Re:link – Reflections from a fast-paced first quarter in the contract lawyer market
We are celebrating the first quarter of activity for Re:link, Linklaters’ new contract lawyer platform that launched in the UK earlier this year. Reflecting on the last 3+ months leading this impressive team, Mark Higgs (Re:link COO) here shares some new perspectives on an unusual market and why Re:link is so well-placed to succeed.
1. Re:link has exceeded expectations
In launching a new service there is inevitably uncertainty about how it will be received. With Re:link, we had all the fundamentals in place – an established market, a differentiated proposition, backing from a leading brand in the UK legal industry and rigorous preparation. But would that translate into engagement from lawyers and clients? The answer, after just one quarter, has been a resounding yes. Lawyer numbers are nearly 2x of our stretch target, with fantastic depth and breadth of expertise, and clients have been unanimous in welcoming Linklaters to the market. Re:link lawyers are already working with clients across multiple sectors, which after such a short period of activity is testament to the commitment of everyone involved. With a host of plans already in the works to evolve the platform on multiple fronts, this is a really exciting time to be part of Re:link.
2. Linklaters stands tall
As a relative newcomer to Linklaters, I remain impressed by the depth of commitment from the firm to the Re:link platform. The striking investment of ideas, capital, relationships, insights and above all time that characterised the planning for Re:link, from Linklaters legal teams and business teams alike, has continued apace through the platform’s launch phase.
3. Be lucky - the right team makes all the difference
In a people business, you need the right… people. Fortunately for anyone involved with Re:link, through Jenni, Martin, Desi and their respective teams we have that in abundance. At remarkably short notice we have built a team steeped in Linklaters’ culture, with broad market expertise and a personal touch that will stand Re:link in great stead for the years to come. With further backing from the array of talented individuals working across Linklaters, and from the fast-growing Re:link lawyer community, this is already a formidable group.
4. Re:link is differentiated
Joining an established market increases the importance of articulating clear points of differentiation. Re:link’s continuing focus on its headlines has really captured the attention of both lawyers and clients:
- Quality: As for Linklaters, the expertise of Re:link lawyers is of paramount importance. This is evidenced by the rigour with which candidates are assessed at the outset by Linklaters partners, but also then by the support that they receive from those partners and many others once they have joined the platform.
- Integration: Re:link lawyers are very closely aligned with Linklaters – Re:link isn’t a standalone business, but is rather an extension of the firm’s client offering, which means that lawyers and clients alike benefit from access to the firm’s extensive knowledge and infrastructure.
- Legal Operations: Re:link’s position as a standard bearer for Linklaters’ renewed commitment to Legal Operations really resonates with clients. Re:link is so much stronger for working in unison with our colleagues in Alternative Resourcing, Legal Project Management, Legal Technology, Innovation, Business Management, K&L and others in the new Legal Ops team.
5. Lawyers lead varied and inspiring lives
We already see great diversity of backgrounds and interests among the lawyers at Linklaters. The power of the Re:link model is that it affords lawyers a level of control over their career that can further enable the pursuit of other activities. The Re:link lawyer community includes a far-reaching mix of profiles, including lawyers with elected posts, roles in the judiciary, esoteric hobbies, involvement in the arts and other business interests but also many lawyers for whom being a contract lawyer simply strikes the right working balance. This is a sneak preview of a future post, where we will talk with some of our Re:link lawyers and showcase their experiences in more detail.
6. The legal market has stolen a march
The Re:link model is a really powerful concept, but it has few parallels outside the legal industry. Sophisticated clients, talented contract lawyers and a market-leading firm all benefit hugely from a tripartite structure that other providers can’t replicate. This may well be driven by the unusual combination in legal of:
- the unpredictability of legal resource requirements;
- the importance of resource support to law firms’ client proposition;
- the value of legal knowhow and expertise;
- a fragmented legal market;
- a strong regulatory overlay; and
- the resource model creativity of law firms and clients alike.
Nonetheless there seems to be much that other sectors, particularly those linked to professional services, could learn from the experience of Re:link and others in the contract lawyer market.
If you are interested in becoming a Re:link lawyer, please contact Jenni Cozens or visit our online application. If you would like to discuss working with Re:link lawyers, please contact Desi Konstantinova.
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