Guide to Legal Recruitment 2023


Legal recruitment looks very different in 2023. With flexible, quality choices for clients only continuing to soar, it is no longer just a few top law firms which hold the key to legal recruitment services. Whether you’re looking to add to your inhouse legal team, get assistance for a project, cover parental or sick leave, or better manage the peaks and troughs in workloads, this guide will support you in making the right decision for your business.

Permanent legal recruitment

Legal recruitment agencies help connect professionals with rewarding career opportunities.  Clients may wonder why they should use this service instead of simply posting a vacancy. The most obvious advantages of staffing agencies are saving time and resources invested into hiring, allowing you to focus on higher value matters.  Behind the scenes, recruitment agencies allow you to tap into a vast network including those who are not actively looking for employment. This increases the pool of talent you can access compared to your competitors, whether that is paralegal or solicitor employment.

Leading recruitment agencies include;

  • Herriot Brown
  • Montresor Recruitment
  • Mckinlay Law
  • EJ Legal
  • JMC Legal

In the meantime, permanent recruitment can be supplemented by temporary flexible services, reducing the pressure to ensure you find the right fit.

Flexible Legal Services Recruitment

Alternative Legal Services Providers (ALSPs)

Alternative legal service providers are a highly innovative industry that grew out of the liberalisation of the legal market over the last decade. Alternative legal service providers can still carry out many of the same services you would find in any traditional top law firm in London, but with a different set up and structure to the norm. This not only allows for more competitive pricing, but greater flexibility to adapt to your needs.



Who can benefit from using Legal Service providers?



When should you use a Legal Service Provider?

  • When you need to react to changes in workload, but do not want to exhaust time and resources by increasing headcount. This includes both regular and spontaneous changes.
  • When you need access to multi-disciplinary expertise that cannot be found with an in-house legal generalist
  • When you want to free up your own internal resources to focus on higher value issues.
  • When you do not want to sacrifice quality, without having to pay law firm rates- One of the purposes of flexible companies is to retain high quality talent that would otherwise leave.



What are the advantages of a Legal Service Provider?

  • Highly progressive in legal tech – This is because unlike traditional law firms, most are digitally native. In fact, even law firms are increasingly turning to legal service providers as consultants on legal technology.
  • A commercially focused business model- outside of charging hourly or daily, they can offer alternative free arrangements or fixed fees
  • More cost effective- by supplying exactly what you need and thinking outside of the box, you can be guaranteed great value for money.
  • More agile- these providers are able to react quickly to new problems or changing landscapes



What services do Legal Service providers offer?

As mentioned above, legal service providers can do many of the tasks you would look for in a law firm. Some of the services include:

  • Lawyer on Demand – lawyers can be hired for secondments, to cover parental or sick leave or support on transactions.
  • An interim legal team  of professionals that can be accessed as little or as much as needed, as an extension of your core team, for a fixed monthly price
  • Flexible ad hoc legal services Boost your core legal team to meet project goals or get help on ad hoc legal support for your growing organisation.
  • Paralegals are a highly cost-effective solution who can help with tasks such as reviewing or drafting documents, regulatory investigations and compliance, or legal research.

You may also need only a specific piece of legal work, which is why some providers have no minimum commitment to allow you to remain flexible.



What should I look for in a Legal Service Provider?

The right legal service provider may look different depending on your personal needs. Popular concerns are:

  • Trustworthiness- You should feel that your provider has the integrity to be reliable and transparent with you.
  • Experience- If you are wary of leaving traditional law firms behind, LSPs with a history of case studies working with reputable brands will pose the least risk to your business.
  • Personal, tailor-made service- In practice this may mean being easy to communicate with, or offering extra assurances and legal advice
  • Qualities that resonate with your company- these include social responsibility and promoting diversity


Types of Legal Service Providers

#1 Captive Legal Services Providers

Some legal service providers are owned by traditional law firms, looking to diversify their services.

Examples include:

Advantages of this kind of Legal Service Provider include the broad international presence, and their association with known law firms. However, this is less relevant in 2023, as many independent legal service providers have built themselves trustworthy reputations through reviews and experience. In fact, 71% of corporations and 79% of law firms now use legal service providers in some form.


#2 Independent Legal Service providers

A limitation of captive legal service providers can be the similarity to traditional firms, which misses the opportunity to look at challenges from a different angle and bring fresh perspectives to solve challenges with a commercially competitive approach at speed.

With their diverse range of legal consultants and breadth of client base, independent ALSPs are client-centric, agile, fast moving and will often offer bespoke solutions rather than providing generic out of the box services and pricing.

Often  more affordable than a traditional law firm, independent legal service providers offer the best of both worlds – investment in and understanding of your business and the way your legal team or organisation prefers to work, allowing them to act as an extension of your legal team quickly with the peace of mind knowing you work with expert, experienced legal consultants you can rely on – whether for niche matters or larger, lower-value projects, alongside speed, agility and cost-effectiveness as a result of a more nimble organisation less constrained by hourly billings and a partnership model – allowing your legal team and organisation to remain proactive and responsive to market fluctuations.

If you are looking to manage overflow legal work, or outsource lower-value but critical legal projects and add value to your company through a more innovative approach, independent legal service providers can be particularly useful.



How does using a legal service provider work?

Clients without any legal experience may feel overwhelmed by the many different options, which is perfectly normal. A good legal service provider should have a simple and straightforward process, taking administrative and onboarding tasks into their own hands.

“Because ALSPs are very good at account management, service delivery, process definition, diversifying, landing and expanding, BT spend with ALSPs has consistently grown.”- Chris Fowler, former GC at BT technology division.



Examples of Alternative Legal Service Providers include:

  • Axiom law offer legal consultants to law firms and legal teams globally; providing an online platform to view and shortlist available consultants
  • Elevate Services provide practising lawyers in multiple geographies with approximately 1400 employees, along with business and technology professionals.
  • Flex Legal specialise in supplying paralegals to law firms and legal teams; offer a paralegal Flex Trainee scheme
  • LOD – Originally established in Australia, LOD provide legal consultants and paralegals to law firms and legal teams; LOD also offer a LOD Trainee scheme
  • The ‘Big Four’ Accounting firms – Deloitte , KPMG , PwC and EY have been expanding their presence in global legal services
  • Obelisk Support – specialists in flexible legal work, providing typically City-trained lawyers and best-in-class paralegals to legal teams and law firms to manage overflow legal work; offer an Obelisk Support Returners Scheme and focus on keeping exceptional talent in the law by championing new ways of working in the law

Why choose Obelisk Support?

Obelisk is a leading quality freelance legal team in the UK, which has been recognised for championing excellence in flexible legal work since 2010. Our most recent awards include;

• Leading firm in flexible legal staffing- Chambers ALSP 2023
• Special commendation for founder Dana Denis-Smith in Financial Times Innovative Lawyers 2022
• Highly Commended for founder Dana Denis-Smith in The Lawyer Awards 2022
• Finalist in Diversity and Inclusion at LexisNexis Legal Awards 2023

Our clientele includes 35 FTSE 100 companies, amongst many other reputable names. This includes partnerships with BT, British Business Bank, Kantar and Bridgepoint Capital.

Bridgepoint Capital:

“Working with Obelisk Support has helped us to reduce the cost of a core legal process by 70%. They turn document reviews around fast, provide straight-forward advice and help us make sure that deals progress. I’d recommend Obelisk’s legal services to teams who are looking for new ways to get work done, without compromising on quality.”

British Business Bank

“Flexibility and speed were key for us in this situation. Obelisk understood our needs and found a solution immediately, adding extra resources to our legal team.”

At Obelisk, the process is designed to be as effortless as possible for clients. Our steps are simply:

#1 Describe your brief

This is to allow a response tailor made to your business. At Obelisk consultants can work both remotely, in person or a hybrid of both

#2 Connect

You will be quickly matched with expert legal professionals, from our pool of mostly ex-city lawyers

#3 Work starts

All administrative burdens will be in our hands, including onboarding, IT liaison, and project management and overview. This includes taking care of all infrastructure to engage with consultants and reliably measure work.

Obelisk further has diversity and inclusion embedded in its DNA, being 100% female-founded and managed with a passion to keep a diverse range of people in the workforce. Many companies now want to use suppliers who reflect these values- ‘not only because business demands it, but also because its good for business’ (Mark Cohen, Forbes). With a model designed to be inclusive and as a recently certified B Corporation, Obelisk can provide a workforce that aligns with the community at large.

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