It’s no secret that international legal rankings of Chambers & Partners has been the gold standard for legal industry rankings for years now – and there’s a reason for that. Chambers & Partners published guides and insights on the global legal profession are conducted with thorough investigations.
They often uncover long-standing industry key players, and reveal flourishing new innovative competitors. Some founding figures of the Alternative Legal Service Providers Guide Rankings ranked by Chambers are Axiom Law, Elevate, Peerpoint and KPMG. In 2021, a few other ALSP gems were unveiled – along with LawFlex – there is Obelisk Legal Support, AMBAR, and Special Counsel Inc.
It is crucial to note how rigorous the research is that goes into scouring the legal market for outstanding ALSPs. Included in this search is a ‘formula’ of sorts, that gathers data on the size of an ALSP’s team, its key partners/individuals, key clients, work highlights of the last year, industry expertise, and areas of growth.
Then, this formula gets broken down even further, and the company’s technical legal abilities are assessed, and client service is studied in terms of speed, responsiveness, clear business language, decisive opinions, and how consistent the level of support is.
Diligence and attention to detail is held in high regard by the Chambers research team, as is an ALSP’s value for a client’s money; if the company is efficient in work but not cost efficient, this raises a red flag. This is all to say that the standards for being ranked as a global ALSP leader by Chambers & Partners is not an easy feat. The rules to qualify are extensive, which is why only 14 companies were ranked as Flexible Staffing leaders in this year’s 2021 ALSP guide.
With LawFlex’s growing pool of over 600 qualified lawyers providing solutions in 26 jurisdictions around the world for over 5 years now, it’s no wonder LawFlex landed itself a coveted Tier 2 spot in the ranking.
But numbers aside, it’s the quality of the solutions provided that matter, with endless resources for startups, experienced project management leaders, seasoned lawyers capable of taking on complex assignments, talented attorneys ready to take on large-scale document review at any moment, and a general never-ending pool of trusted legal talent.
The common thread of quality over all proves to be woven throughout the entire Chambers ALSP ranking. These key players are proving to the entire legal-sphere that ALSPs are here to stay, and that contrary to the “outdated” belief that ALSPs are only equipped to handle mundane volume work, providers are raving that the complexity of work they’re taking on has actually increased. The fact is, clients are flocking to ALSPs, not just for “grunt-work”, but for complicated legal projects that were once only suited for traditional BigLaw teams.
As the Chambers and Partners guide points out, the legal business is dominated by 4 different players: (1) law schools (2) in-house legal departments (3) law firms (4) and ALSPs.
But Chambers asserts that according to its findings, the “walls that exist between these legal departments, law firms and ALSPs will become porous, with work flowing between and among these groups in a seamless manner”.
The legal industry is growing far more homogenized in recent years; expanding, adapting, changing, but also coalescing to form a more accessible and efficient industry model. And furthermore, the Chambers guide found that technology development through AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools shall be accelerated, and implemented with “greater urgency” due to the pandemic necessitating such a tech-metamorphosis.
Additionally, the utilization of ALSPs enables companies to shift the cost and risk of tech acquisition “to outside service providers with better expertise at technology implementation”. With the surge of remote working taking over almost every industry, clients are reaping the benefits of working remotely with ALSPs in the litigation services arena, and legal professionals are exploring more of the benefits associated with flexible remote legal staffing.
Change is upon us, so to speak, and there’s no running from it. In fact, so many legal professionals are running towards this change, because it feels as though it’s long overdue.
Other notable factors in the Chambers & Partners ALSP guide include increases in geographical spotlights, with burgeoning markets identified in Spain, Israel and the Asia Pacific Region. A recent uptake in the intellectual property market due to the pandemic forcing many businesses to operate fully online was also spotted as an interesting trend.
An unfortunate result of the pandemic is many firms having to downsize their teams – but a silver lining in this reduction is how it opened an opportunity for firms to begin taking advantage of flexible legal staffing, yet another industry pattern highlighted in the guide.
Ultimately, there seems to be an expansion in general in terms of what kinds of lawyers are being sought out from ALSPs, because nowadays the clients of an ALSP range greatly in industry and needs. So, beyond contract lawyers, other kinds of specialists are being coveted, like experts in legal operations for instance.
There is a new notion now echoing through the legal industry, one that urges teams to “do more with less”, a motto born from COVID-19 and its impacts. A recent survey by Mycase showed that around 70% of law firms agree that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on how firms continue to operate, and how courts function.
The ALSP market has ballooned to hold a whopping $14 billion in revenue, and it seems to be on track to grow exponentially. Nearly 80% of law firms have reported that they now use ALSPs, valuing their flexibility as crucial extensions of their team structure.
ALSPs are becoming indispensable, making it all the more important to identify the global leaders who are proving time and time again why ALSPs deserve to stick around. Each year, it’s necessary to take a closer look at how these ALSPs operate, the breadth of their solutions, the flexibility they offer in their modern business models – because by breaking down what makes them so great, the overall picture becomes that much clearer.
As the 2021 Chambers & Partners ALSP guide points out, “ALSPs are uniquely suited to combine their process and technology expertise to provide more efficient technology-enabled legal services”. It’s the “hybrid” aspect of an ALSP, its ability to marry technology with highly qualified flexible legal talent, which has rocked the legal industry to its core.
Chambers & Partners has deftly highlighted the best of the best when it comes to ALSPs, and we can’t wait to see how this corner of the legal market continues to flourish.