Thursday, 25 June 2009

A new age Dawns

I learned yesterday that Dawn Osborne, a partner for 9 years with top international IP outfit Rouse, has made a major career change and gone in with Palmer Biggs Legal, a small IP boutique not far from Gatwick airport in the leafy surrounds of rural Surrey.

Dawn has extensive IP experience which covers litigation, mediation and general advice in IP-busy sectors such as fashion, luxury goods, jewellery, retail and travel. She is also a person who is known for her enthusiasm, involvement and commitment. A Big Name, she lectures, publishes and projects herself with the confidence of a seasoned and leading practitioner of her art. So why take this monumental step at a time when markets are uncertain (as are clients' budgets for legal advice) and the advice most City solicitors are following is one of "sit tight"?

Perhaps the answer lies in the flexibility of the new technologies and the price-competitiveness that can result from ditching City overheads. Most traditional large law firms are based on economies of scale: library resources, secretarial and logistical back-up, security, catering, heating and lighting, insurance -- put a lot of people under the same roof and divide the cost between them and the per-unit cost looks good. But who needs their own library these days? And in the era of broadband, BlackBerries (and their competitors), Skype, search engines and the like, the economies achieved by scale are looking like last century's calculations.

Good luck, Dawn -- a lot of people will be watching you and wondering whether they should be doing the same thing ...

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