Why choose Argumentum?
Assembling and managing a full time in-house legal team with a wide array of knowledge and capabilities across various areas of the law is expensive, inflexible and complicated.
Many organisations have had dreadful experiences finding the right corporate counsel. The experience and qualities are scoped to find the ultimate super being with an unrealistic array of expertise and experience required to work at the pace of business in the business.
This, combined with a general lack of efficient backup support from a team of legal professionals to supplement the in-house lawyers constraints and capable paraprofessionals and trained administrative staff to delegate appropriate tasks to, is often a recipe for severe misalignment with the needs of the organisation.
At the same time merely using external lawyers that work with hundreds even thousands of files beyond their capacity, pressure from the traditional partnership model to emphasise billing above the delivery of value, use archaic project management and problem solving methods, inflexible billing structures and a general incentive to work longer and bill more hours, is also a recipe for misalignment with the organisation’s needs.
Moreover, the use of an external lawyers instead of an in-house lawyer often unnecessarily has an adversarial overtone in situations where a more measured approach is required to manage certain delicate situations and relationships.
Attorneys and advocates are also prohibited from practicing together under one roof if the entity is incorporated as a law firm, which also often results in expensive and inefficient information handovers and ineffective divisions of labour to the detriment of the client.
The rise of a litigation avoidance culture amongst businesses, the preferences for alternative dispute resolution avenues, court rolls being backed up for years, difficulty in assessing the chances of success, bad judgements and clients getting smarter at doing ROI calculations when evaluating litigation as a solution, are all reasons why the “let’s litigate” approach is becoming less attractive for clients.
Furthermore litigation is more often than not, one of a wide array of options to solve a problem, and needs to fit into an holistically considered, aligned and project managed problem solving plan.
The ultimate effect of having not having a flexible well trained and dynamic in-house legal team on demand, and that of being wary to engage external lawyers operating within the constraints of a law firm, is that the boards of directors, executives and other high ranking decision makers within organisations are regularly left with great degrees of uncertainty regarding their options, risks and executional strategy during important, complex and unique decisions, transactions, disputes and situations. This uncertainty is a stumbling block to building great organisations.
It is for these reasons that Argumentum have established the Corporate legal counsel on demand service to provide the boards of directors, executives and high ranking decision makers within organisations, a flexible way to navigate through these mazes of important , complex and unique problems, with confidence and without having to permanently host an entire in-house legal team (supported by paraprofessionals and admin staff), or have to unnecessarily appoint external lawyers operating within the constraints of a law firm.
Our mission is simple: Enabling people to build great organisations by efficiently and effectively reducing and removing their legal uncertainty.
Our approach to fixed fee and project based billing, problem solving, project management, and our focus on providing practical legal advice and services, as if we were advising and serving our own company, make us an ideal choice as a legal services partner.
Areas of law
- Companies law
- Trust law
- Contract law
- Insolvency law
- Industrial law (labour)
- Construction and property law
- Financial services law
- Insurance law
- National, provincial and local government law
- Parliamentary law.
- Law relating to State Owned Corporations.
- Environmental law.
- Administrative and constitutional law
- Public Finance Management Law.
- Procurement law
- Civil and criminal procedure.
- Consumer law
- Mining and Energy law
- Media law, Information law
- Intellectual properties law
- Mining, Energy, Oil & Gas
- Health care
- Software development
- Health care
- Public administration
The evolution of Argumentum as an alternative legal service provider
Founding Director of Argumentum, Advocate Ivan Herselman, during his tenure working as the director of legal affairs at the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, was compelled to find innovative ways to solve important, complex and unique legal problems with tight budgets and smaller teams, almost always against much larger and better resourced opponents.
In pursuit of finding better ways to solve problems, Ivan worked together with various business and legal consultants (practicing and non-practicing) to apply and develop effective and efficient problem solving and project management methodologies in order to reduce costs and increase certainty faster.
The vision of becoming the most efficient and effective remover of legal uncertainty in Africa and the mission to enable people to build great organisations by efficiently and effectively reducing and removing their legal uncertainty, is what drives Argumentum and its problem solving teams.
Is the use of alternative legal service providers out of the ordinary?
The use of alternative legal service providers such as Argumentum, is a growing worldwide trend with many fortune 500 and thousands of other organisations choosing to engage alternative legal service providers to help solve many of their problems.
Examples of alternative legal service providers are Axiom law (more than 2000 lawyers), Lawyers on Demand, Thompson Reuters and Riverview law, making enormous inroads into the legal marketplace through innovative legal service delivery models.
Why don’t alternative legal service providers incorporate as law firms?
There are a host of reasons, but the most notable are the conflicts we wish to avoid in serving a client’s legal affairs and the other various legal prohibitions, discussed below.
The ability to use any legal practitioner from any firm or bar as and when required, without being tempted to only use those working for us.
The legislated legal prohibition preventing attorneys and advocates from working together under one roof if incorporated as a law firm and advocates from becoming partners and shareholders in a law firm.
Advocates being prevented from doing a wide array of work if not briefed through an attorney.
The legislated legal prohibitions preventing non-legal persons from becoming partners and shareholders in a law firm even if this is justified and makes sense. For instance if a Chartered Accountant with a law degree is a phenomenal problem solver and work horse, partnership can never be on the table.
What if my organisation already has an external law firm or law firms we use to provide legal services?
These law firms have a definitive place in the legal services spectrum and it is not our intention to replace them. We work with them to solve your problems and project manage the execution of these solutions on your behalf.
We do not profess to know everything about every industry and every field of law (any lawyer that does should make you very nervous), but we do trust in our broad legal knowledge, approach to problem solving, risk management and project management to guide us through a logical process to find feasible and practical solutions to your legal problems.
The boundaries between the various fields of legal expertise have become fuzzy as the world becomes increasingly complex. For instance If your mining operation comes to a grinding halt as a result of government interference, allegedly provoked by an insider, do you need a mining law expert, a forensic investigator, a labour law expert, an administrative law expert, a lego-political negotiator, a commercial law expert or a PR lawyer? or all of the above? and which one do you need for which part of the work? Disaggregating this ecosystem has become increasingly difficult and requires a different and new kind of skill set.
Professor Richard Susskind, a leading expert in the evolution of professional services, especially legal services, probably rightly holds the view that the role of the super expert will predominantly be reduced to that of a subcontractor in the future.
What if my organisation already has in-house legal counsel or an in-house legal team?
This is great, as we do not want to replace them either, but rather supplement their capacity as and when required. In situations where important, complex and unique transactions, disputes or situations arise for which your in-house legal person or team require reinforcement, we work with them to navigate through the maze and take up the role of additional in-house counsel for the period of need.
Some of the unique advantages of using Argumentum in these circumstances are:
- The flexibility to appoint Argumentum as and when required for the period over which the need exists, where after the engagement can be ended or scaled down if the client so chooses;
- It is not necessary to equip a full legal team with office space and other infrastructure;
- We train our lawyers in project management, risk management, problem solving and crisis management.
- We ensure that our lawyers have a proficient broad knowledge of various areas of the law, and are paired with the right lawyers to supplement strengths and weaknesses;
- We have legal, desktop and field researchers and administrative staff that support our lawyers;
- Our lawyers and consultants are continually improving by working on more than just your organisations problems, but we specifically ensure that they are not stretched so thin that they do not have capacity to serve your legal needs diligently;
- The Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Labour relations Act do not apply as the consultants are not employees of your business (sick leave, holidays etc.)
- We scope the services and offer billing structures on a retainer base, project cost, cost for a certain phase of a project or on an hourly billing basis;
- Institutional knowledge of the companies operations and legal affairs is distributed amongst various lawyers and consultants within Argumentum, counteracting severe losses of institutional knowledge as a result of possible staff turnover within your company or Argumentum;
- The costs of engaging law firms legal is reduced as effort is put into finding the most effective and efficient ways to solve problems and allocating the right skills to the right tasks.