Commercial firms in civil law jurisdictions will face increased competition from ‘lawyers on demand’ services following a pioneering move by a German-based provider.

Xenion Legal today claims a first by establishing a ‘legal innovation centre’ in Frankfurt, headed by Filip Corveleyn (pictured), formerly with Allen & Overy, Brussels. It is an extension of Xenion’s ‘lawyers on demand’ business, adding what chief executive Carsten Reimann said was ‘research and know-how’.

Under the trademark Tools4Lawyers, Corveleyn’s team is targeting in-house clients, using products developed in collaboration with in-house legal departments. To date European civil law jurisdictions have largely been spared competition from England and Wales-style alternative legal business structures.

Richard Tromans, strategy and marketing consultant at consultancy Jomati, said law firms should take note of the announcement. ‘These versatile “lawyer on demand” services are growing in popularity among general counsel and are beginning to create some real competition. This is another interesting such development,’ he said.

Tromans pointed to the inroads that Axiom, which now has 600 lawyers in its network, has made in the UK and US.