Sale to US company will “turbo-charge” growth, says LOD boss

Deal: Andy Macdonald (l) and Simon Harper

The sale of flexible lawyering business LOD by its private equity backer to US company Consilio will “turbo-charge” growth, founder Simon Harper has told Legal Futures.

Consilio announced last week that it was buying the alternative legal services provider formerly known as Lawyers on Demand as well as SKYE, a legal technology consultancy in which LOD invested in 2021 as part of a strategic partnership.

Consilio is a leading e-disclosure, document review and legal technology consulting business that also provides flexible legal resourcing.

With 10 offices around the world, the LOD group – which merged with AdventBalance in Asia and Australia in 2016 – has more than 500 multinational clients in 25 countries, including 27 members of the FTSE 100 and 54 of the ASX 200 in Australia.

It works with more than 4,500 lawyers, legal engineers, legal operations consultants, paralegals, and risk and compliance professionals.

LOD, which is not a regulated law firm, was the first provider of freelance lawyers to companies and law firms back in 2007, a model that has been widely copied.

In 2018, Bowmark Capital backed a management buyout and became its controlling shareholder, meaning LOD cut ownership ties with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, where it was incubated. At that point, the turnover for LOD Global was £40m, with profits of £1.4m.

Mr Harper said LOD more than doubled its revenue and profitability during the Bowmark period, adding that there was “no urgency” from the investor to sell. “It was about waiting for the right deal.”

Mr Harper said that LOD and Consilio have a similar culture, “with minimal overlap in terms of service lines and geographies, and pretty much overnight helps us achieve our strategic goal of offering clients the full spectrum of alternative legal services across the globe”.

He continued: “Since our inception in 2007, we’ve constantly looked at different ways to grow the business in response to what clients are looking for as the market develops. Becoming part of Consilio turbo-charges that growth and is a continuation of that strategy.”

Asked what the deal could help LOD achieve that it could not on its own, Mr Harper explained: “Legal teams are increasingly demanding holistic and cross-border solutions to the issues that they face.

“Consilio is already the world’s largest [e-disclosure] provider and the second largest flexible talent provider in the US. Joining them brings investment, helping us accelerate our growth to meet this demand.

“Our footprint will rapidly increase as we combine their US strength and our existing international network.”

The LOD and SYKE brands will continue “for now”, but Mr Harper said “over time we will experiment to see how best to appeal to lawyers and clients with our brands”. Existing management will stay in place.

He added that the feedback about the deal from lawyers and staff around the world “has been overwhelmingly supportive, positive and open minded”.

Consilio said the deal would expand its enterprise legal services business to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Chief executive Andy Macdonald said: “The flexible talent market remains fragmented, and we continue to explore opportunities to create impactful solutions for legal teams as they face an unprecedented amount of talent concerns, as a result of historically high attrition rates, budgetary freezes, and legal industry salary increases out of reach for many corporations.”

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