Former A&O global managing partner Andrew Ballheimer joins Factor board

Allen & Overy’s former global managing partner Andrew Ballheimer is joining the board of Factor in the latest big name hire for the alternative legal services provider rebranded from Axiom Managed Solutions.

Factor will be leveraging Ballheimer’s knowledge and experience of the legal sector: he stepped down as managing partner in April 2020 after 35 years in private practice, including 15 years in senior management roles at A&O. 

During Ballheimer’s time in management, A&O launched its Belfast shared services centre; it’s flexible resourcing arm Peerpoint; and its legal innovation lab Fuse.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Ballheimer stressed that Factor works in partnership – not competition – with his previous firm and he said: “The proof of the answer is that A&O has a captive in Belfast and still works in partnership with Factor: it’s a complimentary offering.”

Factor’s head of strategy, Chris DeConti agreed, commenting: “There is too much emphasis on ‘out with the old, in with the new’. The status quo is powerful and it’s not about throwing it out, it’s about keeping the best of it and moving into a new way of working in partnership.”

At most risk from Factor are in-house legal functions that often struggle with lack of resource and outdated technology. Ballheimer said: “Factor is doing all the stuff that those in-house legal functions are doing.”

DeConti said: “We are more used to thinking about work in a process driven way that lends itself to technology enablement, and that has been hard for in-house teams and law firms.”

In terms of his new role, Ballheimer said he would be keeping Factor focused on its “sweet spot” commenting: “It’s all about scaling up. They have a proven offering and operate in a massive market that’s fragmented.”

You can listen to editor Caroline Hill’s chat with Andrew and Chris here:

Other hires to Factor recently include industry pioneer Ed Sohn, who joined Factor from EY Law in 2020. That hire comes on the heels of John Dillon, former divisional CFO of Mercer, who is Factor’s CFO; Accenture veteran Roxann Erxleben, who is COO. CEO Varun Mehta started in January 2020, as part of the Factor rebrand.

The announcement of Ballheimer’s hire comes as market penetration is notably high for alternative legal service providers (ALSPs,) and the likelihood for more collaboration between traditional and new providers increases, according to a new Thomson Reuters/Georgetown Law report. Some 79% of law firms surveyed are using ALSPs, along with 71% of corporate law departments. As greater acceptance within the ALSP space continues, the market is now valued at nearly $14 billion, which indicates a “tipping point” for the industry.