find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Innovative firm takes lessons from in-house

Innovative firm takes lessons from in-house

With the virtues of the traditional law firm model increasingly being called into question, entrepreneur Jeremy Szwider has set out to incorporate in-house practices into a law firm structure to…

With the virtues of the traditional law firm model increasingly being called into question, entrepreneur Jeremy Szwider has set out to incorporate in-house practices into a law firm structure to create a "third arm" to the legal profession.

The outcome is Bespoke Law, described on its website as "a virtual legal boutique where the principles of an in-house lawyer merge with private practice". Szwider himself has worked both in private practice and in-house, as general counsel for FTSE 100 communications company The Carphone Warehouse Group.

A key feature of the firm, Szwider explained, is that he works straight out of clients' offices, and this has allowed him to do away with overheads because the firm needs no significant office space.

"I move around and technology allows me to do that. And cutting out the overheads allows ... my model to be very cost-effective," he explained. "I pitch myself as working out of clients' premises on a rotational basis. So the aim is that I get to know the clients' business as if I am their in-house lawyer."

Szwider said that when he launched the firm his aim was to bring together the best aspects of in-house and private practice and create a "hybrid" model - at the same time significantly reducing the costs of legal services.

"I thought the time was right to [launch] based on the economic downturn. I thought that legal services have always been too costly, and a lot of the approaches, processes and models that private practice lawyers take are outdated and need to be advanced," he said.

"I felt the in-house model was a step in the right direction, but you're only working for one client. So, I decided to create what I believe is a 'third tier' to the legal profession. I feel quite passionate about the whole model and I want to revolutionise the legal market in doing that."

In keeping with his quasi-in-house structure, Szwider's aim is to practise more broadly than is the norm at private practice law firms. "I'm trying to move away from traditional models of specialising in certain areas. I certainly have my areas of expertise - they would be IP, IT and general commercial. But I aim to be a generalist so that I can capture all the legal requirements of a business as if I was their in-house lawyer who they were going to on a day-to-day basis."

He's also done away with time sheets and time-billing, instead adopting a flexible structure which can be adapted to the preferences of individual clients. "It's not at all based on time sheet - unless the client really wants me to do it that way. It's based on more flexible arrangements, such as project fees or retainer fees - I'm happy to charge a set amount to be an exclusive legal provider for a year or a month of whatever that be," he explained.

Szwider said he is specifically targeting clients with a global presence, and those who deal with global transactions, and he has a network of lawyers across the globe who he calls in on an as-needs basis.

"What I've found in my experience is that, with global transactions, you'll end having your own lawyer, then that lawyer will need to call up numerous other lawyers in the jurisdictions that come into play with the global transaction. That ends up being extremely costly, you lose sight of what's going on, and you don't have your direct relationship with a particular lawyer," he says. "So what I'm doing is trying to break down a few barriers to the legal profession, and one is global accessibility."

Look out for the monthly 'in-house' supplement in Lawyers Weekly.

- Zoe Lyon

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

Innovative firm takes lessons from in-house
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
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 & ...