National legal business DWF has announced that it is transforming its business model with new integrated delivery models and services designed to give clients greater flexibility and efficiency in how they deliver and resource legal work. DWF has been delivering a range of new services on a pilot basis to meet specific client need for the last 12 months and has developed them with clients across industry sectors, but is now formalising its proposition and proactively offering these models on a bigger scale to its client base of major household names and FTSE-listed clients. This latest announcement strengthens DWF’s market position as operating at the forefront of innovative client service.
DWF’s newly announced models and services comprise:
- DWF Legal Support Centre - a centralised team of paralegals and other specialist legal advisors, focusing on process driven or standardised legal activities.
- DWF Resource - a service offering flexible resource to clients, allowing them to manage peaks and troughs with the assured quality of a law firm.
- DWF Consultancy – an offering to help clients develop how they operate in their in-house teams and deliver legal services to enhance the service they offer.
- DWF Draft – a service that combines DWF’s legal know how and document automation software to help in-house clients deliver legal work with improved efficiency, consistency and risk management.
DWF’s new service delivery models, DWF Legal Support Centre and DWF Resource, enable clients to flex their resourcing approach, using the combinations of models which best suit their business and their specific legal need, whilst also benefiting from DWF’s scale and strategic client management ensuring that services are delivered in a co-ordinated and integrated way.
To support these new service delivery models the firm is offering DWF Consultancy, a service which provides operational insight to help clients best manage their in-house resource and legal supplier relationships. In addition the firm has invested in market-leading document automation software and developed DWF Draft to improve efficiency and enable its legal experts to focus on technical aspects of the law and negotiation, thereby improving risk and consistency across the 13-site business. Through DWF Draft, DWF is combining its legal know-how with automation software as a service to in-house clients, affording them those same benefits without the required resource and capital investment.
DWF’s Managing Partner & CEO, Andrew Leaitherland, says “Buyers of legal services are telling us that they want more for less, they want better value, they want more transparency and they want a more adaptable and flexible approach. We are well placed to deliver this for clients and have built a cohesive and flexible model for clients, which we believe will further differentiate us in the market.”
The new models have been spearheaded by the firm’s Service Delivery Executive, led by Andrew Chamberlain, who has built a strong reputation in the market for innovative delivery and was recognised as one of the top 10 most innovative lawyers in Europe by the Financial Times in its Innovative Lawyers Report 2013. Andrew initiated and led the development of Addleshaw Goddard's Client Delivery model including the Transaction Services Team, an in-house centralised support team to manage the process elements of legal work, and is now developing this work further at DWF. Working with Andrew Chamberlain is a team with a strong track record in designing and delivering new business models. These include the recent appointments of Richard Copley and Jonathan Patterson, who helped lead the transformation programme at Addleshaw Goddard, and Catherine Bamford who led Pinsent Masons’ work on automation as well as members of the team at DWF from various disciplines including Chief Technology Officer, Richard Hodkinson who has been recognised as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking CTOs in the legal sector.
Andrew Chamberlain comments “The UK legal market is undergoing significant change and we’ve seen considerable appetite from clients for new approaches to deliver services. There’s a significant opportunity for the law firm which offers clients the ability to mix and match the type of support they need, and then delivers that mix in a strategic, co-ordinated and integrated way. DWF has the ambition and mindset to embrace that opportunity.”
DWF Legal Support Centre comprises a hub of paralegals, specialist advisers and team managers, initially covering two main areas Volume Legal Services and Project Support. The Volume Legal Services team delivers process-led legal services primarily to the firm’s major insurer and financial services clients. The Project Support Team provides specialist support as stand-alone activity, such as document review, or as part of the integrated delivery of a piece of work to a client. The team works across the full spectrum of legal practice areas for both commercial and insurance clients. The Legal Support Centre brings together people from across the firm’s business into a centrally-managed hub in Manchester with virtual working so that they collaborate closely and share technology and management information to help drive efficiencies for clients. It also offers a more diverse recruitment approach, clearly defined management structure and career paths, plus comprehensive learning and development opportunities through the DWF Academy which provides access to tailored training programmes. DWF has invested over £12million in technology and process management over the past year to ensure it has cutting edge systems, processes and applications in place to facilitate the growth of the Legal Support Centre.
The top 20 legal business has launched DWF Resource, to provide support to clients who need tailored legal resource often on a flexible basis. DWF has added two flexible resourcing options and enhanced its existing secondee model by tapping into the growing number of lawyers who are taking a different approach to their career by working only on a project basis, and also by developing a technology-based sourcing solution with leading UK legal recruitment business Douglas Scott. As part of the new model everyone going on assignment to clients completes a formal induction process to ensure the right fit. In the last year DWF provided resource solutions on over 80 assignments and has successfully developed the ‘DWF Resource’ model with several of its major clients. Following increasing client demand DWF is rolling out the offering to clients across all its industry sectors.
DWF Consultancy has been driven by clients seeking advice on how they can better structure themselves, how they can build new service delivery models, how they can improve their choice of legal provider, and how they can better engage and work with them. The 10-strong team includes business managers and process analysts who can pull on expertise from across the firm’s circa 2300 people to provide clients with a fresh perspective on managing resource. The team has already been advising a number of in house legal departments, helping them better structure and resource legal work as well as monitoring and auditing their ongoing work and legal needs.
Andrew Chamberlain comments “Clients have been saying for some time that they need help in re-engineering how they work and there is a real gap in the consultancy market: how lawyers work and how teams and projects are structured is really important to delivering effective legal services. Because of the work we've done for ourselves and for clients, we have found a build-up of demand for this type of service.”
Smart use of cutting edge technology is at the heart of DWF’s vision and strategy and to support these new models and services, the firm has invested significantly in market-leading document automation software Contract Express. Through DWF Draft it is offering clients the opportunity to use a combination of expert legal-know combined with automation software in-house and to benefit from improved quality, efficiency and consistency without the large upfront capital investment in developing their own solution to achieve the same outcomes.
DWF’s Managing Partner & CEO Andrew Leaitherland commented, “We want to ensure that DWF remains at the forefront of client service excellence and offering clients the ability to pick and choose the resource models which best fit their business and their specific needs, and for us to be able to deliver those services in an integrated way, is the right way forward. Our clients are telling us that they want a law firm that can offer disaggregated services but still be able to put their arms around an entire project, and that takes flexibility but also scale, and we think we’re in an excellent position to deliver that.”
DWF is recognised by the Financial Times as one of the most innovative law firms in Europe and has been named Legal Innovator of the Year 2015 by Legal Business in recognition of the firm’s innovative approach to operational management, people engagement and the successful delivery of client service and workplace improvements.