Flexible services are a game changer for clients - Roger Connon

Pinsent Masons’ trajectory towards becoming a purpose-led professional services business with law at its core, was underscored when Vario managing director Matthew Kay was recently appointed a Partner in the firm.

Roger Connon is Head of Energy for Pinsent Masons Vario

With Matthew at the helm, Vario was originally conceived in 2013 as a stand-alone Pinsent Masons business, which supported clients with freelance lawyers on a project basis, offering greater flexibility to suit client requirements and ultimately cost savings.

This has evolved to become a distinct practice group within Pinsent Masons and in addition to the freelance legal capability, Pinsent Masons Vario as it is now known, includes the firm’s flexible resourcing division, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) consultancy Brook Graham, our technology and consulting group, legal project management, and managed legal services.

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We recognise, for example, that clients may require forensic accountants, legal project managers, data scientists and D&I consultants, as well as corporate or planning lawyers. By bringing these professional disciplines into one group and aligning them internally alongside our global practice groups, we hope to drive a material change and so be able to easily flex and adapt how we provide support on a case-by-case basis.

Legal services have been transformed in recent years by increasing client demand for a flexible and solutions-based approach to legal and commercial challenges. Now more than ever, clients are looking to collaborate with professional services advisers who are able to deploy an array of professionals, including lawyers, who can help them deliver their strategic aims.

In promoting a non-lawyer to Partner, Matthew’s appointment sends out a strong signal that Pinsent Masons views the Vario element of our business as importantly as our traditional law offering.

I am convinced that this is the way the business of law will progress, with traditional law firms – or at least the innovative ones with the vision and resources – offering a complementary skills set, delivered by experienced professionals and tailored to suit the specific requirement of the client.

I would argue that the commercial world is at the stage where issues such as diversity and Inclusion and environmental, social and governance goals, are now so highly prioritised and embedded in C-suite agendas, that it is vital for law firms to be able to offer this additional expertise. If they do, it can make the difference between winning or losing new work and help reinvigorate existing relationships.

Certainly, in terms of what is recognised as “national” law firms, I don’t know of any in Scotland which have the bandwidth and resources to provide the flexible portfolio of services which are accessible under the Pinsent Masons Vario banner.

More and more, we are called on to play a central role in responding to broader business issues through the provision of technology, or the delivery of managed legal services. Flexible services have been a game changer in recent years – enabling businesses to dial resource up and down in line with day-to-day needs – and we believe Pinsent Masons Vario is a valuable addition which will assist clients as they grapple with increasingly complex business demands.

Roger Connon is Head of Energy for Pinsent Masons Vario

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