Freelance specialist lawyers could increasingly be deployed to work for in-house clients and boost internal workforces, according to the latest law firm to announce a new contract lawyer offering.

Corporate firm Addleshaw Goddard’s AG Integrate will place self-employed lawyers within its clients’ businesses for a ‘defined’ period of time, such as maternity or paternity cover. Lawyers could also be deployed internally to supplement the firm’s workforce during busy transaction periods.

Greg Bott (pictured), head of Addleshaw Goddard’s client development centre, said the profession was currently going through some ‘growing pains’.

‘The make up and composition of resource that we have in the legal sector is slightly shifting,’ Bott said. ‘People are looking at partnership, billable hours targets and different ways of continuing to do what they love, which is legal work, but without the pressure.’

In-house clients, he added, were under pressure from chief executives to provide more from shrinking budgets. ‘Rather than carrying large overheads within their team, they’re thinking about how to access contract lawyers,’ Bott said.

Addleshaw Goddard’s new service marks a potential trend in the way firms develop and maintain links with their client without affecting their own manpower.

National firm Lewis Silkin established a service two years ago to provide employment lawyers to clients’ in-house teams. The firm has since extended this service to its media, brand and technology team.

Partner Russell Brimelow said the firm received so many requests for secondments, ‘we set up a team of people who just wanted to do that type of work’.