and delivers a New Law venture with the scale and momentum to compete for work in an unprecedented way.”
In 2014/15, its most recent figures, Lawyers on Demand recorded revenues of £12.3m, a 42% increase on the previous year, and 700% over five years.
New services represented more than half of the growth; in 2014 Lawyers on Demand launched transaction teams as an extension of its On Call service, offering mid-level and senior lawyers to work remotely on routine and stand-alone parts of complex client matters. It also moved into Manchester.
Other statistics included that 19 of its top 20 clients instructed the business during the year; it worked with 14 law firms, almost double from the previous 12 months; and in all completed more than 300 assignments.