April 2020

We hear it time and time again.
Your team is overwhelmed.
You are so overloaded by the day to day that you barely have time to sign off on new projects, let alone spend the time to think strategically about how to do them differently.
You need more people, yet you don’t know how long the deluge of work will last for.
Or you have some months where you are overwhelmed and others where work is manageable.
You would love to spend time working out ways to work more efficiently in the current COVID-19 world but simply don’t have the time, energy or headspace to be creative.
You’re not actually sure if it’s Tuesday or Thursday.  Oh, and now you’re working from home and home schooling.
There are a few options that might cross your mind in the spare 10 seconds you have before you fall asleep.

1. Hire someone new

If your budget allows for this, then hiring a new team member may be a genuine option.  But this can present difficulties if you don’t know the person or know if you’ll have enough work for them long term.  In addition, you’ll need to factor in the time and costs of training them and supporting their salary and entitlements long term, so it’s not a simple salary cost to be factored in.

2. Hire a contractor or secondee

Aha, so I will look at a short term solution!  Hiring a contractor or secondee for a fixed period may certainly provide benefits where you are looking to address a short term gap.  You can contract them for the period you need them, and often extend the arrangement where your needs justify the commitment.  You can also direct the contractor/ secondee to the areas where they are most useful in the business – for example picking up the procurement work or taking on someone’s role as a parental leave cover.

However, on the downside, where contractors and secondees are a single individual with a fixed set of skills and experience, once their contract ends, their knowledge of the business disappears with them.  These arrangements are not designed to be long term solutions, and there is no guarantee that the individual will continue to be available to you in the future.  While seconded individuals may still provide a service from their law firm post-secondment, the knowledge will be with them specifically, and will come at an unknown fee to you if you want to keep tapping into it down the track.

3. Retainers

So what is the answer?  An innovative option you might consider is engaging legal services from a team on a retainer basis.  This may be a similar arrangement to a secondment, but rather than relying on the services of a single lawyer, you have access to expertise and business understanding across a team.  This allows you to solve your resourcing problem longer term, but with the same benefit of being able to turn it off and on, or up and down, as your business needs change over time.

In addition, you get the benefit of having a fixed price regardless of volume – giving you budget predictability, and the ability to spread your costs across the year regardless of peaks and troughs.

The Hive Approach

Shortly after Hive was founded (over 6 years ago), we recognised that many of our clients required a solution for legal resourcing and assistance which reflects the varying nature of business needs that more of us are now facing.  We designed our HiveGC+ offering with exactly these needs in mind:

  • Providing a central contact point but with servicing from a team of legal professionals, from paralegals to principals at a fixed cost;
  • Having the entire team committed to getting to know and understand the business at no additional cost;
  • The ability to flex the team to your needs in terms of availability to you, size and skill set;
  • Access to creative thinking about ways to improve your processes and operations;
  • Providing resourcing support and working as a team virtually, something we have been doing for many years, not just since the world changed as a result of COVID – 19; and
  • Regular check in points so you can trial different arrangements as your needs change.

For our HiveGC+ clients, no arrangement is identical, but each provides them with the flexibility to meet their legal needs as and when required without concerns about what happens when an individual leaves them, or how much it will cost them long term.  Internally, we love it.  We love having the chance to really get to know a business without concern about how much time we’re spending doing it, and working hand in hand with commercial and in house teams.

Nothing is permanent, and this has never been more true than now.  If you do find yourself at this pain-point, know that options are available to you, but they may be outside of the traditional solutions.  Trying an innovative flexible approach now will put you in good stead to get through the upcoming months, and who knows, it may just be an ideal permanent solution.

There is no doubt this is a challenging time both for individuals and businesses.  If you would like to discuss how we can help with your flexibility, feel free to contact us at [email protected].