[co-author: Stephanie Hinrichs]
Like every other industry, the “Everything from Everywhere” marketplace and digital economy is changing how the legal industry works. Chief among these changes is the growth of the Alternative Legal Service Provider. In a recent report, the Blickstein Group found that one-third of the legal departments it surveyed increased their spend on ALSPs during 2020 and 38 percent expect their spend to increase this year. ALSPs provide services ranging from business operations support like NDAs and entity formations, to legal services at scale such as high volume due diligence and temp staffing, to internal legal design and consulting for projects like document retention policies/schedules.
Inspired by the needs of his corporate clients, Jamie Francis launched Womble Bond Dickinson’s ALSP, GCSolutions, in 2017 and he has a few tips for anyone considering these outsourced services.
Clearly define what it is you’re trying to accomplish before you start looking for an ALSP. The level of experience and adaptability as well as business model and cost varies widely among service providers. Clearly defined goals will help you ask the right questions and filter out service providers.
- Don’t underestimate the time you will need to bring everyone up to speed. Even ALSPs with veteran attorneys and staff will need some time to process everything. It’s often helpful to treat the process just like onboarding a new employee.
- If the ALSP attorney/professional will need to contact your clients, vendors, or other business associates consider providing the attorney/professional with a company email address for security and records purposes.
- Consider including ALSPs on your preferred providers panel. This will help them stay up to speed on your company and encourage collaboration among the group.
- ALSPs can be an excellent cost-saving option but be wary of service providers priced too good to be true. Will attorneys be doing or at least reviewing the work? If an AI system will be used will the product of that system be vetted before it comes to you? Understand how the service provider is able to offer such deep discounts.
- Like any engagement for legal services, your ALSP should provide a clear line of communication between you and a senior manager. For example, all GCSolutions clients are introduced and given direct access to John Jaye, senior division counsel, and Stephanie Hinrichs, senior director of sales.