Just when the tide seems to be breaking offshore, there’s a reminder that some people swim against the current.
UK publication The Lawyer just served up an interview with Tim Morris, group GC of Carphone Warehouse, a fast-growing UK telecom firm.
Mr. Morris apparently likes to see the legal work up close:
Since Morris’s arrival at Carphone Warehouse, he has taken the in-house legal function from one extreme to the other. Carphone Warehouse used to outsource 99 per cent of its legal work but now outsources just 1 per cent.
“We’ve brought most of the legal work in-house,” Morris says. “A lot of the work is corporate and it was work that I knew we could do in-house.”
And for those doing the remaining 1%, don’t think it will be easy to cross-sell services to Carphone Warehouse:
Morris doesn’t deal with law firms so much as he deals with people. He has maintained close working relationships with Ashurst corporate partner Stephen Fox and Olswang corporate head Adrian Bott since they were drafted in to advise on Carphone Warehouse’s flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 2000.
I guess the much touted one-stop shop law firm model may not work in all cases.
So another competitor for law firms emerges: the client itself. And those lawyers who can both find work and mind clients, well they are worth their weight in gold.