Eversheds makes temp lawyer service permanent as 80 sign up

Eversheds’ temp lawyer service Eversheds Agile has been made a permanent fixture at the firm, with almost 80 lawyers on the initiative’s books seven months into a planned one-year pilot.

At a budget meeting last month, the firm allocated permanent funding to the venture, which enables clients to bolster their in-house legal teams with lawyers supervised and indemnified by Eversheds.

The firm, which launched the pilot of the venture in September last year, had expected to sign up 10-15 lawyers during the year. However, Agile’s roster has now grown to almost 80 lawyers, with around 20 of the firm’s clients having used the scheme so far.

Eversheds partner Graham Richardson (pictured), who oversees both Agile and the firm’s management consultancy arm, Eversheds Consulting, said that the three-year target for combined turnover from the two ventures was £10m per year, of which Agile is expected to account for £3m-£5m.

Richardson said that lawyers on Agile’s books earn 20%-30% more than permanent in-house solicitors in equivalent posts. The majority of the 80 lawyers working with Agile have at least 10 years’ post-qualification experience and work as consultants when not in the pay of the firm.

Work handled by Agile lawyers to date has included acting as second-in-command to the general counsel at credit check agency Equifax, as well as providing the first in-house legal services at friendly society Police Mutual.

Richardson said: “Agile differs from other contract lawyer services as the lawyers are selected, supervised and insured by Eversheds. They are working in the clients’ offices, just like any other member of their team, but with the benefit of access to Eversheds’ support, resources and global reach. We also provide a ‘key findings’ review at the conclusion of each assignment.”

Separately, Richardson said that recent plans to join forces with consulting firm Accenture for a legal process outsourcing venture had been sidelined due to lack of interest from clients.

“There was no push from clients or partners for overseas outsourcing – they didn’t want their work done in India,” explained Richardson.

“The answer is a UK-based solution using our own network,” he continued. “The theory is the same as when we looked at it with Accenture – improving and redesigning the legal process and taking it to the next level.”