Here are some frequently asked questions about how LOD Secondment Solutions works for our clients. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Many law firms face resourcing challenges when their clients ask them to provide secondees. They have to balance the need to keep the client satisfied with the need to keep their teams suitably resourced for current and anticipated work. Whilst some secondments are a strategic investment in the client relationship, others are non-strategic either because they are part of a panel arrangement or simply because the client is asking for a favour. LOD enables you to provide your client with an alternative, quality assured resource, without incurring the fully loaded costs of a traditional secondment.
We provide you with the services of one of our LOD lawyers whom you can then second to your client. The lawyer is held out as an LOD consultant under your banner and is supported by you (and us) in exactly the same way as a traditional secondee.
Your client sees you as providing a creative solution to their resourcing needs. Your existing team and its day-to-day workload can continue to operate without the disruption caused by losing a member of the team to a client for a prolonged period of time. Whether you usually provide your secondees “free,” at “cost” or even at “cost plus,” you will make a considerable saving using a LOD lawyer to fulfil the client need. You will not be paying the fully loaded headcount costs traditionally associated with permanent employment and will not bear the opportunity cost of lost fee income. As ambassadors for your firm the LOD lawyers will be an important touch-point for you, enabling you to deepen your client relationships.
The client has exclusive access to a senior, quality assured LOD lawyer who seamlessly integrates into their legal team and is connected to, and supported by, one of its key law firms. Most law firms can only provide a junior lawyer to fulfil client secondments. As all of our LOD lawyers have at least 5 years’ PQE the client has the advantage of working with lawyers who are proven self-starters and who have been selected specifically because their skill set matches the client need.
Our LOD lawyers love working for different clients and in different sectors. Having had significant private practice and in-house experience they are well used to the demands of internal clients and thrive on giving pragmatic advice whilst having the flexibility to do the other things in life that are important to them.
LOD is able to attract lawyers from the best law firms and in-house teams because LOD appeals to high quality lawyers who wish to have more control over their career and lifestyle. The LOD service allows lawyers to work flexibly on a project-by-project basis. The LOD lawyers trade the certainty and rigidity of employee status for a flexible and more autonomous way of working, which matches their requirements. We follow best practice to ensure that all lawyers made available through the LOD service are of a suitable quality standard. For example, in the UK there is a thorough two stage interview process, including technical test. In Australia, there is a stringent quality checking and selection process. We also continually monitor feedback on our LOD lawyers when on assignment.
Taking the client brief
Taking a proper brief is crucial to enable us to select the right LOD lawyer(s) for your client. We will work closely with you to ensure all the key questions are answered. Often this can be most efficiently achieved by a conference call or meeting between us, you and your client. We take a bespoke approach to each assignment and have 10 years’ experience of asking the right questions to be able to present the best menu of options and prepare a shortlist of the most suitable LOD lawyers.
The structure of the assignment
The LOD lawyer will contract with us by way of non-exclusive contract for services. We will then assign the lawyer to you in line with our discussions and work with you as necessary to ensure that your secondment letter to your client mirrors the terms under which the LOD lawyer is assigned to you.
The LOD lawyer will typically be employed by us. We will then second the lawyer to you in line with our discussions and on the terms of our engagement letter with you. We will work with you as necessary to ensure that your secondment letter to your client mirrors the terms under which the LOD lawyer is assigned to you.
Before the assignment begins we will agree a day rate for the LOD lawyer (if the lawyer is working on site at the client) or an hourly rate (if the lawyer is providing a monthly block of hours). No charge is made for any time when the LOD lawyer is not working. Your firm will be responsible for paying our fees. You are free to decide what charge (if any) to pass on or mark up to your client for providing an LOD lawyer. However, payment of our invoices is not dependent on your ability to recover fees from your client, as we pay our lawyers monthly in any event.
All of our LOD lawyers maintain their own Practising Certificates. LOD lawyers will be covered by your firm’s professional indemnity policy for the duration of the secondment. We have significant experience of working with law firms’ Risk and Compliance Departments when providing secondees and are very happy to answer any questions you or they may have in connection with this.
Conflicts and confidentiality
LOD has a strict confidentiality agreement with all LOD lawyers which applies alongside their usual professional obligations. LOD also places strict non-solicitation obligations on the LOD lawyers in relation to any contacts which they make whilst on any LOD assignment. We are happy for your firm to put in place its own confidentiality agreement with the LOD lawyer. LOD does not have access to any documentation or information relating to the matters worked on by LOD lawyers. If your client is not able to host the LOD lawyer on their systems, it works best if the LOD lawyer works on your systems. LOD also requires all LOD lawyers to consistently monitor any potential conflicts which may arise as a result of work which they have previously carried out. In the unlikely event that a conflict arises the LOD lawyer is required to immediately notify you and LOD. We will work with you to find a speedy resolution.
What do I tell the client?
In our experience, clients appreciate a completely transparent approach so we would recommend that you explain to your client that you are providing a lawyer supplied by LOD and that you are supporting the lawyer throughout the assignment as with a traditional secondment. We can help you with this messaging if you’d like us to. You may want the LOD lawyer to spend a few days in your office to acclimatise to your firm and receive any specialist training required before they go to the client. As ever we can facilitate this as part of the on-boarding arrangements.
Will I be able to help choose the LOD lawyer for my client?
We believe you have a crucial role in selecting the right LOD lawyer for your client. Although all of our lawyers are carefully vetted on their technical ability and have a wealth of experience, we recommend you meet our shortlisted lawyers and work with us to choose the right lawyer for your client.
LOD will produce an Assignment Notice confirming the details of each assignment based on the details that you and your client provide. For your firm’s first assignment with LOD, there will also be a short framework agreement setting out key terms. This does not commit your firm to purchase any services from LOD. An Assignment Notice is the only paperwork required for subsequent assignments to your firm although you will need to produce an engagement letter to govern the terms of each secondment of an LOD lawyer to your client. LOD manages the contractual relationship with the LOD lawyers on every assignment.
All LOD lawyers will be used to working with the systems and know-how in a top tier firm. Depending on your firm’s systems and the nature of the work they will be doing whilst on their secondment, they may need some bespoke additional training. They may also need to complete your firm’s anti money laundering and/or anti bribery and corruption courses and comply with various other protocols and policies as part of their on-boarding with you. We can agree these and any other specific induction requirements before the start of the assignment.
Systems and equipment
In the same way as any of your seconded associates, your LOD lawyer will typically need a contact in your IT team to be set up with a login ID and an email address to enable them to access your firm’s systems whilst they are on secondment.
The LOD lawyer would not normally be expected to time record whilst they are on secondment to a client. If this is not the case please advise us before the assignment starts so that we can make the LOD lawyer aware and ensure they know how to do this correctly.
LOD fees and Invoicing
LOD will issue monthly invoices to the designated contact within your firm. LOD will deal with all invoices from, and payments to, LOD lawyers – there is no additional administration for your firm.
Place of work
LOD lawyers will either work from your client’s offices, from your offices or remotely. This will be pre-agreed with you and the client for each assignment and set out in the Assignment Notice.
The LOD lawyer will pre-agree any holiday days or other non-work days with their supervisor at your client. All non-work days are unpaid.
What is my relationship with the LOD lawyer during the assignment?
We leave that entirely to your discretion. As part of our LOD Lawyer Care Programme we will be in regular contact with the LOD lawyer to see how the assignment is progressing and will deal with day to day practicalities. We recommend you’re in touch with the lawyer regularly too so that your firm can derive maximum benefit from the assignment, just as with a traditional secondment.
Support from LOD HQ
We are on hand throughout the assignment to handle the practical queries which typically arise during assignments and will play an important intermediary role if there are any issues that need speedy resolution. We will also arrange formal feedback sessions during, and at the end of, each assignment.
If the LOD lawyer is working on site at the client we usually recommend a one month notice period. This will be negotiated at the start of each assignment and will be covered in the Assignment Notice. LOD will deal with all paperwork between your firm and us at the end of an assignment. We will organise a formal assignment debrief with you and the LOD lawyer and recommend you do the same with your client.
+61 434 279 803
+61 400 2200 046
+61 413 796 830
+61 403 613 324
Jonathan Brenner, LOD Co-founder
+44 (0)20 3876 8452