'Flexible' lawyer service Lawyers on Demand opens U.S. outpost

A man walks through the street carrying a briefcase in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - Legal talent and technology provider Lawyers on Demand has opened an office in New York, entering the U.S. market as more providers and law firms expand temporary attorney staffing and legal operations outsourcing for corporate clients in the United States.

UK-founded Lawyers on Demand (LOD) said Tuesday it was opening in New York together with SYKE, a legal tech consultancy with which LOD entered into a partnership about 18 months ago.

LOD, formed in 2007, started off with a flexible lawyering business that provides interim legal talent to in-house legal departments, according to London-based co-founder Simon Harper. The company has since added managed services for legal departments to outsource some work, and a legal tech consulting and implementation business under the SYKE brand, he said.

Harper said LOD has already been doing work in the United States without a physical presence. LOD and SYKE have recruited more than 100 flexible lawyers and tech experts in the U.S., a spokesperson said.

The company is entering an increasingly crowded field. Alternative legal services provider Axiom Law, based in New York, is another well-known provider of on-demand legal staffing. Other companies, like Los Angeles-founded Elevate Services Inc, market similar offerings, and more appear to see promise in the concept.

U.S. legal services provider Epiq Systems Inc launched its own flexible staffing unit in December 2020, and a year later acquired Canadian company Simplex Services Inc in part to build out the offering.

Allen & Overy, a large London-founded law firm, in October 2021 brought its on-demand lawyer service Peerpoint to the United States after years of operating the platform in other countries. The firm described the service as an alternative career path for lawyers.

Eversheds Sutherland in June 2020 launched a U.S. division of its alternative legal and compliance services business Konexo, which also offers legal staffing and managed services.

Harper said LOD's clients are typically medium and large corporate legal teams, often in multinational businesses, many of which are based in the United States. It counts Adidas AG, Apple Inc, Airbnb Inc and Dell Technologies Inc as clients, according to a spokesperson.

Legal teams are increasingly operating in a dispersed manner across borders, Harper said, calling the United States "clearly a missing piece" for the company.

LOD has nine other offices throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, according to its website.

Lewis Bretts, previously the chief operating officer and top legal engineer at SYKE, will lead the New York office.

Read more:

Allen & Overy brings on-demand lawyer service to U.S. amid talent'war'

Eversheds' ALSP Konexo U.S. makes new hire as nears one-year mark

Epiq launches new service for in-house legal departments

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com