Big Four accountancy firm PwC has launched a new service aimed at helping in-house lawyers look at how they operate internally – and also manage their external legal advice.
PwC has hired Stephen Allen, formerly director of innovation at City law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and one of the architects of its Managed Legal Service, as its head of legal function effectiveness. The firm already offers a similar service to companies to assess the operation of their finance, tax, HR and IT functions.
Mr Allen told Legal Futures that the aim is to pull together those parts of the service which PwC already provides in reactive ways and make them a single consultancy proposition.
He said he will be measuring in-house legal teams against three criteria – efficiency, compliance and control, and business insight, meaning to what extent the advice they provide becomes embedded.
He said there will not be a one-size-fits-all solution, but when it came to managing external providers noted that the economy and the existing law firm model meant that “traditional legal suppliers are struggling to meet the demands of the market”. For some companies outsourcing may be the answer, for others greater use of technology, he said.
Though there are new types of providers in the market which “purport to add value, it is hard for in-house counsel to assess what they need and then choose between the different options”.
BLP’s award-winning Managed Legal Service offers to manage all or a discrete part of a company’s legal needs, both onsite and offsite as part of a multi-sourcing platform. Its main client is Thames Water.
Prior to his three years at BLP, Mr Allen’s roles have included interim chief executive of 7 Bedford Row, managing director of Orange’s fixed-line businesses in the UK and Portugal, head of legal services at Olswang and head of corporate support at Clifford Chance.