By DebbieH 06 Feb 2013 7 min read

Pinsent Masons sets up freelance lawyer service

International law firm Pinsent Masons has begun looking for lawyers for a new flexible resource service, ‘Vario from Pinsent Masons’, which it intends to launch to clients in the Spring.

It is essentially a freelance lawyer service, which will offer businesses temporary legal professionals, on an ad hoc basis. Partner Alison Bond, who previously headed Pinsents‘ client service team, will head up the new initiative.

Bond commented: “Clients are increasingly asking for access to flexible resources as a pre-requisite. However, we wanted to take the idea a step further and launch the next generation of this type of service.

“Our market testing with general counsel indicated that when they are looking to plug a gap, personal attributes are as important as legal skills. They want lawyers who will add value quickly, get on with those around them and work with minimal supervision. So we’ve spent a lot of time designing a bespoke selection process which helps candidates understand whether this is right for them, as well as whether they are right for us. We will actively manage assignments, staying close to clients and the lawyers themselves”.

Pinsent is following in the footsteps of Eversheds with its Agile service and Berwin Leighton Paisner with its Lawyers on Demand venture.

PInsent’s Vario service will launch fully this spring, and will offer in-house teams the option to bring in professionals ranging from paralegal to partner-level experience to cover fixed-term projects, or maternity leave, for example.

The firm is currently recruiting for the new service, looking for lawyers with a range of experience from both a private practice or an in-house background. It’s not clear yet how many lawyers will be required for the Vario service.

Pinsents’ managing partner David Ryan commented: “The legal market is changing and we are committed to changing with it. We know that our clients often face periods of high demand and value the ability to ramp-up resource for a specific purpose, often at short notice and for a defined period of time.

“By launching Vario we aim to marry client demand for lawyers who meet Pinsent Masons’ high professional standards with the aspirations of lawyers for a stimulating but more flexible career.”

Offering temporary lawyers is becoming a trend

BLP was one of the first major firms to offer freelance lawyers on a temporary basis with the launch of Lawyers on Demand in 2008 while Eversheds launched a pilot of its Agile service in September 2011 before making it a permanent fixture at the firm in March last year. In the case of Eversheds, the temp lawyer service will help it redeploy lawyers as part of on ongoing redundancy consultation, involving round 166 staff members.

Vario – which means ‘indicating variety or difference’ – is currently recruiting from across the Pinsent Masons alumni network and wider legal market for lawyers at all levels of seniority.