As legal departments want law firm quality services for less than the traditional cost of those services, managed legal service providers are seeing an opening. Indeed, many have recently moved to offer broader legal services to corporate legal departments, and have found a receptive client base in doing so.
In February, for instance, LawClerk extended the use of its roster of on-demand attorneys from solo and boutique firms to corporate law departments with LawClerk for General Counsel. Additionally, Yerra Solutions expanded into managed services and now deploys attorneys to manage legal departments’ contracts and legal invoices.
Meanwhile, legal operations provider Legility, which in November changed its name after Counsel On Call acquired DSicovery, recently announced the launch of Enterprise Legal Solution, an integrated offering of remote and on-site legal counseling and legal technology for corporate legal departments.
The services include Legility attorneys performing due diligence for deals, drafting and negotiating contracts and managing regulatory and compliance changes.
In addition to providing human resources, the service also offers what the company describes as “lightweight apps” used to assist legal departments in improving processes and manage the flow of information. For example, Legility IQ culls a legal department’s data and provides a real-time view of spend and activity.
Still, as in-house turns to vendors for legal services, law firms aren’t concerned because “they don’t see an extrinsic threat to their advice and counsel,” said Jamal Stockton, a Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) board member.
“We know the quality [of a law firm] is excellent,” Stockton noted. “The law firms are trusted; we’ve worked with them for a long time, but are we paying the appropriate amount.”
However, a larger disruption in the market is afoot with corporate legal departments actively looking for ways to measure a law firm’s quality compared to vendors, Stockton said. One area that is easy to gauge is e-discovery.
“If you think about e-discovery, we can measure the accuracy of what is being done,” Stockton said, adding if the service provider has provided identical results to a law firm, “there’s no incentive to use a law firm.”
Ultimately what in-house legal departments are often looking for is a single one-stop shop for legal services.
“I want to see the legal management service providers rebundle so we can go to one provider,” Stockton said.”