Law firm RPC launches internal management consultancy business

24 May 2016 3 min. read
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Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, a London based law firm, has launched a new in-house and internally focused management consultancy, whose aim is, among others, to support senior in-house lawyers improve their operational efficiency and personal effectiveness. The new consultancy is led by industry veteran, Julia Chain.

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) is a law firm that was founded in London in 1898. The firm has four offices, and a team of 81 partners and 334 lawyers. The firm is well known for its strength in insurance related litigation, although it has a broad offering across, among others, commercial litigation, construction, engineering and projects, M&A, IP and technology, regulatory, tax and competition.

In a bid to support senior in-house lawyers improve their operational effectiveness and personal development, the law firm has launched a new internal management consultancy practice. The practice, internally known as ‘RPC Perform’, will provide three core services: strategic and operational efficiency; managing relationships with external law firms; and soft skills, including team, personal and leadership development. The consultancy will be based in RPC’s London office.

RPC launches internal management consultancy business

The internal consulting unit will be led by Julia Chain, who brings more than 35 years of experience to the role. Besides her role for Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, Chain works as an executive consultant for JSC & Associates, a boutique executive search firm, providing strategic and operational advice to corporate law departments and law firms as well as executive mentoring programmes. Previous roles include Managing Director at Huron Legal, General Counsel at T-Mobile UK, and Managing Partner at Andersen Legal. She holds a Master's degree in Law from Girton College Cambridge.

With the move, RPC aims at raising the maturity of its operating model and services to clients, explains RPC Managing Partner Jonathan Watmough: “We spend a lot of time talking to GCs and other buyers of legal services to help build our understanding of the issues they face day to day. What’s clear is that, in an increasingly regulated and complex global risk environment, the role of the GC has changed immeasurably, with in-house lawyers these days needing to perform at a much higher level and across a significantly broader business landscape than before.”

Chain remarks about the new venture that it differentiates itself through being separate from the law firm, operating on multi-disciplinary projects independently. She adds: “We practice what we preach – I always rally against hourly fees and am for a fixed or capped fee. The role of GC is currently so diverse – the real challenge is the role - which is a hotchpotch to date - is beginning to coalesce into something that manages enterprise risk, guiding the c-suite through choppy waters and really focusing on the strategic issues facing the business. GCs are now saying we need teams that can cope with the new responsibilities and add real value.” Chain’s new team includes Andrew Dey, the former Head of Legal Operations at Barclays, and Pranav Chopra and Jonathan Middleburgh, both previously at Huron.

RPC’s consulting ventures
This is the second management consultancy business launched by RPC in as many years. Last year the firm set up a management consultancy aimed at supporting core insurance sector clients. The venture is led by Rory O'Brien, he joined the firm from Willis Towers Watson, where he was Global Managing Director of its Risk Consulting & Software practice, for three years from 2011. According to reports, the venture has performed well in the intervening year.