“NewLaw and BigLaw are stronger together”: Stephen Allen on Hogan Lovells’ flexible lawyering partnership with Elevate

After Hogan Lovells yesterday (15 February) launched a new flexible lawyering programme in the UK in partnership with Elevate Services, we caught up with the global law firm’s head of legal service delivery, Stephen Allen (pictured), to find out more.
The new partnership – Elevate’s first major law firm enterprise agreement – gives Hogan Lovells access to a pool of 1,500 lawyers (Elevated Lawyers), for both internal projects and client secondments, and Elevate will help to nurture and manage Hogan Lovells alumni. What’s interesting to note is that one of the key selling points for Hogan Lovells was Elevate’s tech capability and willingness to innovate – including sending a short video of candidates along with their CV.
Stephen, how did the partnership with Elevate come about?
Elevate have had a vehicle for a while – Elevated Lawyers – and it’s fair to say they have a large number of clients inhouse, placing lawyers across inhouse roles, but they also do a number of managed services. I’ve been talking to them about this partnership for a while. I like them, and they are easy to work with. I feel they have a genuine agenda for driving change and they’re not a showboat organisation. We did go to the market and Elevate came back with the most compelling pitch, thanks to their technology and their understanding of client service.
Give us an example of how the technology sold you? 
Obviously, they’re an organisation built on process and they have a good amount of resource given the size they are, so in terms of the engagement model we liked the tech around that. But otherwise it’s simple things like – and I think this is incredibly important – when they send over CVs, they send a short video. That’s incredibly powerful if you’re trying to get to a shortlist of one or two and it’s an incredibly powerful thing at this level. When you’re dealing with four to 10-year qualified lawyers, how they present themselves and whether they are able to put ideas over is incredibly important for time-pressed lawyers and our clients. Coming up with that idea is one example of how Elevate have genuinely innovated and they understand that our partners or clients are busy and don’t have a lot of time to go through CVs.
And what do you mean by ‘understanding of client service?’
They understand timeliness and it was important to us to have a global reach. Initially this service is for the UK market, but the intention is that we’d like to expand it globally, and having somebody who operates globally is important.
Tell us how your Elevated Lawyers pool will be used?
They’ve got an initial pre-approved pool. We have, through our own guidelines, a set of criteria that we require and Elevate will only initially connect us with people who meet our criteria. The intention is, over time we’d like to use this as an opportunity to work with our alumni. We spend a lot of money and time training people and maintaining that relationship is important. We know the chemistry is there and we will give an option to our alumni to join and Elevate will help us look after that alumni, which involves a lot of work in keeping them connected, organised and looked after.
Clients are always looking for access to help on secondments. There are times when we can fulfil that and times when it’s a challenge – we might have someone, but clients might want a nine year GDPR lawyer and we have a six year privacy lawyer. This partnership gives us an opportunity to offer something additional to our clients. But also, there are times when we’re busy on a project such as GDPR or Brexit, when for a condensed period of time there will be a lot of demand for the same sort of resources and the ability to call on this pool will be very important and will give us a pool with a defined criteria.
The key thing for me is that this demonstrates that both NewLaw and BigLaw are stronger when they work together – and Elevate would agree with that.
Stephen Allen joined Hogan Lovells from DLA Piper in September 2016, with a remit to bring together operations in legal project management and resource allocation – including the firm’s use of alumni and contract lawyers.