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Interview with Kirin Kalsi, Head of Legal, E.ON UK and Jonathon Fortnam, Partner, Pinsent Masons

How has the new arrangement with E.ON been working out?

KIRIN: “When we were entered into the arrangement with Pinsent, we were very much looking for a strategic partnership.  We initially had been using up to 40 law firms and really wanted to find somebody we could work with who would share our objectives and help us to achieve them and one year on, I would say we have got a really open and honest relationship.  I feel I can share a lot of the challenges we have within the business and also external challenges with Pinsents.  For example, we recently had a challenge on resourcing.  We had the CMA investigation and I needed some extra resource to back up my team and it was just great to be able to share that really openly with Jonathan and for Pinsents to then come up with a solution that worked from both of our perspectives.”

JONATHON: And from our perspective you know we were looking for great work and the continuity of work that meant that we could use that as a vehicle to achieve efficiencies, new ways of working for the benefit of our business in the short term, but perhaps more interestingly for reshaping the way in which law firms and internal teams work together to better support the business that we are both effectively a part of.

Have there been any unexpected benefits/pitfalls of the arrangement?

KIRIN: When we started off in the relationship, we were really concerned about conflicts.  We were really concerned about moving from 40 firms just to one, are we going to get that breath of expertise, that specialism that we need and one year on, I have to say there has not been one circumstance where we have not been able to work together to sort out any conflict, to find the right specialism within Pinsents and therefore from our perspective, that was quite unexpected because those were the two areas where we thought we are going to have real problems with this.

JONATHON: It is easy to under-estimate just how innovative this relationship is and the fact that we are changing the way that we work, we are changing the way that we get paid for our work and the way that we pay for our work, we are changing the way that the business engages with us, well of course as I say that I realise just how it is fundamental.

I think also that as we look to the future, we can be creative about the role technology plays.  I think that we are starting to bring smart delivery in to the offering that the combined team has for the business which is a big step forward for us that E.ON were the first client that we do that with as opposed to having it as a back office function for our business to deliver into our clients so I think that is going to be something that we will see in the next 12 months and I think there is a thing there; you know technology and lawyers don’t always go together very well but there is a chance here with E.ON to work and see how that can bring some more benefits and more improvements.­­

KIRIN: Yeah, which goes back to the whole efficiency and, on both sides, everybody working in an efficient manner and I think using technology for that is absolutely the right way to go and just working smarter and being able to deliver the work at the right quality but in a way that works for both sides really.


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