A decade ago, Allen & Overy launched Peerpoint to provide A&O alumni with the ability to access A&O work on an interim basis. This was to offer lawyers the opportunity to gain more flexibility and control in their career without compromising on the quality of work, but also to benefit A&O practice groups in need of extra resource. With this, A&O became the first top international law firm to dip its toe into the world of flexible resourcing, back then a maverick choice.
Fast forward to today, and we now have around 400 consultants on our panel. They represent a broad range of legal backgrounds and work with clients across multiple industries in more than 10 global jurisdictions.
International expansion and growing the Peerpoint panel
So how did that seedling of an idea, from A&O’s Senior Partner Wim Dejonghe and our founder Ben Williams, evolve into the market-leading business it is today?
After a successful start, an early turning point was the recruitment of Richard Punt as our first CEO. As the team grew, we opened up our consultant panel to lawyers that had outstanding experience, but who had never worked for A&O before. He also helped launch Peerpoint’s services to external clients.
Since then, we have opened in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UAE, and the U.S., expanding our network to enhance the ability for lawyers, legal professionals and clients to access the best talent and opportunities wherever those might be. We now regularly operate across borders to connect consultants with remote working roles and strategically partner with our clients wherever they need us.
As well as forging a global community of lawyers, one of the most important and differentiating aspects of Peerpoint has been the ability for consultants to access the benefits of a top-tier law firm, such as partner contacts, knowledge resources and high-quality training and support.
Keeping quality front of mind
In 2019 we were ranked in Band One for flexible staffing in Chambers & Partners’ global Alternative Legal Service Providers Guide – we’ve been top ranked every year since. With the business continuing to flourish, I stepped into the role of sole global managing director at the end of 2020.
Peerpoint today has evolved greatly from what it was in 2013. Our guiding light however has stayed the same: our commitment to offering high calibre talent to clients and enabling lawyers to pursue quality careers on their own terms. One of our consultants recently said that “consultancy has been a great experience with Peerpoint, I am undoubtedly a better lawyer because of it.” Our clients also continue to tell us that “the quality of talent and service are both exceptional.” In recent years, gathering feedback has been integral to how we make decisions as a business, we have surveyed both our global client community and our global panel of consultants to make sure we evolve alongside their challenges and demands.
We keep on evolving
In 2019, we decided to open up our panel to lawyers from three years’ PQE, thus further expanding our offering to both lawyers and clients. This continuous desire to keep evolving has led us to launch the Peerpoint learning portal, a platform to ensure our consultants have access to the best training and support in the market. We also keep on finding ways to broaden access to the legal profession and offer top quality work for lawyers. We’ve partnered with the Reignite Academy to help career returners relaunch their legal careers and, more recently, have launched our Futures Programme for incoming A&O trainees looking to gain professional experience and generate income whilst bridging the gap between their studies and the start of their training contract. Our ‘Futures’ deliver quality in-house work that offers clients the benefit of junior interim talent.
Our tenth year doesn’t only allow us to celebrate a big anniversary but also the fact that Peerpoint was named a Top Alternative Legal Service Provider by Asian Legal Business.
Reflecting on 10 exceptional years
We are proud to be an integral part of A&O’s Advanced Delivery & Solutions offering, bringing together technology, resourcing, and end-to-end solutions to help legal teams better manage risk, reduce costs and build resilience.
It has been an amazing journey to see the evolution of not just Peerpoint but the wider flexible resourcing market. To start as an internal A&O programme in London and within 10 years work with 400 consultants across six of the world’s largest business hubs, demonstrates the appetite for innovative approaches that exist in the legal industry.
It makes me excited about the future of our industry and I feel confident about the next 10 years, as Peerpoint continues to find ways to provide effective tailored solutions to clients around the world and new career options for lawyers.
We are celebrating our latest milestone with events around our global network and look forward to seeing what the opportunities of A&O Shearman, and the next decade, bring. As always, we’re grateful to our consultants and clients for their continued support and trust.