External consultants with non-legal expertise are no longer sufficient: more professionals are hired to assist lawyers with M&A, generational transitions, and sustainability plans.
– Written by Massimiliano Carbonaro
Provide increasingly specialized advice to customers, bridge the technical gap that may exist in many cases between legal studies and business studies, and also learn to speak a common language with the client. Often, the skills of sole lawyers are insufficient, so in law firms, the inputs of technical professionals that support the Legal. No longer as external consultants assigned to the project but as a part of the study’s structure.
The pursuit of sustainability
Because the contamination process has been ongoing for some time, the studies are being strengthened by focusing on new professionals who are not solely lawyers. For a growing phenomenon, the cases are numerous, and the sectors are diverse. For example, in light of the apparent importance of ESG criteria (environmental, social, and governance) for businesses, it has decided to expand its collaboration with explorer and environmental activist Alex Bellini. In conjunction with this step, the study has recently established a practice dedicated to this area to provide consulting services integrated with Bellini which will deal with training and corporate information among customers to spread best practices and create the appropriate reception to the company’s ESG model.
The Turin firm BGR Tax & Legal was on the same wavelength and hired Giuseppe Cais, an engineer with management experience and a master’s degree in these topics, to build a department dedicated to these issues. “The study – explains Cais – offers companies an accompaniment to sustainability with a multidisciplinary activity. We need a figure of synthesis in this area capable of bringing together the various skills and not only legal elements”.
The food requirements
Legis Lab follows a similar path, bolstering a legal food practice by adding two expert food technologists to the team of lawyers. “We are interested in being on the market in very sectorial industries,” says lawyer Alberto Porzio, founding partner of Legis Lab. In addition to legal knowledge, alternative, and technical knowledge are essential. We have integrated the two food technologists we hired into the legal team. In my opinion, we will increasingly require new professionalism, regardless of individual sectors, for reasons of study development».
The process of blending within the studies is not limited to technical-scientific professionalism. They also involve individuals who appear to be unrelated to legal activity. This is the case with Nexta, a Sta with a strong practice dedicated to family businesses. Nexta’s president, Giulio Cerioli, explains that their approach has always been multidisciplinary, but they added an occupational psychologist after a suggestion came up casually during a conference. “We were born with the need to be multidisciplinary,” says Cerioli, addressing a target market of businesses with a strong family connotation. The occupational psychologist proved to be immediately helpful with companies going through generational transitions and reorganization, representing difficult situations in which we must consider the human factor».
Similarly, intending to anticipate market demands, the Bacciardi business law firm has introduced professionalism consistent with the type of clients followed. As a result, in the field of outstanding finance, they have included an M&A advisor, a business consultant who scouts for an operation that carries out the economic-financial and commercial aspects. Since the firm assists companies specializing in the movement of goods, it is in the Tax area. The tax law has been joined by a customs broker, a technical figure (not legal) expert in both procedural and administrative matters. Even in this sector, great multidisciplinary expertise is required. Above all, an expert from the world of human resources has arrived on the family business front. «Our customers face the generational transition in various ways, explains Lorenzo Bacciardi, managing partner of the firm, and professionalism like this helps when clients want to empower managerial or generational resources. As a result, we investigate the career paths of younger recruits, who then continue with a tax or legal requirements».
Those who have started along these “contamination” roads believe that structured firms will become more and more interested due to the market’s demand for the integration of diverse professions that come into close, even bodily, contact with lawyers’ offices or desks.