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Fresh from scooping the title of Alternative Service Provider of the Year at the recently held African Legal Awards, Vanessa Kingsmill and Naseem Ameer-Mia of Herbert Smith Freehills chatted to Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson about their recipe for success.

As a fully integrated and integral part of global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, Alternative Legal Service (ALT) is a combination of cutting edge technology and legal expertise that provides clients with innovative market-leading solutions in respect of high-volume, document-intensive legal work.

“People often ask why it’s called ‘Alternative’,” said Kingsmill who is Head of Alternative Legal Services, Johannesburg. “I think it’s a bit of a misnomer. We don’t view our work as an alternative to traditional legal advice. We are never going to replace traditional lawyers; clients will still need that specialist lawyer who brings real expertise, but we like to think of ourselves as additive. We are an essential and valuable part of the whole package that we offer to clients,” she clarified.

Elaborating further on how ALT works in practice, Ameer-Mia, a Senior Manager in Johannesburg’s Alternative Legal Services practice, explained how this benefits the firm and ultimately the clients.

“As a leading global law firm, we have the capability and expertise to introduce specific process design, resourcing and tool deployment techniques to make sure that we take the administrative and delivery burden off the in-house teams on a day-to-day basis.

In effect, we give them back time and control, and handle their recurring mandates at an extremely effective price. And, with the full end-to-end service that Herbert Smith Freehills provides, there’s always easy access to the firm’s wider specialist teams should the client need this,” said Ameer-Mia.

Asked about some of the firm’s milestones, Kingsmill shared that they have grown tremendously since 2011 and now have nearly 400 lawyers, technologists and legal analysts working together across the globe. The firm has hubs in the UK, US, Australia, China and South Africa.

“Another milestone in our development was the launch of our global cloud-based technology platform about six months ago. That enables us to work around the clock in a ‘follow the sun’ working model, which means we can pass work around the globe to deliver faster for our clients,” she said.

In the podcast, Kingsmill talks about why she is proud of the firm’s employee value proposition, and the International Legal Development Programme. Ameer-Mia shares his career growth and trajectory perspective, and explains how it’s possible to influence your next role at Herbert Smith Freehills.

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This article was first published by Africa Legal on 29 September 2021:

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Vanessa Kingsmill photo

Vanessa Kingsmill

Head of Alternative Legal Services, Johannesburg, London

Vanessa Kingsmill