An Interview with Steve Monk, Alternative Legal Service Provider Pioneer

We are happy to share Steve’s thoughts on Alternative Legal Service Providers, from a conversation with Matt Belbeck.

MB: Thomson Reuters Legal Managed Services conducted surveys to discover how ALSPs are being used by in-house council. What are your thoughts on that Steve?

Steve Monk: “Reimagining the Legal Function Report 2019” was exciting for me, as it shares key insights that are in line with what I knew was coming in the legal industry. It emphasizes why CEO Law is in business and seeing such growth today. The report indicated that 33% of businesses are already outsourcing legal processes (a wide range of them in fact) and even more positive for me what that another 41% would consider doing so.

MB: What does that say to you Steve?

Steve Monk: It tells me that a large portion of in-house legal departments are looking to change, to modernize and to use external help – either to expand capacity or to tap into specialized expertise that is missing from the department.

MB: Any key numbers that stood out to demonstrate the growth?

Steve Monk: Revenues for Alternative Legal Service Providers grew from $8.4 billion in 2015 to around $10.7 billion in 2017.

MB: Your vision for CEO Law stems from you identifying problems in the traditional legal industry and wanting to shake up the status quo – both for the sake of the lawyers and the businesses requiring legal help. Are the issues that are driving this actual change, what you anticipated them to be?

Steve Monk: Yes for the most part. Cost is always going to be a driving force. There is a consistent theme across all sectors, which is: do more, with less. Keeping in-house staff lean and focused on what they do best and outsourcing the rest is a great way to control costs and only pay for what you need, as you need it. The report indicated that 82% of survey respondents plan to reduce legal costs over the next couple years.

reduce legal costs

We also see legal departments trying to best utilize their team and skillset. Work that is lower value and transactional tasks can be outsourced, offering a reduction in costs and maximizing efficiency for the in-house team.

As laws change with digital aspects of business and as businesses grow and face new complexities, in-house council is finding the need to reach out for specialized knowledge to support the internal team.

Things like compliance, document review, due diligence, investigation support and litigation are being outsourced to Alternative Legal Service Providers.

MB: How does technology factor into the emerging changes and trends?

Steve Monk: ALSPs, especially CEO Law are embracing technological advances – including AI to deliver high quality services with more efficiency. Technology eliminates some human error and efficiently handles the low-value tasks, allowing ALSPs to have more cost control and offer better pricing to their clients. The cutting-edge value that ALSPs bring is compelling to in-house teams, it allows businesses to tap into this new technology without a large learning curve and the expensive of the IT team it takes to support the tech.

Legal technology

MB: How has perception of Alternative Legal Service Providers changed over recent years?

Steve Monk: There is less concern over quality of work and data security. Companies are seeing the model work and experiencing the benefits. ALSPs are becoming much more widely accepted – and even more than that, sought out for those benefits. I think corporations are seeing the potential for expansions and scaling – with a lower price tag – and that is helping with the adoption of ALSPs. Predictions in the report indicate a 24% increase per year – showing nice growth for ALSPs.

MB: Any other thoughts related to the benefits of ALSPs?

Steve Monk: Across the board, we are seeing an increase of departments sharing information, strategizing and coming together for the big picture. For example, IT has become a bigger part of overall strategy, providing actionable data and insights on operations, cost, efficiencies etc. Marketing and sales are better aligning to improve outcomes. The same is true of legal departments. The data that is produced as a result of the technology being used is contributing to business processes and goals end-to-end. Again, when a corporation can tap into the efficiency and data from the technology on an as-needed basis without increasing permanent cost by bring it all in house, that is extremely attractive to them.

This all demonstrates that ALSPs are poised to deliver bigger and better outcomes to their clients, for less – keeping that “do more, for less” camp very happy.

There are differences across different sectors, regions and size of companies – making it apparent that one size doesn’t fit all. But that also plays right into he value of ALSPs. Each business can customize their plan and usage of ALSP and pay for only what they need, when they need it. All it takes is a willingness to explore doing things a little differently. Being open to this new approach – which offers great competitive advantages as well. Savings, increased data, specialized knowledge – all powerful tools for a business in the crowded marketplaces today.

Bottom line Matt? A major shift has happened, but we are in the early stages and there are still exciting changes and a lot more growth ahead. With the increasing complexity of regulatory requirements, increased contract and licensing issues businesses face, and the need for innovation to help make it all happen quicker and cheaper – we are definitely on the precipice of more growth!

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