Interim Legal > Resources > A Step Toward Tackling Ageism and a Flexible Solution for Today’s Dynamic Legal Environment

A Step Toward Tackling Ageism and a Flexible Solution for Today’s Dynamic Legal Environment

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In the ever-evolving landscape of the legal industry, Interim Legal is committed to staying at the forefront of change by introducing agile working methods. “Ageism,” or the discrimination against workers due to their age, is increasingly becoming a topic of focus within in-house legal and compliance teams. The tendency to disqualify a candidate from a position or hinder the career advancement of an existing employee based on their age or experience level, frequently based on cost drivers, is often a missed opportunity for the legal and compliance department to expand and transfer their know-how and retain institutional knowledge.

At Interim Legal, we are seeking to address a part of the ageism issue by expanding access to the practice of law for experienced legal counsel through our “Of Counsel Program”. This program offers new flexibility and efficient solutions for legal leaders and professionals, while also presenting an effective strategy to combat ageism in the industry.

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How Our ‘Of Counsel Program’ Works

As an Alternative Legal Service Provider (ALSP), we offer legal services to clients outside the traditional law firm model. We provide specialized legal services on a project basis, which includes building capacity, incorporating new capabilities, and implementing regulatory and commercial projects.

Over time, while collaborating closely with our clients, we have observed instances where senior lawyers departed from their legal department, due to a restructuring initiative or for voluntary or forced retirement. In many of these cases, the need for their services still existed, and their absence created a void in terms of both the capability and institutional know-how of the remaining team. We also observed that the legal counsel who departed the organization expressed interest in contributing to the company, albeit sometimes in a part-time or more flexible capacity.

In response to this trend, we have devised an alternative approach to saying goodbye altogether. Instead, we offer senior lawyers the opportunity to be hired and seconded to their former client’s or a similar legal department via Interim Legal. Under this arrangement, we may assign them to work on either a full-time or part-time basis with their former client’s (or similar) legal team, allowing for a seamless transition.

What are the benefits for in-house legal departments

Our ‘Of Counsel Program’ is designed to retain and offer invaluable know-how and internal process knowledge where such expertise is needed on a temporary or interim basis.

This program becomes especially beneficial during significant transitions or changes, where institutional knowledge and experienced professionals are essential in guiding a legal team through corporate or regulatory events. By providing the right talent, we ensure seamless support during these critical periods.

For example, the knowledge of a retired litigator who is familiar with company-specific legal nuances can be utilized to guide ongoing litigation strategies. Additionally, our program offers mentoring for legal teams on previous courses of action related to specific legal practices.

Our ‘Of Counsel Program’ serves to ensure continuity and maintain a position of leadership within legal departments. Not only does it help navigate periods of change and transition, but it also assists in preserving leadership stability. For example, instead of losing the wisdom and experience of a seasoned legal counsel due to cost-cutting, restructuring or retirement, our program allows departments to retain such individuals on a part-time basis. This approach keeps their expertise within the team while offering the flexibility that comes with part-time employment.

What are the benefits for participating lawyers?

Our ‘Of Counsel Program’ ensures that no talent is overlooked due to age, reinforcing our stand against ageism in the legal industry. For experienced legal counsel who have participated in our ‘Of Counsel Program’ or collaborated with us in specialized areas of practice, we provide a platform where they can share their knowledge and vast experience, contribute and feel valued. We prioritize both their need and the employer’s need for flexibility and offer various utilization levels, allowing  either full-time or part-time practice.

By practicing as outside consultants, these legal counsels can focus on their assigned tasks and be evaluated solely based on their skills. This enables them to provide their senior-level expertise without disrupting the existing management structures within the in-house legal and compliance teams.

The Success of Our Program

Since introducing our ‘Of Counsel Program’, we have collaborated with various legal departments and the response has been positive. This approach has not only helped organizations retain valuable expertise but has also contributed to a more inclusive and diverse legal profession. Our success stories attest to the effectiveness of our program and its acceptance within the industry. Each of these programs, ranging from the financial services to the life sciences sector, was implemented based on the individual circumstances of the senior legal counsel retained and customized to the needs of the client.

We look forward to continuing our collaborations with legal departments and compliance teams to design and implement a specific ‘Of Counsel Program’. Let’s build the best possible future of legal services together.

Get in Touch

If you’re a legal leader looking to implement an ‘Of Counsel Program’ in your legal department, or a retired legal professional eager to continue contributing your wealth of experience and wisdom to the workforce, we encourage you to contact us. Together, we can make a significant impact in the legal industry.

Join Our Team of Experts

Visit Interim Legal’s career page today to get started