find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
New consulting firm targets overcharging

New consulting firm targets overcharging

An international consulting firm which promises to eliminate overcharging and unnecessary costs from law firm bills has launched in Australia.

Attorney Consulting Services International (ACSI) is a global legal consulting firm that claims to provide companies with cost-efficient access to the best lawyers throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.

Founder and international lawyer Beatrice O'Brien (pictured) told Lawyers Weekly that ACSI is “one of a kind” and boasts a global network of more than 100,000 lawyers from the world’s top 200 law firms.

“ACSI provides access to lawyers, either domestically or internationally, in the most cost-effective and timely manner,” said O’Brien. “It mitigates the risks and uncertainty when clients and companies want to expand overseas, or even expand nationally.”

O’Brien said in addition to matching client needs with the most able lawyer for the job, the ability to monitor law firm billing and ensure clients aren’t hit with unnecessary costs.

“When I started working on the idea fro ACSI eight years ago, I realised there is a real need to ensure clients are getting satisfactory legal service. You often have lawyers put on cases and you just wonder, ‘What are they doing?’ It is common sense, and well known within the industry, that a lot of [clients] are really not happy with hourly billing,” she said.

Get your law firm house in order

O’Brien said ACSI has the ability to recognise when costs are unnecessary and can both eliminate them from the process and insist that firms work in a more efficient manner.

“For example, when a client says they want to go into China … they might engage [a top firm]. The firm will have a presence there, but 99.9 per cent of the time you will find that the attorneys the firm has referred it to … don’t understand that aspect of the law, or they will send it to their satellite office, but you can’t guarantee that they really know your business,” she says. “Most of the time, they’re engaging associates, and therefore, the top partners are charging $1000 an hour to get to know your business. That shouldn’t be the issue. The issue should be; ‘How do we resolve this legal problem, or how do we do this effectively?’”

O’Brien, who is currently based in New York and Shanghai and was in Australia this week to officially launch ACSI, said the firm has the industry knowledge to recognise which lawyers are best suited to which clients, in terms of depth of experience, technical knowledge, and political and social connections.

Although she could not reveal the names of any of the firms with which ACSI is working due to confidentiality agreements, she said the firm is “not a threat to law firms” and instead complements them and helps them to cut costs.

“We assist law firms in a lot of ways. Say, for instance, we have a client and the work is bid to the law firm, they then have that flow of work coming to them,” she said. “Firms spend a lot of time on client development. They spend a lot of time and money on having their lawyers go out and pitch. In this way, they are actually cutting costs, because they don’t have to do that, and they have a ready flow of work in which their attorneys are going to be involved.”

While she is excited about the launch of the Australian branch, O’Brien has a message for those thinking of imitating ACSI’s services.

“I think it’s a great opportunity and one of a kind in the world. People will look at this and say; ‘Oh great, let’s copy that’,” she said. “But it takes real knowledge and industry knowledge to know how to match the firm with the company and the business.”

ACSI has offices in New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney, with its Advisory Board comprising Australian barrister and ex-judge Tim Hale QC; international financial services advisor James Boland; and the Chinese-based advocate Jack Shi.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

New consulting firm targets overcharging
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...