2 September 2019
When alternative legal services provider Exigent established in Cape Town in 2003, the company delivered a single service with just five staff members. Fast forward 16 years and the group offers a variety of services, employing over 500 people globally.
“It all started right here in Cape Town,” says Nicola Stott, Exigent’s global managing director based out of London.
“My business partner and I saw the opportunity down here because Cape Town was such an obvious outsourcing destination, partly because it was on the same time zone as the UK, but more importantly because of the talent pool.”
Back then most outsourcing models were using places like India and were not getting a good rap because the communication skills were difficult. “It was just hard,” says Stott.
“Cape Town was attractive not only because of the time zone, but because it gave us a talent pool that was English and didn’t have the kind of communication difficulties that other outsourcing destinations had had.”
After establishing in Cape Town, Exigent grew exponentially and today has a presence in Bangalore, Chicago, Johannesburg, Denver, Perth, Sydney, Toronto and London.
The company lives up to the tagline on its website, which states: “Exigent is transforming the way you do legal”.
The bouquet of services include, among others: business analytics, contract management, contract optimisation analysis, corporate compliance, document services, due diligence, immigration, legal spend analysis and talent acquisition.
The company also recently set up an ideation team to take its legal service offering to the next level.
Says Stott: “There is phenomenal change taking place across the legal landscape globally. Technology is a really big part of it. One of the things all lawyers are facing is how they remain relevant and ensure that they are future fit? It’s a really big deal for lawyers to detach themselves and move on from the way they were trained and the way that they have always undertaken legal activity.
One of things that I am leading the charge on is our responsibility to make sure that our legal teams are future fit. If we don’t do that, our teams will be irrelevant in three years’ time because technology would have taken over so much of the activity. We don’t let that happen at Exigent. Into the future, we want to ensure that we are creating an environment that gives our staff the best chance of success.
An element of Exigent’s success in Cape Town, adds Stott, has been the appetite and willingness of staff to try something new. “They are willing to take on anything, and we provide them with the necessary support,” she says.
“The thing that is really attractive for the Capetonians who work here is that what we are exposing them to international clients. We have a great client base in South Africa, which includes Anglo American, Alexander Forbes and Imperial Logistics, as well international clients from the US, the UK and Australia. Exigent provides staff with opportunities not just to touch international work, but to potentially go on secondment and experience it. At the moment we have three people down in Australia and one of our attorneys based in London, on secondment at Telstra.”
Beyond work, Stott says she “simply loves” Cape Town’s wine regions. “It would be remiss not to say that that was not attractive to us.”
“I’m down here as often as possible. I’m also an avid cyclist and city has amazing cycling routes. I keep a bike down here, that’s how committed I am to it.”
The Exigent Group has also participated in the Cape Town Cycle Tour (previously the Argus Cycle Tour), thrice. “I’m not just a businesswoman trying to make money here, this place runs through my veins. I love it,” says Stott.
The Exigent team prides itself on ensuring their clients don’t get left behind. The company is a global services organisation with over 500 employees in locations from Cape Town to Chicago.
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