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December 18 2020

2020: a big year for Flex Legal!

Flex News

Louise Anderson

Louise Anderson

2020: a big year for Flex Legal!

2020: a big year for Flex Legal!

We think it goes without saying, but it’s been quite a year for everyone! As a small business, we’ve certainly felt the ups and downs of the coronacoaster - but we’re happy to say we’ve come out of the other side stronger than ever! As we head towards the end of the year, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the positive outcomes from 2020 at Flex Legal.

We invested in our platform

The Flex Legal platform is the backbone of our company. It’s our driving force and helps us efficiently match our clients' needs to our candidates' availability and skills. What started off as sticky dots on a calendar and two mobile phones is now an award-winning lawtech platform, freshly revamped by our “tech gods”.

This year we have built and released some new features:

  • Instant availability: no more back and forth on email confirming if you’re available for a role. You can now instantly confirm your availability and provide your notice period and start date from the second you tell us “I am interested in the role”.
  • Upload your own documents and video: before Coronavirus, Flex Legal met every single paralegal and lawyer in person for the onboarding interview and to check their right to work documentation. When lockdown started in March - this obviously had to change! We quickly pivoted and created a new feature for paralegals and lawyers to view and upload their documentation and video remotely - making our platform more accessible than ever!
  • Candidate pools: our clients were asking us for a way they could track their best candidates simply, so we built a new feature: candidate pools. Now, our clients can simply “star” their favourite candidates in the client portal, and quickly request them again next time they need some assistance.
  • Interviews: at the beginning of the year we were tracking all of our interviews in separate spreadsheets and calendars. We’ve now integrated these into the platform and have brought this functionality into our admin portal. This means interviews can be organised and tracked in just a few clicks.
  • Compliance updates: there have been a lot of regulatory changes this year. With the end of the Brexit transition period right around the corner we had to make sure we had everything in good shape and ready for some big changes. We’ve updated our right to work checks in our application process, and done plenty of behind-the-scenes tweaks to make sure we are ready for January.

We evolved our brand and launched a new website

As many of you probably saw, Flex Legal celebrated its fourth birthday in September! We decided that a fourth birthday was the perfect time to evolve our brand and relaunch our website. We really loved our old brand, but it wasn’t doing our mission justice. We’ve got bigger and bolder ambitions and we wanted new branding that would reflect that. We relaunched our website in October with our snazzy new branding!

The new website includes:

  • Paralegal and lawyer sample profiles to show clients the calibre and diversity we have available
  • Login button for candidates to update their profile and for clients to see their dashboard
  • Integrated blog and relevant posts on each page
  • Improved SEO functionality
  • Content Management System to allow us to update the website easily
  • New contact, hire and apply form
  • Dedicated pages for lawyers and paralegals
  • Landing pages for the different areas of law and locations we cover

For a little behind-the-scenes peak just between us, the changes to our site have had a huge impact on our web traffic and analytics! So far we’ve seen:

  • +165% more search impressions on Google
  • +50% more users
  • -70% reduction in bounce rate

Not bad for the site’s first couple of months!

We have grown our team

Way back in March 2017, F-LEX employed it’s first employee. Now, in December 2020, Flex Legal employs almost 30! The team has grown considerably this year, and we’ve added some sensational new faces including:

  • Harry Mellor, Sales Associate
  • Louise Anderson, Head of the Northern Hub
  • Connor Smith, Clifford Chance Intern
  • Alla Korman, Sales Associate
  • Bill Galloway, Senior UX Designer
  • Tanya Robinson, Client Services Manager
  • James Bosson, Marketing & Community Associate
  • Michelle Corneby, Consultant - Legal Resourcing
  • Elena Pitsillides, Client Services Manager
  • Jess Rivett, Interim Head of Client Services
  • Daniel Akinbisehin, Client Services Associate

This year we flipped to remote working and learned some valuable life lessons during lockdown in the process. We also celebrated our wins, played many Zoom quizzes, Scattergories and some highly competitive weekly rounds of Among Us.

We shared more success stories

‘Human’ is not just a value to Flex Legal, it’s the absolute core of our business. We try and embody this in all possible ways that we can, so this year we challenged ourselves to put human experiences front and centre in our communications.

Client stories

We have shared some of the brilliant stories behind our work on our blog this year. From helping the 1000+ strong legal team at Vodafone, to sharing the secrets of a remote working relationship with Gunnercooke or how we helped Echo Pharmacy with law graduates, we have really loved sharing stories and testimonials from our incredible clients.

Paralegal & Lawyer stories

We are SO proud everytime one of our paralegals has a positive experience through Flex. Thank you for every single Google review, Glassdoor review, like, retweet, share and comment!

We support over 300 legal teams across the UK, from law firms, in-house teams, barrister chambers, paralegal hubs, start-ups and sole practitioners, each of them have unique needs and ways of working. Our paralegals have adapted to these roles magnificently despite the odd circumstances this year. You are all the rocket fuel on this journey and we couldn’t do it without you! Thank you all so much for your encouragement, advocacy and enthusiasm, particularly during this difficult year.

Now more than ever, it’s important that we shine a light on the hard-working legal professionals that make our platform as good as it is. We’ve been delighted to continue our Paralegal of the Month series this year, and even start a Lawyer of the Month series! The usual video was great - but we wanted to go one step further. Our new website now features our POTM / LOTM front and centre on the homepage, which we hope will raise their profile within the legal industry.

We’re really happy with how you’ve shared these human stories this year - they’re ultimately what drives our company. We’re looking to build on these successes next year and share even more stories - so watch this space for our new podcast coming out in 2021!

We have supported our community through this crisis

Our platform has gone from strength to strength since its inception four years ago, but the advent of Coronavirus certainly complicated things. As an industry, close supervision is often the norm and remote working has rarely been seen as standard practice. Overnight, we all found ourselves out of our comfort zone, away from our colleagues, supervisors and friends. However, our community has shown amazing resilience. Through technology, virtual networking and a mutual understanding of the difficulty of the situation from those at all stages of their legal careers, our community rallied and we were delighted to help in any way we could at Flex.

Shining the light on the next generation of lawyers

Supporting the next generation of lawyers is at the heart of everything we do at F-LEX. As well as supplying our paralegals with quality work placements, we want to advocate for change in the legal industry on behalf of our community of 5000+ law graduates, paralegals, trainees and graduates.

When Mary’s offer of help to our paralegal community went viral we knew we needed to help! We asked the Class of 2020 to share their stories online and we also conducted our largest ever study into the next generation’s ambitions, challenges and hopes for the future.

Personal development for junior members of the legal team

  • We held a virtual ‘How to ace assessment centres’ charity event. Law firm assessment centres are notoriously challenging, so we held this virtual event to have some industry leaders share insights on how to smash them. The event also managed to raise £1,260 for the LawCare Christmas Appeal!
  • We compiled a whole range of blog posts for junior legal professionals looking to increase their skills and knowledge! These included: How to use LinkedIn to boost your legal career, How to kick-start your legal career, How to feel comfortable talking about “difference”, and more!
  • When lockdown started in March, we quickly realised that many of our paralegals, junior lawyers and trainees were feeling isolated and struggling with the lack of supervision and on the job training. We quickly pulled together a weekly virtual event on a Wednesday and invited everyone to attend. We have since organised over 20 junior networking sessions!

Regular breakfast forum General Counsel

As well as our junior community, we have worked hard to engage with and support our in-house community too. We were very pleased to start hosting a regular round-table discussion group for in-house counsel to share their insights and experience of issues facing their businesses as a result of Coronavirus. These were hosted by our Sophie Gould, our Head of L&D, in collaboration with LexisNexis and Radius Law and covered a variety of topics - from innovation to employment law to managing relationships with outside counsel. Although these sessions started as a means to share practical, commercial tips, the group has grown into a strong and supportive network which is continuing to grow month-on-month. We are incredibly proud of this community and look forward to expanding it even more next year!

Mary has won awards

To top all of this off, our CEO and co-founder Mary Bonsor has managed to win several highly competitive awards this year - and we couldn’t be prouder to see her successes celebrated and recognised by the wider legal industry! The awards are:

Final words

And that just about covers our 2020 highlight reel! This year has been full of unexpected challenges and obstacles, but through hard work, luck, and help, we’ve come out of the other side of it ready to see what next year has in store.

We just want to wish a massive massive thank you to everyone who helped Flex Legal get where we are today! We couldn’t have done any of this without our clients, our lawyers, and most crucially our paralegals. You all helped us reach new heights in 2020 - and we can’t wait to come together and build on everything we’ve achieved in 2021.