​In-house legal teams seldom use NewLaw firms, survey reveals

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A recent survey has revealed that less than 20 percent in-house legal teams have engaged NewLaw firms.

The study, conducted by the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, found that 44 percent of respondents said the limited engagement with NewLaw firms was due to a lack of understanding of what the NewLaw firms offer.

Trish Hyde, CEO of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, says that the lack of understanding is often due to the fact that corporate legal teams do not have the time to be looking into NewLaw options for their outsourcing.

“There is a number of smaller, two person teams where workloads can be such that taking the time required to understand and learn about what may be on offer, takes an investment and that may not be able to [make] given the workload pressures,” she said.

Given these time pressures, Hyde suggested that NewLaw firms can communicate the value they deliver succinctly in order to inform of in-house lawyers of what they can offer.

Warren Kalinko, CEO at NewLaw firm Keypoint Law, previously headed an in-house legal team.  He says that there is the potential for NewLaw firms to attract the business of corporate legal teams.

In his view, given the NewLaw development is still relatively small, 20 percent is actually quite a strong result.

“There is no doubt in my mind that in-house counsels are looking for alternatives.  Primarily, they’re looking for more value; and they want to be dealing with partner-level lawyers who can do the work efficiently.  Our premise is that if you offer clients experienced lawyers, flexible fee arrangements, within a lean firm structure to bring costs down, then that is a winning formula,” he said.