In the rapid transition we find ourselves towards a digital economy, the narrative of new business models, often technology-enhanced, challenging the traditional way of doing business is recurring: Amazon in retail, Airbnb in hospitality, etc.
These stories are covered by a very compelling saga, but they sometimes have a perverse effect: to include companies with completely different value propositions in these disruptive groups, and above all to promote a certain confusion in the market. sue.
This is what happens with so-called alternative legal service providers (ALSPs): a mixed bag whose members work in 71% of corporate legal departments and bill $14 billion worldwide, but whose mix of models and concepts fuels suspicion. It is the content of different value propositions and makes it difficult for companies to get the most out of them.
In this sense, authoritative voices have emerged, even from Harvard Law School, who think that using the term “alternative” to name these new operators means ascribing a certain negative character to them, leading us to think that professionalism and quality of service are important. privileged features of traditional commercial law. Nothing is further from reality.
So what are we talking about when we talk about ALSP? Well, from a variety of models offering legal services that don’t have a pyramidal partnership of only lawyers and focus not only on what but also how. ALSPs can be broken down into four segments: legal process outsourcing (LPO) firms that handle low-risk, highly standardizable legal work; legal managed services (LMS) firms that handle high-volume legal work with technology and process engineering support; providers of technological and/or operational solutions for the legal sector; and flexible legal services (FLS) firms that provide medium to high complexity services for projects through highly skilled attorneys.
This last segment is where the category is often assimilated, sometimes with the intention of homogenizing all ALSPs and presenting them as a common front seeking to overthrow the hegemony of traditional law firms. And not all ALSPs are FLS, and we don’t want to set up a new regime, but rather enrich the legal sector with new specific options depending on the type of business.
Firms working with this model serve by directing our services to both corporate legal departments and law firms. Expertise providing temporary support when they require expertise in some technical-legal or sectoral issues or in case of temporary absence or workload.
Some of us also add a technological layer to this offering to increase efficiency or improve the customer experience; these are two issues that labor law has historically failed to receive the attention they deserve.
So FLS is now embarking on a dual evangelization: a mission to explain to the market that not all ALSPs do the same thing and that there is a model for every type of legal work. idealand informing business lawyers that there is another way to practice our profession with greater flexibility and the ability to choose projects to work on.
Laia Moncosi He is the CEO and co-founder of Lawyers for Projects.
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