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Alternative Legal Service Providers – Is it still alternative?



Rolling back my memory to 2006, a company came to my college for placements. It was not a law firm but an outsourcing company better known as LPO or Legal Process Outsourcing Company. I gave the rounds of interview and was selected. This was a new industry and a lot of taboo was prevalent in legal market. However, I took the risk and moulded myself into this industry and saw it develop manifolds during last decade. Now, LPO has transformed itself into ALSPs (Alternative Legal Service Providers) and are thriving day by day.


Practice Areas of ALSPs

Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) nowadays provide services that deal with the aspects of legal matters or processes that are data or document heavy or routine or repeatable in nature, and that can be streamlined and made more efficient using the right combination of people, process, and technology. ALSPs provide services that apply broadly across different practice areas as follows:



Typical ALSP offerings include:

  • Document review

  • Contract management

  • E-discovery

  • Due diligence

  • Compliance

  • Legal research

  • Litigation and investigation support

  • Intellectual property portfolio management

There is also a growing number of ALSPs that offer temporary staffing solutions and consultations on legal technology.


Key Service Areas and Acceptance level throughout the Globe:


The above service areas are quite indicative. ALSPs have travelled into the blue ocean and carved a niche for themselves by extending their hand for all kind of back-end support to the corporations and law firms. They are using their key USPs to prove their worth and increase the acceptance.



Key USPs of ALSPs

Project Management: ALSPs can provide dynamically scalable end-to-end project management covering all aspects of review including workflow design, staffing, training and knowledge transfer, quality management, administrative support, and reporting.

Multi-disciplinary Approach: ALSPs can provide project managers, process experts, linguists, technologists, programmers, and statisticians support to manage any workflow.

Technological Expertise: ALSPs leverage deep proficiency with AI-based technologies by bringing such technologies on-prem or collaborating with the vendors and provide comprehensive matter-specific technology assessments and implementations that enable clients to better evaluate costs and benefits.

Process Rigour Approach: ALSPs thrive on process rigour approach for each of the activity and develop it according to client’s requirements. They make it sure that every action is tracked and no request is people dependent.


Awakening to Collaboration with ALSPs and Current Trend:

A report of Thomson Reuters correctly says that both law firms and corporations have “awakened” to the benefits of collaborating with ALSPs, rather than viewing them as competitors to law firms. They both increasingly realize how ALSPs can improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, while firms can still retain and even grow higher-value work.


The study found that 79% of law firms and 71% of corporations now use ALSPs, driven by the needs to reduce costs, improve efficiency and leverage cutting-edge technologies. This most recent figure represents a compounded annual growth rate of 15%, a marked acceleration from the 12.9% growth rate of two years earlier.


Over half of law firms and corporations still have concerns about using ALSPs, such as quality of services and ensuring confidentiality of client information, but those levels of concern are dropping depicted as follows:


Conclusion:

Corporations are nowadays demanding superior value, more cost certainty and more tech-enabled, smart legal services. Some still like the comfort of dealing through a law firm, but as comfort grows with using ALSPs directly, there is more opportunity for ALSPs to upsell and cross-sell.


ALSPs have enhanced their sophisticated support so much that they are here to stay for a long run and with full glory. I am happy that I took a decision to join this industry more than a decade back. I am proud that I am being part of this constant innovative industry where we have made a lot of difference into the life of our clients and disrupted the traditional approach and modernised the legal sphere.

 

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