Each participant on the Cambridge Executive MBA (EMBA) programme has a unique set of reasons for joining the programme. But for legal professionals Felix Rackwitz and Filip Corveleyn, the motivations were strikingly similar.
Filip Corveleyn on why he decided to do an EMBA
Our decision to join a start-up
After completing the programme, both Filip and Felix returned to traditional law firms, but were unable to effect the changes they believed necessary. "We took the ideas away from the EMBA, trying to implement them in our current business lives," says Filip. "But we soon found out that was not going to happen. It was clear that change couldn't come from the existing players in the market."
"In the two years that we participated in the EMBA, we collected a lot of ideas, research and data on what was happening in the legal market. One of the surprises we had was that we saw innovations happening in the UK and US, but nothing happening in the continental legal market. We started to wonder why that was, and both wrote our Individual Projects on the law-firm service delivery model."
Filip Corveleyn on innovation in the legal profession
Xenion Legal offered the chance to develop their ideas, and in 2012 Felix and Filip joined the company as Chief Operating Officer and Head of Research and Development respectively. Founded in Germany by Dr Carsten Reimann, a former director of Nissan's Brussels office, it provides businesses with access to a network of top attorneys and corporate counsel, controlled by a central management hub. Xenion provides "people solutions" for companies that need to enlist legal expertise on an ad-hoc or more permanent basis.
Filip Corveleyn on how he came to join Xenion
A new business model
"There's an inherent contradiction between the usual business model of a law firm and the market demand today," explains Felix. "You are asking a law firm to be more efficient in delivering their services. But because efficiency means doing things in less time, that means fewer billable hours. So what the market is asking law firms to do is something they can't deliver upon, because of their business model."
Their new paradigm for business is finding favour with major multinational clients. A deal with a global clothing manufacturer, led to a two-month trial of delivering legal services and process automation.
Filip Corveleyn on the new business model
At the end of 2014, Felix and Filip decided to found their own company, Tools4Legal GmbH, now TPR Legal, taking with them the multinational client contracts they had won while working for Xenion. After a successful test project in 2014, the company was awarded a full outsourcing deal for three years, encompassing operations in 19 countries in 2015, further securing another two multinational clients for the disruptive legal solution.
To add to their management team they recruited Munich-based lawyer Andreas Panzer, a specialist in regulatory and tax matters who will act as Legal Counsel. Additionally they are about to appoint an operation director and contract management specialist.