13 June 2018

US law firm joins forces with UnitedLex to disrupt traditional law firm model

A US law firm has joined forces with a legal services operator to create a market-disrupting legal platform, removing business operations from the law firm.

US AmLaw 200 firm LeClairRyan has entered into a joint venture with UnitedLex to streamline its services and form a new business, ULX Partners. The new arrangement will be rolled out to other law firms, providing them  with market-leading technology, project and knowledge management, process innovation, resource management - including new sources of capital -  to add value to their offering to clients, at the same time as delivering efficiencies to the law firm itself and increasing profits. More than 300 professionals have been rebadged from LeClairRyan to join over 130 professionals deployed by UnitedLex to comprise the initial talent pool within ULX Partners, which provides a full range of legal support (litigation, corporate, intellectual property, and other), finance, human resources, IT, pricing, procurement, and knowledge management.

Disruption 

UnitedLex has over 2700 employees in 26 countries. 'LeClairRyan is the first firm in the ULX Partners constellation, which will be revealed as the most disruptive change to the practice and business of law since lawyers began billing their time,' Dan Reed, CEO of UnitedLex, said.  'Attempts at outsourcing various law firm operations and law firm-owned hybrid staffing models have largely failed to address urgent client needs and do not ensure law firms have the right economic structure and high-impact training to evolve and thrive in a Legal 2.0 environment. With ULX Partners, law firms now have the ability to provide greater value to their clients while operating with significantly improved financial strength.'

Central force

ULX Partners serves as a central source from which member law firms access dedicated tools, resources, and capital essential to addressing sharply increasing client demands around improving cost and pricing flexibility, deepening client relationships and shifting from a primarily transactional mindset, and streamlining law firm operations. ULX Partners derives its technology and professional resources from UnitedLex and each member law firm. Each new law firm that comes into the constellation will be supported by dedicated staff and technology to avoid confidentiality or conflict issues.

Limited access to capital markets

'Because of restrictive operating and compensation models, law firms have limited access to capital markets and must focus on short-term profitability, which limits their ability to fuel investments in robust technology, training, and infrastructure that optimise the pricing and delivery of legal services,' said Erik Gustafson, CEO and President of LeClairRyan. 'By partnering with an industry leader like UnitedLex, which has a proven track record of delivering significant business impact for global corporations, law firms now have access to the infusion of technology, financial capital, experience, infrastructure, and process innovation on a global scale to drive dramatic change for their clients.'

Legal services

LeClair Ryan has 25 offices in the US and 325 lawyers. UnitedLex is an enterprise legal services provider founded in 2006 employing more than 2700 lawyers, engineers and consultants across four continents which creates business and legal solutions for law firms and corporates. ULX Partners comprises more than 400 professionals in 26 countries who provide a full range of legal, finance, human resources, IT, pricing, procurement, and knowledge management support services to its member law firms. By fusing the business and the practice of law, ULX Partners aims to help law firms better align the scope, staffing and pricing of services with clients’ legal and business needs.