greg bottAddleshaw Goddard’s long-expected contract lawyer arm formally launched last week, operating alongside its respected client development centre (CDC) and new consultancy business, with the general counsel (GC) of one major client describing the firm as “streaks ahead” for client development.

Called AG Integrate after much deliberation, the flexible lawyer arm will make use of the top 25 firm’s alumni, together with contract lawyers already working in the legal sector, which it will put through a stringent vetting procedure including CV screening; one or more face-to-face interviews with partners at the firm; and a technical capability assessment.

According to CDC head Greg Bott (pictured), who will also lead this new venture, AG Integrate is a formalisation of steps the firm had already been taking to help its clients cope with the peaks and troughs in their business and absences such as maternity cover.

Bott told Legal IT Insider: “AG Integrate brings in economies of scale, takes this to the next level, takes the burden off partners and brings in a high level of assessment.”

Contract lawyers will be asked to set up their own personal services company, responsible for paying their own tax, through which they will contract out to AG Integrate.

While AG Integrate will be an integral part of the firm and contract lawyers will use the same time recording system, they will be blocked from accessing other clients’ sensitive information. Bott said: “We can give assurance to partners that contractors will only have access to the things they need to have access to.”

The new operation will service both clients and the internal needs of the firm, with so far the most demand coming from partners themselves. Bott said: “Partners have seen an opportunity to bring in associates they have previously had to say goodbye to. They need additional resource and it’s not always easy to bring headcount on a permanent basis.”

However Bott was keen to stress that the new limb is not going to be used as a substitute for permanent associates. “It’s about supplementing what we do not about taking any work away from our lawyers,” he said.

AG Integrate is one of a number of flexible lawyer offerings launched by major law firms in the last couple of years, following the launch of the likes of Peerpoint by Allen & Overy; Agile by Eversheds and Vario by Pinsent Masons.

Addleshaws is yet to reveal its growth targets for AG Integrate and the scale of its ambitions but it is currently hiring a resourcing manager to attract talent to the business.

AG Integrate is another example of innovation from Addleshaws, which has received plaudits from major clients for the work of the CDC, which was launched in 2005 to help in-house teams with strategy; human resources issues; know-how and leadership development.

The CDC works with clients including Barclays, Lloyds, Carillion and Rolls-Royce, helping in-house lawyers with numerous aspects of personal development and change. The GC of one client said: “Addleshaw Goddard is streaks ahead in terms of thinking about client development in a more strategic way.”

CDC, led by performance management and leadership development specialists, gives advice on how to structure the in-house legal team; measure performance (using key performance indicators); and manage talent, off the back of which Addleshaws in June 2015 also launched a consulting business.

AG Consulting will focus on seven business lines: spend analytics; legal process analysis; legal risk management and horizon scanning; knowledge management; legal project management; legal needs analysis and panel management.

Click here to read ‘An Interview with… Dana Denis-Smith, founder & chief executive of ‘NewLaw’ contract lawyer supplier Obelisk Support’