Virtual Counsel


At Bird & Bird, we believe in coming up with creative legal solutions to meet the challenges faced by our clients. That's why we developed Virtual Counsel. It's a service that gives you access to over 1200 lawyers in our 28 offices around the world at a price that is similar to employing an in-house legal department, in either Europe or Asia.

We understand the attraction of the steady monthly cost of an in-house legal department. So if you're a mid-sized business headquartered outside of EMEA, and you have a small in-house team based in Europe, but you'd like the flexibility to use more specialists, you would benefit from using Virtual Counsel.

For a similar cost to your in-house department, we provide you with multi-disciplinary team - many of whom are absolute specialists - and a more flexible service. Other benefits include no sickness, no compulsory education, and no holiday entitlement – the service is literally 365 days a year.

We understand that no two clients are the same. That's why we talk to you about your legal requirements before working out the fee structure.

Once we're working with you, your virtual counsel will find the right specialists to complete the work, have regular meetings with you to maintain the quality of the work, and to make sure that we have a good view of what is coming up on the horizon.

So wherever you are in the world, we want to be your most trusted guide in a changing environment.

Do you face these challenges?

Companies doing business internationally and their legal teams face a range of challenges, including:
  • Dealing with a myriad of EU and national laws and regulations
  • Small or no in-house legal team in the countries they do business in
  • Coordinating advice from experienced lawyers across many different jurisdictions and time zones
  • Keeping abreast of key legal and regulatory developments that will affect their business
  • Budgeting and managing spend for legal needs around the world
  • Dozens of different languages and currencies

This complexity and lack of uniformity make it anything but easy for companies and their legal teams to navigate the myriad of legal and administrative environments across the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions.

Could you benefit from a Virtual Counsel?

Bird & Bird’s Virtual Counsel provides an innovative solution to companies for handling their day-to-day corporate, commercial or employment legal work.

It is designed with the needs of international companies in mind who have few or no legal staff of their own in EMEA or Asia-Pacific, to provide them with the benefits of an in-house counsel service backed by the expertise and broad geographical reach of a well-known international law firm, without the high hourly bills and time-consuming coordination normally associated with external counsel.

Our Virtual Counsel service won the top award in Client Service at the 2014 European FT Innovative Lawyers awards.

What do you get with a Bird & Bird Virtual Counsel?

  • A single point of contact at Bird & Bird, eliminating the need for you to coordinate with different people and firms in different countries
  • Access to over 1200 lawyers offering a full range of expert yet pragmatic advice in line with your company’s specific needs, where and when you need it, working in a top firm widely recognised for its deep industry knowledge and commercial approach
  • Regular communication and reporting in line with how you like to work
  • The coverage you need, at a predictable and manageable cost

How does it work?

  • We discuss your needs and agree a fixed monthly fee based on the nature and level of support required
  • We agree on regular monitoring, reviews, and safeguards for both you and us to ensure there is no over or under resourcing
  • You benefit from lower real cost and no overheads compared to employing your own lawyers in the relevant countries
  • You benefit from competitive rates for work that falls outside the scope of the VGC arrangement
  • We understand the need to be commercially attractive!

Get in touch

For full service legal advice please contact us:

Howard Rubin
+44 (0)20 7415 6000

Or email

You can also follow us on Twitter at @twobirdstech

Winner of the FT's Most Innovative Lawyers 2014

In October 2014 Bird & Bird was named most innovative law firm for client service by the Financial Times. The award related to the VGC service put in place for UK headquartered computer games company Codemasters. The FT wrote:

"Howard Rubin masterminded a new service, the Virtual General Counsel, which enabled the games company to hire a “virtual” legal department, in effect accessing Bird & Bird’s 1,200 lawyers worldwide for a monthly fee.

Bird & Bird’s virtual legal counsel is an example of a service that could only be created in the digital age. Instead of relying on overworked in-house solicitors dealing with an array of legal issues, Codemasters was able to access Bird & Bird’s lawyers, who between them have expertise in finance, real estate and intellectual property. 

The law firm set up a video link, phone line and email box, with software allowing each task to be picked up by the right person. 

The company saw a 40 per cent reduction in its legal spend as a result. “I could see all the problems you had as an in-house lawyer,” says Mr Rubin. “I had known Codemasters for a long time. Its legal bill with externals went up and up. I suggested there was another way.”

This extract has been published with permission of the FT and the article can be viewed in full here.