Why legal consulting is such an attractive pathway right now

Why legal consulting is such an attractive pathway right now

30 September 2021 By Jerome Doraisamy

In the post-pandemic market, consulting may be the vocational reset that lawyers have been searching for.

As the age of coronavirus rages on, businesses of all stripes have faced uncertainty, but the market outlook is starting to shift. In light of this, Marie Kirby and Stephanie Szeto argued that flexible legal resourcing is a “lifeline” for corporate legal departments who are looking to cover extra demands on their busy teams with top-quality interim support.

While some economies across the globe move between lockdowns and various forms of social distancing, it is clear, the pair posited, that the legal consulting market is experiencing a real boom with demand from clients for lawyers across a range of specialisms and varying experience levels.

The pair, who represent global law firm Allen & Overy’s flexible resourcing business, Peerpoint, said that lawyers can and should be actively considering legal consultancy as their next career move at this stage of the pandemic, stressing the “significant rewards” that come from such a move: “The ability to gain experience by working in different organisations is an opportunity to make lasting connections and fast-track your career.”

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“It is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in prestigious organisations, broaden your skill sets and develop your expertise,” said Ms Kirby and Ms Szeto, who are the head of talent and Asia head for Peerpoint, respectively.

“If you are a lawyer with an entrepreneurial outlook, it allows you the independence to control your own career direction.”

For lawyers who are moving into consulting because their personal and career plans have been diverted by COVID-19, Ms Kirby and Ms Szeto continued, consultancy can be a “stopgap with the potential for career development”.

“However, interim consulting is the same as any other role in that it pays dividends to be clear and transparent about your career plans and goals from the outset,” they explained.

Being armed with such knowledge, they said, will better allow businesses like Peerpoint to place lawyers in assignments that leverage their expertise and experience, or help them transition between specialisms, practice areas or locations.

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“Having said that, the most successful consultants are lawyers for whom the flexibility and variability of roles and organisations is attractive, particularly if they are looking to work as soon as possible,” they noted.

Many organisations – especially in Asia Pacific, Ms Kirby and Ms Szeto identified – will have policies in place to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to “and this means the office setting may look quite different”, they said.

“Moreover, although offices in some markets have been able to reopen, there is always the possibility that a resurgence of the virus may require strict social distancing measures to be reintroduced. These dynamics obviously require flexibility and adaptability on the part of consultants.”

This said, there is no reason why consultants cannot become valued team members while working remotely or social distancing.

“While the need for excellent technical and interpersonal skills has always been important, working from home has placed even more emphasis on soft skills. Particularly in regions which have not traditionally embraced remote working, consultants who communicate effectively – both to demonstrate their technical competence and quickly establish trusted working relationships – are the ones who integrate well into client teams,” they detailed.

“As well as demonstrating organisational skills, versatility and resilience, successful interim consultancy is about building and maintaining strong connections with multiple stakeholders, and maintaining visibility with colleagues you may not have met in person.”

Why legal consulting is such an attractive pathway right now
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