Alternative Legal Services Providers vs Law Firms: What’s the best choice?
Law firms are used by many businesses to obtain advice about legal rights and responsibilities as well as representation in the event of a civil or criminal case, business transaction or other legal matters. An Alternative Legal Service Provider (ALSP) provides specialized services in high-demand legal fields that support the legal needs of their clients, such as discovery and e-discovery, document review, IP management, and other processes that may be time consuming for in-house staff.
While a law firm can provide general legal support for a client, an ALSP can help clients and law firms that need to outsource legal work that would otherwise be costly in time, money and resources. Here are a few reasons a business or law firm may reach out to an ALSP for support and advice.
1. Specialized Knowledge
Depending on the size of the law firm, it may be able to provide legal support in niche areas. However, in case there is a specific area that is not covered by that law firm, outsourcing work to an alternative legal services provider enables businesses and law firms to use specialized resources that may not be otherwise available to them.
For instance, if the business is going through a merger or acquisition process, an ALSP is able to support due diligence processes, which could be costly and time consuming for the business team and law firm. The right service provider will have unique expertise and specialist tools to carry out these processes with a tailored approach both quickly and effectively.
Using an established law firm can provide a business with personalized and consistent legal support on a day-to-day basis. However, when a more flexible approach is required to carry out a short-term or unique project, a specialized ALSP can also be more flexible than a law firm to meet more specific requirements. These service providers will have in-house experts and tools to provide granular support for different services.
For example, an IP management services provider can research and support IP requirements across multiple geographies with tools that can carry out trademark searches that cover many countries. These specialist tools can be costly for a law firm to acquire and maintain, so businesses will generally use an alternative legal services provider to achieve the best results for their needs. This also means that an ALSP can be more flexible with a client as it can deliver the specific outcome required by the client rather than a blanket solution.
While a law firm can provide a high level of support for day-to-day legal processes, an unexpected, urgent or ad hoc project can create challenges for even the largest of law firms. Determining the project requirements, finding the resources and delivering the best results can cause a team to become overwhelmed. By working with an ALSP, law firms and businesses can rest assured that they have specialized legal support for unforeseen situations without committing to the long-term costs of on boarding a full-time, in-house team.
In the case of trademark filings and trademark renewals, a missed deadline or an application error will have negative financial and legal implications for your business. For these types of scenarios, it’s important that your business has access to a flexible service that can quickly assess your needs and deliver the best possible outcome.
4. Extended Network
Dealing with a local law firm can be advantageous for multiple reasons: proximity to your legal representatives; an understanding of the legal challenges a business has to deal with on a local level; and access to other legal resources on a local level.
When a business seeks to expand its operations, an alternative legal services provider can also be advantageous as it will provide market-ready tools as well as access to the extended network of that service provider, including law firms, attorneys and other professionals. In this way, a business can avail of extensive expertise and resources that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive to access.
If your business is entering a new market and requires the knowledge of local market experts, it is advantageous to work with an ALSP since it can provide you with specialized advice and access to resources in individual jurisdictions. This is especially helpful for businesses who want to control costs on new market ventures.
5. Bespoke Solutions
Given that alternative legal services providers are usually smaller and more specialized than law firms, they can deliver solutions with a tailor-made approach. An ALSP can work with your business and law firm to develop an end-to-end solution that is flexible and cost effective without compromising on quality. As specialists in their field of law, they can also provide expert insights to ensure that your solution covers all your legal requirements.
Depending on your legal requirement, the benefits of using an ALSP can vary between different projects and clients, so it’s important to consider different providers to assess what works best. In many cases, an ALSP can work hand-in-hand with a law firm to provide ancillary services that compliment their legal offering. If you’re considering an alternative legal services provider for certain projects, contact our team and we’ll be happy to answer your queries.