The legal industry, as with any other industry, faces tough competition. And this puts it under constant pressure to deliver substantial value to its clients and outperform the competition.
Adding to this, it also has to comply with the frequently changing policies and standards swiftly. And avoiding these may result in serious consequences. Therefore, legal service providers have been contending to streamline their processes and systems with the aid of technology. An effort to maximize the value delivered by technology and enable business growth has resulted in the genesis of Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs).

Tracing the ALSPs’ growth path

In a report on Alternative Legal Service Providers by Thomson Reuters published in 2019, the market value was estimated to be $10.7 billion as of 2017. In February 2021, Thomson Reuters Institute has published the biennial study in partnership with the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law, and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. The report titled – “Alternative Legal Service Providers: 2021 Report – Strong Growth, Mainstream Acceptance, and No Longer an “Alternative” has revealed that the market share of ALSPs by the end of 2019 was $14 billion, growing at a CAGR of 15%. The study has also unearthed the fact that ALSPs’ services are leveraged by 79% of law firms and 71% of corporate entities to achieve better efficiency and reduce costs.

ALSPs commenced as an endeavor to supplement the efforts of legal professionals by taking complete charge of non-core tasks. However, the data denotes that they have evolved as a strong ally today for law firms and corporate legal entities. The reason – high-demand services offered by ALSPs are in tune with the ever-changing dynamics of the global legal industry.

Alternative Legal Service Provider

So, what exactly do ALSPs offer?

The key factors that facilitate an outsourcing decision, irrespective of the requirement/output, are lower costs, better quality, and quick turnaround. However, with ALSPs, legal companies leverage the services primarily for their domain expertise and technology prowess. In addition, a key aspect that has elevated ALSPs as the go-to source is their non-conventional approach towards overcoming a challenge with a dynamic solution. Case in point, their service offerings have been strategically built by dissecting the traditional legal processes, identifying prospective areas of support, and customizing their services in tandem with the requirements of their clients. Here is a list of key alternative legal services that are enabling legal professionals in enhancing efficiency:

  • Contract Management spanning the end-to-end process, starting with contract migration, clause extraction, due diligence review, and uploading of compatible files to a centralized Contract Management System (CMS).
  • Legal Research to ease the time-intensive exercise of finding supportive information from multiple sources and databases to formulate key business decisions
  • Document Review with the assistance of trained lawyers to analyze and categorize legal documents based on relevance, responsiveness, confidentiality, and other defined parameters. This helps in a better understanding of a case and devising a strong defensive mechanism.
  • E-Discovery encompasses diverse services, such as creating and assessing electronically stored information (ESI), drafting specific policies, and ensuring their adherence, in addition to aiding in the legal discovery process.
  • Legal operations facilitate data-driven analytics for better case management decisions, streamline external counsel billing, and enforce billing guidelines.
  • Litigation and Investigation Support to help trace required information/assets and gather intelligence to aid legal teams in increasing their success rates in a litigation suit.
  • Law Firm Support includes subjective and objective coding, legal word processing, and M&A transaction support with mandatory quality checks to deliver accurate information to litigators.
  • IP or Data Protection management to help safeguard a company’s intellectual assets and stay on top of compliance requirements.

As mentioned earlier, ALSPs are very dynamic in their approach, in the sense that they constantly revive their services by:

  • Identifying new challenges facing the legal industry and law professionals
  • Infusing innovation while re-engineering a service
  • Leveraging the strength of technology for an improved experience

Why embrace alternative legal services?

Efficiency is the paramount reason for legal entities and corporates to resort to an Alternative Legal Service Provider. By taking charge of high-volume, laborious tasks and assuring quality and competence, ALSPs free up lawyers’ time to focus on high-priority tasks. Yet another key advantage is their tech-tune business acumen, be it selection or implementation, without disrupting an ongoing business process. This amplifies the efficiency of lawyers, as they get to harness the benefits of the tools while the groundwork is taken care of by the experts.

Added value with the assistance of best-in-class tools, such as finding the right information from a horde of digital data and ensuring a faster turnaround time for diligence review. In addition, project management skills to blend legal technology and human expertise for better success intensify the value provided.

Expertise cutting across the legal spectrum to quickly understand a requirement and deliver the expected output in a specified format has elevated ALSPs as a reliable partner. Supplemented by speed, accuracy, and flexibility, the significance of ALSPs is incontestable.

With combined key merits, law firms and big corporations are positioned to serve their clients better, the ultimate goal of every business. Since the time-intensive tasks are duly taken care of, lawyers and in-house counsels can focus on the strategic part of their role in tune with their client’s needs.

To sum up, ALSPs is inevitable to enable business success in today’s competitive landscape. The services projected to be a key aid in transforming legal services are indeed a force to reckon with.

The Cenza (ALSP) Advantage

For over two decades, Cenza has been working with big corporations, law firms, in-house legal departments, and financial institutions offering a broad range of alternative legal services, including:

  • Contract Management: We offer end-to-end support and services spanning the entire contract lifecycle, starting with negotiation and revision to due diligence review that can be tailored to individual business needs. With the assistance of the right tools, we help our customers effectively manage contract creation, revision, and renewal. Our services include building and maintenance of contract databases and designing contract management solutions combining the merits of AI and human expertise.
  • Legal Word Processing: To directly address the exclusive needs of legal professionals specific to proofreading, indexing, and building tables of authorities and contents for pleadings and briefs. We are ISO certified for quality management and information security, a key factor for leading law firms to entrust Cenza with their Word Processing tasks.
  • Document Review: We offer complete document review support with experienced and trained lawyers to analyze and categorize legal documents based on relevance, responsiveness, and confidentiality. We also employ Technology Assisted Review (TAR) to accelerate the document review by using predictive coding with advanced methodologies.

For over 2 decades, we have been enabling our clients to maximize their operating efficiency by helping them leverage legal technology solutions in the best possible way. Our team of experts (comprising lawyers, contract reviewers, and paralegal experts) strives to understand clients’ requirements case-on-case basis and assist them in the effective adoption and use of a chosen tools built for legal process improvements. What sets us apart is our team with the right expertise to ensure demonstrable ROI is a key element that helped us build trust and enduring relationships with our clients.

If you would like to explore our alternative legal services further, please do contact us.

Here is another blog that outlines the key reasons for CLM providers to partner with an ALSP for accelerated tech adoption and implementation. Reading this blog will give you a wider perspective on fostering a relationship with ALSPs.


About the Author: Raja

Raja leads the Sales and Marketing at Cenza and his job involves creating strategy for the day to day sales and marketing activities, and focused on optimizing the sales for Contract Migration, AI and ML training, Lease Management, and other managed legal services. Also help CLM providers with cost-effective solutions for contract extraction and migration needs.