Five years ago it was almost unheard of to find lawyers working on a consultancy basis. For most lawyers the usual career path meant joining a firm as a trainee and then moving up the ranks to perhaps one day make partnership, or switching to an in-house track. Despite some alternatives such as taking on a know-how or counsel role, for those dissatisfied with those options, it could mean leaving the law altogether.
Today, the Peerpoint panel of lawyers has grown from three to over 300 worldwide. Peerpoint now has a presence in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Amsterdam. It is run by a global team of 30 who collectively manage everything from attracting new lawyers onto the panel, on-boarding, assignment and career coaching, client relationship management and community engagement.
Risks and rewards
The first steps on Peerpoint’s journey of growth were tentative. To start with, the panel was made up of A&O alumni lawyers and was an internal resourcing solution for A&O practice groups only.
A significant turning point for the business came in 2014 when Peerpoint’s panel criteria opened up to non-alumni lawyers and they placed consultants with clients for the first time. “That was a big transformational point for us,” says Ben. “Directly addressing clients’ needs created more opportunities for consultants.”
These days, 70% of Peerpoint lawyers are working client-side rather than on A&O assignments. These assignments can range from stepping into a team to support a project to taking on a senior management role, working on major transactions or regulatory change projects or implementation, and can span anything from two to more than twelve months in duration. Working within A&O may involve supporting teams when needed or joining them for fixed periods to work on a specific deal.
We’ve developed Peerpoint around offering really interesting and positive development opportunities for lawyers. Peerpoint’s proposition is unique for many reasons but not least is its relationship with A&O. The team work closely with A&O partners, fee earners and support teams on a daily basis and A&O partner interviews form an integral part of the recruitment process – only candidates who have been endorsed by two A&O partners can go forward in the process and join the panel. On joining, Peerpoint consultants get access to Allen & Overy resources, and during an assignment consultants have the chance to discuss it with an A&O sponsoring or technical partner for advice or guidance.
The next five years
The legal consulting market is growing rapidly, with demand increasing on both the client side for more variety when it comes to legal service providers, as well as on the consultant side as the priorities of lawyers continue to evolve.
In this year’s The UK 200: UK Top 100 report issued by The Lawyer, Peerpoint ranked fifth in a table of alternative legal providers by revenue and headcount. Incidentally, A&O still remains the only global top tier firm with a presence in the consulting market.
To remain ahead in 2019, Peerpoint is keen to attract more mid-level lawyers – many think that consulting with Peerpoint is aimed at very senior or partner level lawyers. In fact, the majority of the panel members are at earlier stages of their careers.
The team are also looking at ways to expand the offering to current consultants including connecting consultants with Peerpoint assignment opportunities in other markets – a benefit of Peerpoint being run as a truly global business.
Interested in knowing more about Peerpoint?
To discuss a potential career in consulting, either now or in the future, contact either Marie Kirby (UK) or Nicole Woodward (Asia Pacific)
To talk to someone about using Peerpoint consultants within your legal teams as interim resource, contact the client team at email@example.com