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A glance at the headlines over the last few years would lead one to believe that an all-or-nothing battle is playing out between traditional law firms and alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) across the country and around the world. For every corporate legal engagement secured by an ALSP, a law firm loses out, and vice versa—at least that’s how the issue is commonly framed. Accordingly, it would seem that the future will be marked by intense competition to win a zero-sum game.

As someone who co-founded an ALSP nearly 25 years ago, that’s not how I see it. In today’s market, not only are law firms and ALSPs co-existing (revenue and profits across both segments are increasing across the board), but the healthy competition is forcing all participants in the legal services delivery ecosystem to get better, faster and more innovative. ALSPs may be disrupting the legal industry, but they’re doing so in a way that helps traditional law firms, rather than harming them.

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