VQ Forum speaker Archana Makol on The art of war in legal

The Legal Review Life in Law recently interviewed Archana Makol, Chief Counsel BT Legal and Director BT Law Ltd, on how to innovate the in-house legal team. The art of war: how BT Law's brand defenders approach PI litigation »

Archana Makol Life in Law interview

The introduction of the Legal Services Act 2007 in the UK has brought opportunities for new business models to enter the legal services market. One such change is the ability for the in-house company legal team to offer services to businesses other than its employer company. BT Law Ltd, wholly owned by BT plc, the telecommunications company, is one such business.

In the interview, Archana explains what she hopes to achieve with BT Law and the advantages high-profile clients such as EDF Energy, Network Rail and XL Insurance have gained by choosing BT Law over traditional providers. With a background as a private practitioner and head of BT's Liability Claims team for 17 years, she describes the difference in philosophy between corporate and private practice legal teams and why BT decided to externalize the business by setting up an alternative business structure.

"When you are in-house you are motivated by different things compared to private practice. Your job is to protect the business and the business reputation. As an in-house team you are always forced to be innovative because you got limited tools. Your stakeholders still want the very best service, but you don't have teams of lawyers to back the case. Thus, it is important to focus on efficiency and performance. Compared to other service providers, we have a focus on all parts of the process, as well as always having the business reputation in mind and being aware of future risks. You are not borne out of purely making profit, you are borne out of what is the best thing to do with this case. That is what we wanted to lift and try to externalize. Since we are now licensed as an ABS, we can offer to our clients the same end to end legal solutions, across a range of different legal and claims disciplines that we provide in-house to BT plc."

This approach is in line with a recent Legal Futures report "Innovation Nation" with a focus on SME practitioners who are in a majority amongst those receiving ABS licenses. Arguments for becoming an ABS are that it enables law firms to invest more and enables the law firms to operate as a "proper company" with stronger management involvement from non-lawyers who can invest in the company. Find out more about this report here: The transformation of legal work »

It is important not to see the increased use of technology as the end of lawyers but as a transformation of legal work. Most importantly, lawyers need to understand their role, strength and their expertise in the new more modernized legal world. In the Life in Law interview, Archana Makol points to the exciting time for new lawyers if you are enthusiastic and innovative. The legal market is no longer the traditional world it used to be, today focus is on both legal and commercial aspects, with new tools to be innovative.


Archana Makol is a confirmed speaker for the upcoming VQ Forum in Stockholm on 21 October, where she will share her experience from the ABS project team and why to innovate the in-house legal team and how to do it. Save the date 21 October 2015 and stay tuned for further information about this year's program within short: VQ Forum 2015 »


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