Interim Resource: Thoughts from our clients and consultants
It’s difficult to label interim resourcing as “an alternative legal service” in 2022. Konexo has been providing interim consultants to in-house legal teams since 2010 and it’s been a popular solution outside the legal industry for many years.
The majority of in-house legal teams we work with say that the combination of permanent headcount freezes, rising salary costs and a competitive skills market has made it much more challenging to recruit. And even where recruitment is possible, it can take time to on-board a new team member which doesn’t solve the workload issues that legal teams are facing right now.
This is why we are seeing a growing number of in-house legal leaders embed interim lawyers into their future strategies as they consider the structure and size of their teams over the next 12-18 months. In the last year, we have worked with over 80 in-house legal teams globally to provide interim legal consultants across a range of industries, including financial services, technology, media & telecoms, consumer, life sciences and industrials, and welcomed 300 new legal consultants to our partner approved community.
We also saw significant demand for new ways of working with growth in the number of clients needing an interim lawyer for a few hours each week and a corresponding increase in the number of legal consultants wanting greater flexibility in the way they work. Interviewing four in-house legal leaders, we asked about the experience of using interim consultants and future aspirations for using alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) such as Konexo. Some were well versed in using ALSPs, one was previously an interim legal consultant and one was pretty new to this market. The responses, though unsurprising, are powerful.
For Paul Barrett, General Counsel & Company Secretary at Helios Towers, Konexo has become a trusted advisor offering innovative perspectives on legal team transformation and change management as well as resourcing support. Paul is exploring what could work best when it comes to introducing legal consultants and technology to optimize his legal team. Leveraging the knowledge of Konexo, he says, is definitely something that forms part of his plans to partner with ALSPs in the future.
“I think the benefit of businesses like Konexo is that they bring in lots of experienced people with different perspectives that can give you fresh ideas on things you might not have thought about.”
Charles Sermon, General Counsel at Mereo BioPharma, has used Konexo to provide junior lawyers, senior commercial and corporate specialists, as well as consultants with expertize in niche areas. “Our relationship with Konexo and the use of interim consultants has been continuous, which speaks volumes. The consultants that we have hit the ground running at Mereo. They've adapted very quickly.
They understand our business needs and they understand the needs of the assignment really quickly.”
For Katherine Thomas, General Counsel at Travelodge, Konexo has taken all the hassle out of recruitment at a time when it was needed most. “It has been really helpful as you can flex up and down as needed, particularly because it's been unusual times recently, so it's difficult to plan far ahead in terms of what you need.”
Timiko Cranwell, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, absolutely sees ALSPs as part of her legal team’s strategy going forward. Having watched this area of the market develop, she has no doubt that the traditional law firm model has its place, certainly in high value deals, but sees that ALSPs are an efficient and effective way to manage legal workload and the increasing cost pressures. “It’s been positive without exception. I've been very impressed with the quality of the candidates that we've been given. They've performed very well in their role, have worked very well with the team and been great cultural fits.”
The future of interim legal resourcing looks bright, in part, because of the new blended approach to working. When you have a legal team who are used to working remotely, it’s much easier to use legal consultants and focus on getting the right skills for the job, regardless of location. The flexibility of resource from Konexo has enabled the legal function at Mereo BioPharma to integrate lawyers who are fully remote into their team, which is highly valued.
Resoundingly, our clients say that they will continue to use interim legal resource in the future. Some because they have a small legal team that needs additional support for specialist work. Others because the nature of their business means they need the ability to dial up and down during peak periods. And for many, the increased pressure on legal budgets and headcount restrictions makes consultant support a practical, cost-effective solution.
Listen to Charles Sermon, General Counsel at Mereo BioPharma and Timiko Cranwell, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at AB InBev discuss their experiences, perceptions and predictions for the future of alternative legal services.