New business models break into the legal sector with force. For some time now, the market has been witnessing the arrival of LPOs (Legal Process Outsourcers) and alternative firms (Axiom Law, RiverView Law, etc.) that offer their services in a different way than the traditional one, trying to better adapt to the needs of the customer, with higher rates of efficiency, flexibility and, in many casoyes, at a better price.
Along with these business models the Legal Interim Management(LIM) o provision of legal services within the framework of temporary projects so well known in the Anglo-Saxon world (United States, United Kingdom) and in some European countries such as Belgium or the Netherlands, it is becoming a serious alternative in Spain to respond to the specific needs that They have company law firms and consultancies and - here is the change in trend - the LIM is beginning to become a work model for many lawyers who prefer to work "for projects" instead of being linked indefinitely with an office or a company.
The LIM consists, therefore, in the hiring of lawyers (by law firms / firms, but especially companies) for short periods of time, either to cover a specific need of a company for the reason -for example- of a replacement in the legal team, already to tackle a specific legal project, generally - although not always - of an extraordinary nature or outside the day-to-day running of the legal department in question.
As we said, LIM is not something new and a decade has passed since, for example, the British law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (BLP) created its applauded LOD / “Lawyers on Demand” division and although the phenomenon took a long time to reach our law firms and legal advisors for a few years have been verifying that the demand of this type of lawyers (LIMers) has increased and the number of lawyers willing to work as LIMER.
The factors are always of a different nature, and affect both the company and the lawyer: (i) for companies or business groups, perhaps the most obvious benefit is being able to undertake well-defined, temporarily limited legal projects that are the consequence of a specific need and usually exceptional; and the best: cost efficiency by not having to increase staff or incur social costs and being able to count on a professional (lawyer) with a high degree of specialization, who will provide their services from the company itself (joining it by a pre-established time), to which it will bring fresh air, courage, criteria, sectorial knowledge and a great experience in similar operations. It is undeniable that it is a flexible collaboration framework with a sure return on investment. (ii) For “LIMers” lawyers, the enrichment of their curriculum in the caso of the youngest or the satisfaction of the contribution of value in the caso Undoubtedly one of the most senior, although the great incentive for this type of lawyer comes from the flexibility and the great possibilities of reconciling work, which becomes one of the main attractions (combining work with teaching, research or even with have your own office). In addition, they have the opportunity to get to know different companies and work environments (and therefore gain experience in-house) to better serve its clients: this implies collaborating closely with diverse professionals and in different areas of law. All of this provides them with professional skills that are not always available to lawyers who practice from more “traditional” positions. More advantages: the possibility of choosing the day, the rationalization of schedules, the variety of matters, not being tied professionally. Anyway, it is a winning horse.
However, not all lawyers are valid for "LIMer" or lawyer for a temporary project and in our experience it is essential that whoever considers this option meets some very specific qualities: (i) the lawyer must be "operational" quickly, so that it is essential to quickly learn the characteristics of each business. It has little time to integrate into its new environment, which is why it is required to be easy to adapt to the dynamics of a company or to the rhythm of a work team: and it is clear that it is not always easy to adapt to projects already underway and fit in overnight in a given company culture; (ii) flexibility and, on occasions, geographic mobility are two essential characteristics in the curriculum of these lawyers; (iii) high technical knowledge and previous professional experience (often in a specific sector) are essential to be able to provide added value and efficient responses from the beginning; (iv) as in any project in another activity sector, a lawyer expressly hired to carry it out must have a clear results orientation; (v) likewise, it is essential to be able to work autonomously, since sometimes the lawyer will not have support staff or supervision of any kind.
If we talk about remuneration, the monthly salary of this type of lawyer is usually higher than that of a "traditional" lawyer of a similar category and experience :. The inherent cost of such contracting is usually passed on to the project that originated the contracting. This (positive) salary difference is justified by the fact that the LIMer has to provide results from the moment of its incorporation into the project; the adaptation period should be reduced to the maximum precisely because of the temporality of their collaboration.
Although there are some obstacles to the development of this figure such as the quality control of the LIMer's work, the responsibility regime and the not inconsiderable difficulty of locating those LIMers Each time alternative firms and platforms are appearing in our country that, together with some highly specialized recruitment companies, are helping the intersection of supply and demand and the creation of a new “market”.
And it is that, every time that from a company legal advice or a law firm the dilemma arises of carrying out a contract for a specific temporary requirement or due to the lack of a specific specialty, it is time to think about the figure of a limer. Also when they are looking for fresh air, new ideas and very business-oriented legal criteria, when they are looking for efficiency and flexibility. And all this at a reasonable price, avoiding fixed costs whose justification is more than questionable in many casoyes The legal market needs and cries out for these new ways of providing legal services. The wheel turns very quickly these days, so we must learn from our international environment and more evolved legal markets. The LIM has come to stay. Let's make it easy!
Martha of the Coto.email@example.com
Marta del Coto has been a consultant for Iterlegis Legal Staffing Solutions, SL since 2014 and responsible for the firm's Barcelona office. Graduated in Law from the University of Barcelona (1992 Abad Oliba, Fundación San Pablo CEU), and is a Postgraduate in Business Management Techniques from the University School of Business Studies (University of Barcelona). Ten years in the Commercial Law department of Landwell-PricewaterhouseCoopers in Barcelona and five in the management team of PwC's international network of lawyers (PwC's Global Legal network) allow Marta del Coto to have a privileged perspective of legal practice. Now, a consultant for Iterlegis Legal Staffing Solutions and responsible in Barcelona, she takes the pulse every day of the lawyer search market.