28 April 2017

Herbert Smith Freehills to open ALT office in South Africa

Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills is set to extend its Alternative Legal Services (ALT) business to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Expected to launch later this year, the business will be housed in the firm's existing Johannesburg office ad will combine a mix of legal expertise, process efficiency and technology to handle high-volume or document-intensive work more efficiently and cost effectively for clients. The South Africa-based team will be led by Lisa McLaughlin, Director, ALT UK, US & EMEA. The move is intended to complement the existing 24/7 service the firm provides clients from offices in Belfast, London, Shanghai, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

New Legal Learnership Programme

The new team will initially be staffed by some five lawyers and 20 legal analysts, who will be the first cohort to participate in the company’s new International Legal Learnership Programme  which will launch alongside the opening of the Johannesburg ALT business designded to help tackle South Africa’s high unemployment rate of 27 per cent. The 18-month programme will offer up to 20 legal graduates the opportunity to gain employment and work experience through a structured learning and development programme.

Demand for ALT sevices growing

Libby Jackson, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Partner and Global Head of the Alternative Legal Services, said: ‘The demand for our ALT services is continuing to grow and it is important that we keep investing in innovative solutions for our clients, to ensure they are receiving the most cost-effective service possible. ‘By equipping our new ALT team in South Africa with the skills they need alongside the right technology solutions, we can offer clients a very low cost way of tackling high volume document-intensive elements of their projects, complementing the high-end advice offered by the firm's lawyers around the world.’ Herbert Smith Freehills' ALT business comprises of over 400 lawyers, legal analysts and technologists globally.