Legal highs: why the market for interim lawyers is soaring

Accountability and transparency have never been more vital in the current business climate.

As we move into 2017 and beyond, companies of all shapes and sizes are demanding more efficiency and better value for money in every aspect of their work, and never more so than when they’re resourcing – and outsourcing – complex projects.

There has, in turn, been a shift in the way that law firms manage client briefs, leading to greater demand for high quality interim legal resource.

A new focus for Momenta

Momenta Legal Resourcing is the result of Momenta bringing on-board the founder of a niche legal recruitment agency ‘Baby Barristers’, which for 6 years has operated throughout the country, resourcing legal professionals.  The aim is to help both law firms and other clients meet this growing need for good people to deliver contract legal work.

Aiden Maxwell-Brindley founded Baby Barristers and is now leading the new division at Momenta. He says that there is a great opportunity to build legal interim resourcing across the UK, and explains one of the reasons for this: “A general trend in the legal staffing sector is that people are much more specific about how services should be provided and how much everything is going to cost them.”

He says firms need to make sure they are using people at the right level for the right sort of work, which requires more flexibility when putting project teams together.

“If you are working on a merger of two business, for example, there will be a vast number of documents that need to be sifted through, gathered together and analysed. The firm will ask for a project team of maybe 20 or 30 people to come in to just do that aspect of the brief.”

Document overload

Maxwell-Brindley adds that another market shift influencing the growth in this sector is the sheer volume of documents that are now part of a typical project scope: “Technology has contributed as there are now texts, emails, and more pictures than ever, so there are more pieces of information to be reviewed.”

LPC (Legal Practice Course) and BPTC  (Bar Professional Training Course) graduate lawyers form the largest cohort of available interims registered as Momenta associates. They are perfect for this type of work, as they tend to be at a transitional point in their career when there is a natural gap before starting pupillage, for example.

However, as Maxwell-Brindley points out, this does mean there’s fast turnover of candidates.  As people move into their permanent jobs as barristers or solicitors there is always a need for fresh faces, making it a fruitful opportunity for anyone looking to use their legal qualification without committing long term to a firm or chambers.

Working remotely

Another trend influencing the world of legal interims is the move towards more work than ever being performed remotely. “Much of the work we’re recruiting for doesn’t require people to be on site – and in fact the firms may well not actually have the space to accommodate 20 extra people,” says Maxwell-Brindley.  This can suit associates, but it also means Momenta can select candidates regardless of where they’re geographically located.

Spotting an opportunity

Baby Barristers, which merged with Momenta earlier in 2016 to create Momenta Legal Resourcing, started life as a pro-bono project for the law school that Maxwell-Brindley had attended. “This was a few years ago now, and I didn’t expect it to be a commercial thing at that time.  I’d had a job years before in recruitment, so I knew this world a little bit, and I could see that there were lots of people leaving law school who didn’t always know what they were going to do next.” He adds that the business began to make money and grew from there.

The advantages this merger will bring are widespread and varied.  Maxwell-Brindley explains: “From the candidates’ point of view it’s going to mean access to more jobs as we’re going to be tapping into Momenta’s existing client base and using our increased resources to expand our client base.

In addition, more resourcing will mean more efficient registration and vetting and more time spent on individual candidates.

Keeping it personal

But he’s adamant that the personal touch that has always been one of his USPs will never be compromised and the quality of candidates will remain a key part of the business.

Maxwell-Brindley concludes: “What I see with Momenta Legal Resourcing is a development of what we have always done at Baby Barristers, but on a larger scale. We have the experience and the network but now we have the backing and the support to build something bigger. The quality of the people and therefore the service will always be paramount – that really is the most important factor.”

Founded and run by legal professionals, Momenta Legal Resourcing deploys legally qualified associates, (paralegals, solicitors and barristers), with extensive experience of document review and other legal support services particularly in the areas of high value litigation and arbitration. Find out more here.

If you are interested in registering with Momenta Legal Resourcing as a contractor – please click here.

For any further information please contact Aiden Maxwell-Brindley, Momenta Legal Resourcing on 0207 374 5659 or ABrindley@momentagroup.com