Practice Management

Alternative legal services provider teams up with Bechtel Corp. to provide diverse legal talent

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Legal Innovators, a startup alternative legal services provider, has entered into a new partnership with the Bechtel Corp., in which it will provide the engineering and construction company with junior attorneys who will assist the company’s in-house team.

The collaboration is aimed at helping Bechtel make further progress on its diversity, equity and inclusion goals, says Bryan Parker, CEO and co-founder of Legal Innovators.

A press release is here.

According to Parker, Legal Innovators interviews and hires law school graduates with diverse personal, educational and professional backgrounds. The lawyers the startup provides to corporate legal departments and law firms are still considered Legal Innovators employees, but the entities pay a fee for their services.

Parker would not reveal what Bechtel is paying his company, which is based in Washington, D.C., but says Legal Innovators typically saves corporations 30% to 40% compared to “what they are paying for junior resources in the marketplace right now.”

Two Legal Innovators attorneys were scheduled to begin working for Bechtel’s in-house legal team this week, according to Parker. He says the substantive legal tasks they will likely handle will range from contract administration to litigation.

“Legal Innovators offers an innovative solution to address the growing challenges in the legal industry of unsustainable costs associated with junior legal talent, training and integrating that talent, and finally, ensuring that the talent reflects diversity,” Michael Bailey, Bechtel’s general counsel, said in a statement.

He added that Bechtel will gain access to the new lawyers at “cost-rational rates” and voiced optimism that the partnership “may provide an internal pipeline of lawyers that can grow into senior positions.”

Parker praises Bechtel’s leadership for its willingness to try new approaches in hopes of enhancing its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. “My hat is off to these folks using their market power to signal that you can make transformative change by looking outside the box,” Parker says.

According to Parker, Legal Innovators was launched last year with the goal of disrupting the market for junior legal talent and strengthening diversity within the profession’s ranks. To that end, minorities made up 50% of Legal Innovators’ first class, which also featured an equal number of males and females.

Parker says if the pilot program with Bechtel goes well, the collaboration could be expanded. He also voices hopes that the initiative could lead to additional partnerships in the months and years to come.

“Bechtel giving us a stamp of validation de-risks the decision for a lot of others in deciding to go forward with us,” Parker says.

Existing Legal Innovators clients include FTI Consulting, which is a global business advisory firm, as well as other large corporate legal departments and Am Law 200+ law firms, according to Parker. The company’s other co-founder is Jonathan L. Greenblatt, a former Shearman & Sterling partner who is the chairman for Legal Innovators.

The startup company’s list of law school partners includes some of the country’s highest ranked institutions, top regional schools and historically Black colleges and universities. For those lawyers it hires, Legal Innovators provides comprehensive training and mentorship.

“I’m going to bet on our people because we have a very rigorous process for bringing them in and for training them,” Parker says.

See also: “Alternative legal services providers come into their own as major players, says new report”

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