Special Report

Breaking Tradition: How New Law is Challenging Big Law

As clients adapt the way they source and purchase legal services, competition and collaboration among new and traditional providers is increasing. In the decade since the Great Recession, when alternative options really came onto the scene with the promise of offering a better way, the numbers and types of providers have exploded. Over the next year, we aim to bring clarity around who those alternative providers are, what they are offering, who they are representing, where they get their talent and what piece of the market they have and could attain. You\'ll meet the players, hear from clients, see examples of collaboration, learn the offerings and gain clarity into this rapidly growing segment of the legal services market.

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While there are many things in this life that come down to money, clients opting to engage alternative legal service providers over law firms may not be one of them—at least not entirely.

Many clients will pick ALSPs over firms because they view them as the more efficient, innovative and customer service-oriented option. But how close that perception aligns with reality is a matter of debate. At the end of the day, law firms’ long-standing reputation as trusted legal advisers could be overshadowing some of the progress they’ve made around technology and a more efficient, client-focused delivery model.

To be sure, some firms have been making genuine attempts to make their services more consumer-friendly, whether it’s automating the prebilling process for faster delivery, building data portals that provide real-time updates on client matters, or even launching their own captive ALSPs or tech subsidiaries. But Liz Harding, a shareholder at Polsinelli, said that she’s heard clients make comments to the effect that law firm services are not as efficient as those proffered by ALSPs.

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Frank Ready

Frank Ready is a reporter on the tech desk at ALM Media. He can be reached at [email protected]

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