Management-side employment firm Littler Mendelson has launched an online app that gives clients real-time answers to employment-related questions.
The platform, called Littler onDemand, is staffed by a team of “onDemand counsel” who are on call to answer common workplace questions. The firm currently has two of these lawyers, but is hiring more. They’ll work with other Littler attorneys with more subject matter expertise when more complex questions arise.
The app is also intended to provide an alternate career path with greater work-life balance for Littler lawyers, according to the firm. OnDemand counsel are full-time employees who do their work in shifts, working remotely from a home office. The role is outside of the traditional law firm structure.
“It is really a unique position,” said shareholder Scott Forman, founder of Littler onDemand. “They’re compensated at what is comparable to an in-house position. As we grow, there will eventually be supervisory positions that get created, similar to what happens in an in-house legal department.”
The Littler onDemand app stores clients’ previous questions, so they can get immediate answers if a query has come up before. It also tracks frequently occurring problems, providing clients with analytics to identify trends and manage risk in their organizations.
The goal is to allow legal and HR teams to see where they need the most legal help, so they can direct resources to those areas.
“By creating a knowledge bank of the client’s previous requests, Littler onDemand provides efficiencies and consistency for the client, and reduces time spent answering duplicative inquiries,” shareholder Kim Yates, who directs the onDemand program, said in a statement. “The ability to access historic queries also creates institutional knowledge that clients can access 24/7 and draw on to make more informed business decisions.”
The on-demand query portion of the app is available from 8:00am to 8:00pm, “coast to coast,” according to Forman.
A Littler-led survey published this week found that the majority of general counsel and in-house attorneys expect their legal services providers to offer new technology and tools to increase efficiency.
“This is consistent with that market demand,” said Forman. “We’re meeting the objectives of efficiency, consistency, and overall risk management.”
Employment law has become a fertile ground for firms looking to experiment with technology and staffing.
Earlier this week, for instance, Epstein Becker Green announced that its employment lawyers would team up with Big Four accountancy Deloitte to provide joint workforce-related services to clients.
(Added quotes from Scott Forman and new information throughout. )
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