Thursday, September 05, 2013

Different Types of Revolutionary Legal Organizations....

(thanks to Chicago Socialists)

In the wake of the Legal Services Act 2007 we have been focused on the new Alternative Business Structures almost to the exclusion of other new legal organizations. This came to mind when reading The Lawyer's feature on the legal landscape in 2018.

At the end of its article there are a couple of paragraphs on litigation boutiques and their growing success. The one which struck me in particular is Hage Aaronson, litigation specialists. (Their website must be the most understated ever--it has only one page.

The reason I find it interesting is that the company, which it is, was formed by two barristers who are quitting their chambers to do this. Another QC is also joining the firm. Other members of the firm/company are lawyers from Dorsey & Witney (their entire tax team), Baker Botts, and Debevoise & Plimpton. Tax litigation is one of its main areas of expertise, along with regulatory work, arbitration and multi-jurisdictional commercial claims.

The firm's self-professed claim is to be an "international litigation management" firm. By blending solicitors and barristers it situates itself as a conduit between the Magic Circle law firms and the commercial Bar. This is of course a form of de facto fusion between solicitors and barristers. Or perhaps it shows us the futility of artificial distinctions between occupational groups that do very much the same thing with different specialisms.

What I haven't seen discussed in regard to Hage Aaronson is how it will be charging its clients. Given their nature it might not be a problem. However, part of the success of other litigation boutiques like Quinn Emmanuel has been their entrepreneurial approach to the charging and funding of litigation. There must be some price competition among litigation boutiques. They all claim to have the best lawyers.

In a recent article, Ray Campbell, discusses the impact of disruptive innovation on legal services. He shows how regulatory barriers hinder innovation. Consumer needs are ranked below the needs of the suppliers as happens with the US legal profession. (Despite that, litigation boutiques thrive in the US.) These hindrances are now being dismantled in the UK and we will see more innovations as consumers/clients become more persuasive.


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