Introducing Acuity Counsel Service
Key Contact: Rachelle Sellek
We have reached out to Rachelle Sellek, Head of Acuity Counsel Service to learn more about Acuity Counsel Service and it’s offering.
What is Acuity Counsel Service?
Acuity Counsel Service is an outsourced legal service providing day-to-day commercial legal support, to businesses with or without an inhouse legal team.
Acuity Counsel Service provides businesses with access to expert lawyers across 17 practice areas including commercial and corporate support, real estate or employment advise at costs controlled on a flexible-fee basis and tailored to the business’s needs. Acuity Counsel Service Clients have a dedicated lead lawyer who coordinates all legal requirements and a team of specialists who will understand the business.
How did Acuity Counsel Service come about?
Our Acuity Counsel Service has evolved into its current guise over the last few years. Originally it was borne out of the needs of a particular client who wanted to engage us on a retainer. We then realised that we had the makings of something bigger that would likely be of appeal to a number of other clients. We now have over 50 clients who are regular users of the service and it accounts for a significant portion of our annual turnover.
How does Acuity Counsel Service operate?
Acuity Counsel Service is aimed at those clients who have a regular demand for legal services. Often those clients have an in-house legal resource and we work as an extension of that team but often that isn’t the case and we offer those clients their own in-house service supporting their business in a cost-efficient way.
Acuity Counsel Service provides two flexible solutions to help manage legal requirements – ACS Advisory and ACS Flex.
ACS Advisory works on a subscription model. Clients who commit to a minimum of 5 hours per month get a single blended hourly rate and access to the whole team of Acuity lawyers giving them flexibility to meet their needs for legal advice and services. This gives clients the means to better manage their legal spend on an open and transparent basis without compromising on the quality or responsiveness of the service they receive. It also helps to reduce their admin as one engagement covers the whole retainer meaning we don’t have to fill their inboxes every time they want us to review a contract or draft a HR policy. Crucially, there is no long-term tie-in and if a client decides the service isn’t working for them they can leave on a month’s notice.
ACS Advisory covers day to day legal advice. Typically, this means employment law and HR advice, commercial contracts and routine litigation such as debt collection. However, just about every lawyer in Acuity can get involved in advising our clients regardless of their practice area and specialism.
Acuity’s core philosophy of getting to understand its clients and their businesses extends into our service and wherever possible we will try to ensure there is continuity with the individual lawyers who work for a client.
ACS Flex is a recent addition to the Acuity Counsel Service offering. Again, it was driven by client demand with the aim to give clients the flexibility to manage their legal projects and resource them efficiently. Sometimes it is a senior lawyer to manage a specific project, other times it can be a way of covering a gap in the client’s team e.g. a lawyer on maternity leave. Flexibility is the watch word with full-time, part-time, fixed term and/or open-ended engagements, senior or junior lawyers, project managers and paralegals and a range of flexible fees to suit. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach, everything is tailored and bespoke to meet the clients’ needs.
Who is Acuity Counsel Service aimed at?
There isn’t a typical client. We have public sector clients, private sector clients, publicly listed company clients, private company clients and small start ups. They all have a need for regular routine legal advice on the day to day issues that businesses face. If we had to pick our most characteristic ACS client it would be the mid-market trading company with 50+ employees and turnover in excess of £50M. However, no business is too large or too small.
Are there any added benefits?
We had been planning to launch a client portal for some time. Sometimes serendipity comes into play and earlier this year we got in touch with a developer who understood exactly what we wanted to do. Just after that we all went into lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic which gave us a little bit of extra time to work on the portal and ensure that we got it exactly right. Now every Acuity Counsel Service client has access to a secure online portal giving them all the information about their key contacts and financial information in one place as well as access to a knowledge bank of precedent documents and guidance notes. Flexibility applies here too as the portal documents can be individually tailored to clients giving them access to their documents in the way that they want to use the portal.
Acuity Counsel Service clients can also access other products and services from Acuity Law using their committed hours to offset the cost. These include the Acuity DataGuardTM GDPR audit tool to assist with data protection compliance and our Acuity Academy legal compliance and business training platform.
What are your future plans for Acuity Counsel Service?
We have an ongoing plan to continually improve the service. That covers everything from adding more precedents and guidance notes to the portal, more lawyers with new specialisms and access to more Acuity Law products and services. For example, we have just added our employment team’s employee calculator to the portal so it will be free of charge to our ACS clients. The calculator allows employers to calculate the cost of redundancies and restructurings – something that is likely to be invaluable in the coming months.
Also, as we move out of lockdown and into some semblance of the new normality there will be a return to business life. Inevitably there will be pressure on costs for many businesses which will need to manage their legal spend ever more tightly. We believe our Acuity Counsel Service solutions are perfectly positioned to support legal departments and finance directors in meeting the demand for legal services in a flexible and cost-effective way.
How should anyone interested in Acuity Counsel Service get in contact?
We have recently developed a designated Acuity Counsel Service website which provides a host of information on Acuity Counsel Service offerings and how it might work for businesses. To get in direct contact with a member of the Acuity Counsel Service team, you can call our dedicated central number or email using the details below.