A guest post by Don Holden of INLAW.

Greatly encouraged by the success of similar legal advisory firms overseas, INLAW Group is planning an expansion in New Zealand, offering quality commercial and government legal services in-house, on demand and online as required. .

As overheads are dramatically reduced (by as much as 55%), those savings are passed on to business and government clients, who will receive a highly personalised, tailored service, from professionals with big-firm experience, business acumen and/or high academic standards.

It’s a “win-win-win” situation, says Don Holden, the founder of INLAW Group in New Zealand.

  • The client receives on demand, in-house as-required advice, at up to a half of the normal rate,
  • The lawyer can greatly improve lifestyle, and income, while working with a team of like-minded, focussed lawyers
  • INLAW Group wins through increasing its quality skill base.

“Through having direct, cost-effective delivery of legal expertise, business and government can involve legal input in the vital planning stages of projects or problem-solving, using legal and business acumen to create new solutions while identifying and managing risk”, he says.

The concept can be used for banks, financial institutions, SME’s of all kinds, and larger corporates, particularly in project work.

INLAW’s modus operandi can have an excellent application in New Zealand Local Authority work, where there is often expensive duplication of advice across a range of legal topics. Real savings can be effected here if councillors and management can observe savings combined with high quality advice, and standardisation of many legal and quasi legal processes is introduced

“As already identified in surveys carried out here, Central Government could save $100m through better, more intelligent outsourcing of advice from business models like INLAW.

“Also, major savings can also be made through carrying out project/problem research through INLAW lawyers, then verifying solutions with the best lawyer available, who may be in any of the big firms, or elsewhere – in the not-too-distant future, with INLAW itself.. That’s the future vision, and warning, that Professor Susskind (Chief IT advisor to the Lord Chief Justice in UK, advisor to international law firms), has given the profession– see his latest book, “The End of Lawyers?”

“There is a significant move offshore in legal circles to work out better methods of delivery of cost-effective services. The startling success of new firms like Axiom Legal in USA and UK, Keystone Law in London, and many others, is testament to this new movement.

“We’re simply selling brains, not baubles, and that may not endear us to the Establishment who cocoon themselves in large luxurious offices in hard-to-get-to places, with stunning views – as a means of convincing clients they are right.

There are no absolute guarantees on correctness, however.

Their fees have been termed “reassuringly expensive”, often acceptable to CEO who are, ultimately, not paying personally for advice.

Most legal solutions are now available online to us, from international legal publishers who offer well-researched and resourced, lawyer-friendly databases

“Although the big New Zealand legal firms may continue to make some lawyers unhappy for years to come, there’s real enthusiasm for the concept from some very talented lawyers.

We’re prepared to talk to both lawyers and potential clients, on a highly confidential basis, at any time”.

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