BLP to open low cost legal services centre in Manchester as part of wider client offering

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is to launch a low cost legal services centre in Manchester as part of a new four-strand approach to servicing clients.

In addition to the Manchester centre, which is expected to open in the summer, the new model will also see the firm’s Lawyers On Demand (LOD) business developed to include virtual transaction teams, the use of third parties to cut costs for clients and the expansion of its internal legal process improvement team to analyse and improve processes and workflows for clients.

The firm plans to recruit locally in Manchester for the legal services centre, including a mixture of lawyers, paralegals, business services staff and secretaries. BLP will also send some staff from London on secondment to oversee the opening. It has not yet decided on numbers for the base, which is expected to start on a relatively small scale. No job losses are expected as a result of the move.

BLP managing partner Neville Eisenberg (pictured) said: “Manchester is a well-known centre and has good access from London – we were really impressed with what it has to offer. We came up with this model after client feedback. Clients are looking for law firms to come up with creative ideas for delivering more efficient and flexible ways of working that provide better value for money.”

BLP is calling the strategy an Integration Client Service Model, with the legal process improvement team to be used to work out which options will suit clients best.

The LoD virtual transaction team, which will make more senior lawyers available for routine and standalone parts of projects, is an expansion of its ‘On Call’ service which was launched last June as a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model to give clients access to legal help remotely. 

Eisenberg said the firm will continue to work with the independent firms it currently uses to provide low-cost third party providers for clients, as well as looking to new providers.

BLP has been looking at outsourcing for some time, in 2012 the firm discussed possible options at its partner conference with Newcastle, Manchester Belfast and South Africa put forward as possible jurisdictions.

BLP is the second firm to announce a regional outsourcing centre in recent weeks with Hogan Lovells opening a low cost office in Birmingham. The office – which is expected to open in September – will carry out due diligence and document reviews across corporate, litigation, real estate and finance projects.