Contract lawyer provider Lawyers On Demand announced today (24 February) that it will merge with Asia Pacific-based alternative legal services business AdventBalance to create one of the world’s largest NewLaw operations, worth around £25m.
The deal will complete in March and will mean the combined business – which will operate as LOD as of the second half of 2016 – will have seven offices in London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
Lawyers on Demand, which is 80% owned by Berwin Leighton Paisner, was in 2007 the first flexible legal services provider to launch in the UK. It offers clients lawyers who can assist from their own home or on a secondment model as well as on a project basis, part-time or to cover for absent staff, including those on maternity.
It shares a cultural history with AdventBalance, which was formed from the 2012 merger of Perth-based flexible resource provider Balance Legal and Sydney-based Advent Lawyers, with the objective to work with clients in a more flexible and innovative way.
The merger will mean that LOD can take on larger, more complex projects on a global scale.
Commenting on the merger, Lawyers on Demand co-founder and managing director of LOD going forward, Simon Harper, said: “We’ve known and admired AdventBalance for many years, having ‘grown up’ together in the New Law environment we helped to create. Both businesses are very successful in their own right. What we also share is an unwavering commitment to our people and time has shown us that happy lawyers mean happy clients. AdventBalance has exactly the same approach.”
Comment: Lawyers on Demand has previously been judged by its critics for its failure to significantly grow its lawyer numbers and capitalise on its first mover advantage. However, in the first sign of a serious step change, Lawyers on Demand last November announced that it has entered into a ground breaking venture with DLA Piper, under which DLA’s alumni and flexible resource capability will be managed by Lawyers on Demand. The ability to meet client demand for flexible resource but effectively outsource the often complex and time consuming logistics to Lawyers on Demand could prove a tempting model for law firms.