Julia Hulme, Managing Director, Omnia Strategy LLP

With us...the client can pick up the phone and speak to just one person, who understands all of the different work streams, and from who they can be confident they will receive a consistent message.

ABS Omnia Strategy LLP is a multidisciplinary practice that advises governments, multinational companies and high-profile individuals in a wide variety of areas including international public law, negotiation and dispute resolution, market entry and strategic communications including reputation management. Its management team includes lawyers along with experts in business, diplomacy, and communications.

Omnia is not a conventional law firm and we do not fit within the traditional law firm model. Instead, we are a hybrid organization, combining multi-disciplinary skills beyond pure legal expertise, such as commercial understanding, government relations and diplomacy, policy, strategy, and communications.

The firm has four pillars or core areas of practice: (i) international dispute resolution, which means finding strategic solutions and, where possible, preferring negotiation to litigation, although we are always prepared to represent clients in court or at arbitration if  it is in their best interests, (ii) international public law, effectively an umbrella for our focus on business and human rights, legislative reform and capacity building, (iii) outsourced general counsel, this generally involves helping companies as they expand with the challenges they face including market entry, and (iv) international strategic communications and reputation management.

Because we do not conform to the standard expectations of a UK legal practice, it is difficult for us to pinpoint our competitors — we need to point to a large variety of firms and companies, because we mix different qualities that typically are not mixed.

The firm was born from a recognition of the gap between what law firms can provide and what clients want. Clients often just want help solving a problem by their trusted advisor. Their problems are not just legal — they concern the company or the individual as a whole. This is why we wanted to become an ABS — to permit us to deliver to our clients a holistic approach with our advice. The flexibility to offer clients comprehensive advice and not just legal advice — that is what the ABS structure permits us to do.

The ABS structure definitely gives us an advantage as compared to a typical law firm because we can assemble the entire team that the client needs. Take high-profile litigation for example: Normally, a client needs to hire a law firm for the litigation itself, a government relations firm for government advocacy, a communications firm for reputational and communications issues, and a strategy firm to help with how to move forward. With us, it’s a one-stop shop. The client can pick up the phone and speak to just one person, who understands all of the different work streams, and from who they can be confident they will receive a consistent message.

Clients are expecting a lot more from their lawyers today — they want better solutions to their issues at more reasonable rates. This requires more agile structures. The ABS structure offers flexibility and the ability to have a modern approach to providing legal services. I don’t think that anyone should be afraid of it.

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