When NewLaw Met BigLaw: Hogan Lovells and Cognia Law strike an ever-closer union

August 5, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Hogan Lovells expands its suite of alternative legal services (ALS) offerings by partnering up with Cognia Law (a leading ALS provider). This move is an alternative (perhaps more pragmatic) path taken in BigLaw’s heated race to NewLaw this summer.

What does this mean?

Under this agreement, Hogan Lovells can contract with Cognia Law for a host of different services delivered as an extension to Hogan Lovell’s Birmingham-based legal delivery center. These include contract management, due diligence (particularly assessing Brexit impact), managed review (litigation and arbitration) and regulatory/compliance support. 

This partnership is Hogan Lovell’s third move in a series of strategic partnerships to transform itself into a hybrid NewLaw firm. This model is a hybrid of  the retention model that legal services generated internally (i.e. the traditional structure), but enhanced with high-tech capabilities of NewLaw firms. For legal manpower, teams must become leaner and more efficient. Any unexpected surge in staff will be supplemented by external services that are flexible and scalable on demand.

On the technology front, this will be developed on an incremental basis by partnering up with NewLaw businesses and ALS providers. For instance, Hogan Lovells, Cognia Law and FTI Consulting (a business advisory firm) recently launched a ‘one-stop shop’ LIBOR tool that combines AI tool “Kira”, FTI’s “Contract Express” and Cognia’s flexible manpower to manage the re-papering process for post-LIBOR (2021).

What's the big picture effect?

With such a heavy focus being placed on NewLaw by big law firms, it is interesting to see a new approach. Contrary to other Biglaw firm’s scramble into NewLaw (such as Evershed’s “Konexo”, BCLP’s “Cubed”, see our article on that here, and Simmons & Simmons “Wavelength”), Hogan Lovells chose not to directly compete with their non-traditional competitors

Instead, hybrid NewLaw models aim to remake how legal services are delivered through adopting better tools, technology and resource-management practices. Other Biglaw firms who have followed this strategy include Allen & Overy (A&O) and White & Case. A&O for example, partnered up with Deloitte to develop “Margin Matrix”, a regulatory compliance tool to make sure their deals comply with global regulatory requirements. White & Case similarly partnered up with “MergerMarket” to develop a free tool for clients and the public to access M&A data.

Although some BigLaw firms believe they can effectively sell their own brand of NewLaw services, NewLaw hybrids believe the core legal competencies traditional law firms can provide is what makes them unique and different. “It’s not just saying ‘Let’s hire some robots”, Hogan Lovell’s Global Head of Legal Operations, Stephen Allen says, “but partnering in some particular areas to find a better way of doing things”.

How effective this approach will be in the long term remains to be seen but for now it looks like a wise approach.

Report written by Roslyn Lai

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