A&O expands consulting arm and launches client news service

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Allen & Overy (A&O) is ramping up its alternative client offering with the use of a new tool developed in its tech incubation programme Fuse, as well as expanding its consultancy business in Australia.

The new product, Vable Connect, provides a web-based platform that enables clients to receive research and news on relevant matters via their lawyers.

Information provider Vable was part of A&O's first Fuse tech programme intake in 2017 and worked with the firm to create a product that collates online news and information for lawyers to send to clients. It was founded in 2004 by former Manches lawyer Matthew Dickinson.

A&O global head of research and library services Sarah Fahy said that clients want "the right information coming to them in the right quantity", but often "don’t have the staff and skills in-house to do their own research on an ongoing basis”.

Dickinson added that A&O has been the “driving force” behind the new product and that the new platform has the potential to turn firms' library teams, traditionally seen as a cost centre within a business, into a ‘value-add’ service.

A&O also announced today (15 February) that it is expanding its regulatory consulting business, which launched in London last year, in Australia.

The magic circle firm has hired Commonwealth Bank of Australia's general manager of global regulatory affairs Lee Alam to lead the offering in the country. He was formerly managing director of JP Morgan Australia and joins A&O as a partner.

Fellow former JP Morgan colleague Sally Dewar joined A&O in September 2018 to lead the strategy group, which works with financial institutions.

The business is run as a separate limited liability partnership that is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Dewar said in a statement: “A&O Consulting complements the firm’s existing legal services and broadens the firm’s role in managing clients’ regulatory risk and supporting control enhancement and remediation projects. We are excited to have someone of Lee’s calibre join the team.”