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The economy had a dramatic effect on law firms. Shrinking wallets led many in-house legal departments to look for alternatives to hiring large law firms. On-demand legal counsel is becoming increasingly common.
There are several variations to the on-demand legal counsel model. While a Google search will yield plenty of temp agencies for in-house work, there are companies out there devoted to providing their own attorneys to work onsite.
Many of these companies recruit former Big-Law associates who yearn for work-life balance. These companies include Axiom, who prides itself in providing high-end assignments, reports The Wall Street Journal. Axiom Legal, however, faces stiff competition from California-based Paragon Legal, a company that employs a similar model.
Some law firms, however, took advantage of the changing landscape to provide solutions for cash-strapped corporations. Fixed-rate legal programs are a rarity among the big firms but some Big-Law partners were thinking outside the box.
And this creative thinking has certainly come to the benefit of in-house counsel. Some firms have come up with plans that would essentially allow them to keep relationships going with their current corporate clients, even if venture capital and deals were slow in the pipeline. Take Flex, by Mountain View based Fenwick & West. Flex may be smaller than the likes of some of its competitors, but if proven successful, it could start a new trend among law firms.
Indeed, overburdened in-house counsel have many options these days. In the aftermath of the Great Recession and the bloodbath at the big law firms, there are many alternatives to the big-firm model popping up.
And if these initiatives prove to be successful, we're likely to see many more.