Alternative legal service providers continue to make significant inroads in the legal industry, growing their global market share to $13.9 billion.
– ABA Journal
According to Wolters Kluwer, one of the top legal trends of 2022 is the growth of alternative legal service providers (ALSPs). With a growing market share valued at around $14 billion, and growing, alternative legal service providers are on the rise, assisting legal departments in their quest for efficiency, ease, and affordability.
Ernst & Young note that ALSPs are quickly becoming mainstream legal options, making the alternative in ALSP redundant. In an economic downturn such as the one at the end of 2022, it makes sense for legal departments, getting by on meager resources and even thinner budgets, to leverage the services that alternative legal service providers provide.
What are Alternative Legal Service Providers?
Gartner defines alternative legal service providers as law firms or non-law firm companies “with purpose-built delivery services”. ALSPs can provide legal support work that is far more affordable than traditional law firms and corporate legal departments, which is why legal departments prefer to delegate legal work to them.
What Tasks Do Alternative Legal Service Providers Offer?
ALSPs typically carry out all the legal work that legal departments do. However, ALSPs are legal matter and work experts, offering a wide array of services.
ALSPs provide legal departments with services that include:
- Regulatory risk and compliance services, including identifying and mitigating compliance risks
- Legal research services to identify and collect data for legal decision-making
- Services that a lawyer would provide, making them an ideal fit when organizations are low on resources especially during the holidays
- Intellectual property (IP) management, which includes the protection and enforcement of IP rights
- Litigation and investigation support
- Non-legal or factual research, such as research for business strategies
- Electronic discovery services
- Contract lifecycle management (CLM) to streamline contract drafting, management, execution, and retrieval
- Legal drafting services with templates based on standard contractual clauses and guidelines
- Merger and acquisition due diligence
Why Legal Departments Choose ALSPs
There are several reasons that ALSPs are growing at a faster rate than ever. COVID-19 was certainly a
There are several reasons that alternative legal service providers are growing at a faster rate than ever. COVID-19 was certainly a catalyst, when legal went remote, forcing legal departments to adopt legal tech if they hadn’t already, and needing to augment their sparse resources.
Although there are several legal solutions that ALSPs provide, the top 3, according to the ABA Journal are:
- electronic discovery
- legal research and contract management
- litigation/investigation support
Along with the efficient legal solutions ALSPs provide, legal departments rely on their legal technology advice. Legal departments utilize alternative legal service providers as expert consultants in the legal and tech spaces, considering the decades of expertise many of them provide.
4 Benefits of ALSPs
ALSPs use cutting-edge legal technology to enhance their processes, delivering superior legal solutions. Many alternative legal service providers offer legal tech tools in addition to providing efficient legal solutions. LexisNexis notes that “agile working, independence and results based work are more common features of ALSPs compared to traditional firms which rely on billable hours and a partnership model of career progression”. Legal technology-enhanced processes make alternative legal service providers a popular choice for the discerning legal department.
With legal technology and area specialization, ALSPs offer high levels of customization for their legal department and general counsel clients. Whether a client requires legal solutions in a few practice areas, or several different ones, alternative legal service providers have templates that can be used to scale up or down based on client needs and preferences.
Unlike law firms that take on a slew of legal services, ALSPs provide services within their areas of expertise. This allows them to optimize efficiency, and provide expert solutions in their core specialties. With niche focus areas, alternative legal service providers can deliver improved processes, increase speed of delivery and offer substantial cost-savings. The optimal efficiency that ALSPs provide is a driving force behind corporate counsel and legal departments choosing them over traditional law firms.
Legal departments and general counsel can save significantly on costs when they outsource to ALSPs, who can provide affordable solutions based on their large teams of expert attorneys, legal technology, and structured processes in place. This makes them an ideal legal department process partner, especially in uncertain times such as the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, or the recession in 2022.
As an ALSP, LegalEase Solutions has been providing general counsel and corporate counsel with cutting-edge legal solutions since 2005.