Unregulated in-house specialist partners with magic circle firm

Japonas: Time to embrace collaboration

The Law Boutique, an unregulated business supporting in-house lawyers, has teamed up with a magic circle law firm Linklaters and its own contract management platform to provide companies with a “holistic” service.

Electra Japonas, chief executive of The Law Boutique (TLB), described her firm’s partnership with Linklaters as “where the future of legal is going”.

She said it offered companies an “end-to-end solution pieced together in a user-centred way”, combining legal advice, design and process optimisation and “cutting-edge” technology.

“This is no longer an industry where you do just one thing. You have to take a holistic approach. Now is the time for people to abandon their siloes and embrace collaboration.”

TLB provides both managed commercial law services to companies and consultancy on improving the efficiency of in-house departments – what it calls ‘legal optimisation’.

Ms Japonas said the partnership with Linklaters would enable her firm to reach “bigger clients and the ones with the biggest need”, although the service was available to companies of all sizes.

“There is more and more demand from clients for help with choosing technology and optimising their documents through plain English and design.”

Ms Japonas said the partnership with Linklaters began when the law firm became involved in TLB’s initiative to create a standard non-disclosure agreement, known as ‘oneNDA’.

The steering committee behind oneNDA was made up of in-house counsel from major companies such as Airbus, Adidas, Barclays, Coca-Cola and UBS, as well as lawyers from firms including Allen & Overy, Ashurst and Slaughter & May, as well as Linklaters.

She said the agreement has been adopted by almost 700 organisations and downloaded more than 15,000 times since it was launched last year.

Ms Japonas told Legal Futures that TLB was now working, with Linklaters among others, on translating the document into French, Spanish and Portuguese ahead of them going live next year.

Meanwhile she said TLB, which currently has 11 staff, was planning to double in size in the course of the next 12 months.

Linklaters said the partnership with TLB meant that clients would benefit from a “unique combination” of legal advice, TLB’s experience in legal transformation, and access to its platform CreateiQ, providing clients with a “wraparound service that supports clients through all stages of their life cycle”.

Greg Baker, global head of practice innovation at the law firm, commented: “We’ve worked alongside TLB in the past and they have a proven track-record in effective legal transformation (including for many of our clients).

“The combination strengthens each of our existing services and cements our reputation as innovative and forward thinking.”

Ms Japonas added that the legal industry had been “on the cusp of transformation” before Covid, which had delayed it temporarily while “accelerating people’s appetite” for smarter ways of working.

“Transparency, visibility and simplicity were all important during the pandemic, and there were no distractions. This is why we are seeing transformation now.”

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