InCloudCounsel, a U.S. company that provides corporations and law firms with freelance attorneys to handle routine legal work, is today announcing its expansion into Europe with the opening of an office in London to serve the UK and European legal markets.
Leading the office and the company’s expansion there is Bridget K. Deiters, a London-based managing director at InCloudCounsel. Deiters formerly practiced corporate/capital markets law at the law firms Kirkland & Ellis in London and Chicago and Cravath in New York.
InCloudCounsel’s business model is to provide its customers with highly experienced freelance attorneys using a flat-fee, per-document pricing structure. Its proprietary technology allows customers to track the status of their work in real time and obtain data about trends in terms, contract volume, and contractual counterparties.
The UK was the world’s second-largest legal market in 2016, accounting for about $45 billion or 7 percent of the global market, followed by Germany as the third-largest market, accounting for about $25 billion or 4 percent of the global market.
“We’re excited to be opening in London,” Deiters told me during a phone interview last week. “This is a major step forward towards reaching our ultimate goal of being a global player.”
The London office will serve as a launchpad for InCloudCounsel to expand into the European market more broadly, Deiters said. The goal is to have a pool of attorneys who can service agreements in all the major capitals and languages of Europe.
The company’s opening in London was also driven by demand from its existing U.S. clients, many of which have offices in the UK, Deiters said. In fact, before even adding a new UK client, existing clients will provide enough work to make the London office a viable operation, she said.
With today’s announcement, InCloudCounsel will begin major campaigns to bring in new clients and recruit freelance lawyers, Deiters said. It will also seek regulatory approval to set up an alternative business structure (ABS) under the UK’s Legal Services Act so that it can provide malpractice insurance for the freelancers.
“This is a huge opportunity for attorneys here,” Deiters said. It is difficult and expensive for UK attorneys to get a solo practitioner license, leaving many attorneys to choose between a job at a big firm or inhouse, she explained. For those seeking more flexibility in their careers, she said, there are few options.
InCloudCounsel says that it has more than 300 highly qualified attorneys in its network, with an average of 14 years of legal experience. It has handled more than 100,000 legal documents for hundreds of clients, including companies in asset-management, investment banking, real estate, and general corporate affairs.