As NewLaw firm LOD – Lawyers on Demand (LOD) approaches its’ 10th anniversary, Asia Law Portal interviewed Oliver Mould, the firms’ Head of Asia about the state of NewLaw in Asia and what he sees ahead for the next 10 years:
LOD is approaching its 10th anniversary. How has the business in Asia developed in those 10 years?
The business has changed in many ways, not only in respect to the types of lawyers and consultants we work with, but also in respect to the way we work with our clients.
When LOD first launched in Asia, we employed a high percentage of expatriates and senior lawyers. However, over the years we have broadened the demographics of employment and now employ an increasing number of junior lawyers, compliance and financial crime specialists to reflect client demand. LOD is now seen as a genuine, long term career choice for high caliber lawyers and consultants in the region and this is something we are incredibly proud of.
Client dynamics have also shifted, and LOD has adapted accordingly. We are increasingly involved in projects and transactions work as well as a broad remit of compliance initiatives focusing on anti-corruption, regulatory assignments and corporate investigations. We have launched a Managed Services offering, which comprises of insourced or outsourced teams of lawyers, compliance professionals, paralegals, experts or a combination of them, managed by LOD and working regionally – or globally – on a pre-defined matter, project, activity or workflow. This underlines how far we have come as a global business with increased geographical coverage and scale, enabling us to take on longer term and more complex assignments.
Many are discussing the increasing use of technology as an additional value add by NewLaw secondment providers, above and beyond human resources. How is LOD utilizing technology to create a value add for the GC?
Technology now plays a significant role in allowing our lawyers and clients to work collaboratively, decreasing unnecessary costs and enabling increased efficiency and analysis. Our Managed Services solutions use technology to provide analysis on work-flow and contract risk levels, as well as integrated portals to facilitate client engagement and the triage of legal work.
Now that LOD has a global platform, employing over 650 lawyers and consultants across the US, Europe and the Asia Pacific we are increasingly using technology to bring our teams closer together and to allow seamless communication on a truly global basis.
Moving forward we foresee our lawyers and consultants increasingly utilizing legal software and intelligence to increase efficiency and effectiveness whilst they are on secondment. LOD see it as our responsibility to provide our lawyers and consultants with the support and training they need to keep up with the ever changing in-house legal landscape.
Have general counsel clients become more open to NewLaw over the last 10 years. And if so, how?
General Counsel have, without question, become more open to NewLaw over the last 10 years. As recently as 2014, a high percentage of General Counsel in Asia were unaware of our model. This is no longer the case, and the vast majority of general counsel now have an excellent understanding of the full spectrum of NewLaw solutions. Over the last few weeks I have discussed a diverse range of solutions with some of our clients involving remote and managed teams, AI and software analytics, cloud based multi-provider ‘question and answer’ platforms and increasingly bespoke arrangements to support major projects and transactions. Over the last decade the pace of transition within the legal services sector has, at times, seemed a little slow, however, it is clear that the wheels of change are firmly in motion and there is a genuine impetus to change the way in-house counsel work.
A number of new entrants into the NewLaw secondment business and legal technology have established operations in Asia since you began operating here. How does that competition impact LOD? And will this competition increase?
Whilst there have been several new entrants into the NewLaw market over the last 10 years, it’s been interesting to see how each new entrant has positioned itself and the characteristics of most of the new players in the market have differed accordingly. Some NewLaw businesses are affiliated to law firms supporting core businesses, whilst others focus on the SME market. There are also a spectrum of businesses involved in the design and development of technology driven solutions. So, whilst we certainly see a more competitive market, we also see a larger, more diverse market sector that will offer LOD the opportunity to work in tandem with some of the new entrants as the legal sector continues to evolve. Whilst the competition will undoubtedly continue to increase, so will the demand for NewLaw solutions.
What are LODs plans for the next 10 years?
Its hard to imagine where we will be in 10 years’ time, however I’m very certain that the incorporation of relevant technology and the development of our Managed Services solutions – alongside our existing global platform of lawyers – will be key to ensuring LOD’s continued growth. After all, NewLaw as it was 10 years ago, is no longer ‘new’, and LOD intend to do everything possible to stay at the forefront of the industry.