How-To Guide for Legal Departments

3 Ways In-House Legal Departments Can Benefit from a Shifting Landscape

Increasingly technology and alternative low-overhead, high efficiency business models are exposing traditional approaches to business that not so long ago were expected to stand the test of time.  Times are changing and the legal industry is no exception.

Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) have emerged as a lower cost option to traditional law firms, particularly for work that doesn’t require senior, specialized resources.  To their credit, some large law firms have recognized this shift and developed ALSPs of their own to compete for low cost business and allow clients to keep their business with a single provider.  Other New Law service providers have maintained their commitment to providing senior, large law trained lawyers at more affordable rates through low overhead, low margin business models, a much more difficult value proposition for traditional law firms to compete with.

Another interesting shift we’ve seen is a change in workforce expectations.  In the past, it was generally accepted that lawyers worked long hours, in an office without much thought to work-life balance. In line with the shifting expectations of the workforce across other industries, lawyers are beginning to look for other more flexible options and the above mentioned ALSPs and New Law service providers are creating more options. With the trends we have seen towards entrepreneurship as a viable career path, it is also becoming more common than ever before for lawyers to consider starting their own practice.

While these shifts can have a significant impact on large law firms, they also present a meaningful opportunity for in-house legal departments willing to adapt. Alternative Legal Service Providers offer flexibility, added value and expertise that is needed. Ways ALSPs benefit:

  1. Focus on Strategic Work

Most lawyers leave private practice in the hopes of finding more strategic, business-focused work.  With legal resources available at lower rates than ever before, outsourcing non-strategic legal work can be both a smart business decision and an opportunity to provide in-house lawyers with more fulfilling careers.

  1. Recruit Top Talent

The shift towards more flexible lifestyles is making more top talent available to in-house legal departments than ever before.  Once considered a secondary option to law firm partnership, many lawyers are foregoing the opportunity to climb the ranks of a large law firm in favour of in-house roles and a future with a General Counsel title.  Today, companies that recruit properly can build extremely talented in-house teams.

  1. Outsource Specialized Work

Specialized work has rarely ever been done in-house, but with more affordable senior legal counsel available than ever before it can be outsourced confidently without breaking the bank.  Outside of only the most complex transactions, the options available today mean there is simply no longer a need to overspend on legal.

Of course, just as traditional law has taken many years to change, it will take in-house legal departments time to adapt to the new realities of both their service providers and their workforce.  That said, there will be obvious advantages to those who are willing to break the mould and embrace the change quickest. Alternative Legal Service Providers along with technology bring much-needed resources to in-house legal departments.

Note: This post originally appeared on the CEO Law Canada blog at

Alternative Legal Service Providers - ways they can help

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