Seleccionar página

The word «alternative» is definitely in vogue in the legal zeitgeist. Starting with the UK Legal Services Act and the acceleration of the legal technology startup boom, the discussion about the growing importance of alternative business structures (ABS) and alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) in the legal press and increasingly in the law academy has become a cottage industry. And for good reason. According to a recent report by Thomson Reuters, Georgetown Law`s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, Oxford University`s Said Business School and Acritas (one of the leading providers of legal information in the market) – a collaboration that, in itself, is a strong indication of the scale of the discussion on this topic – ALSP revenues increased from $8.4 billion in 2015 to $10.7 billion in 2017 – a rate of average growth of 12.9%. Nor is this growth limited to a few alternative industries or types of services. As the Thomson Reuters report shows, more than a third of companies and more than 50% of law firms say they currently use at least one of the top five functions typically performed by ALSPs. At the same time, all four major accounting networks – PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG – have received ABS licences to operate as Multidisciplinary Practices (CDM) in the UK. Given the exponential growth in the number of legal startups in recent years, it`s no surprise that practitioners and experts expect «competition from non-traditional service providers to be an ongoing trend in the legal services market,» according to a 2018 report by Altman & Weil. Because they don`t have to fit into the structure and hierarchy of a typical law firm environment, ALSPs may be free to modify their business practices to increase efficiency using technology or other innovative practices. In fact, it is really this unconventional approach to shared tasks and the willingness to adapt to practices such as offshore outsourcing, web services, and IT automation that has characterized alternative legal service providers. Despite these public statements and some initial steps to dismantle their legal weapons, the Big Four have quietly rebuilt their legal networks over the past decade, to the point that they are now larger than they were in 2002. As we have documented elsewhere, by exploiting loopholes in the regulatory structure that allow them to sell legal and other non-audit services to companies that do not audit them, and by leveraging their global reach, the Big Four have legal networks to expand their legal practice in countries where regulatory restrictions on legal practice are low or non-existent – or where reforms are regulations are increasingly in place. enable multidisciplinary practice – an important presence in all major fields.

legal market in the world with the notable exception of the United States. The legal services provided by these networks are also not limited to taxes. While tax advisory services remain a key cornerstone, the four major legal networks now provide services in a variety of areas of law, including high-end practices such as finance and mergers and acquisitions, as well as fast-growing ones such as compliance and employment law. Competitors who have followed Axiom`s lead have blurred the line between «alternative» staff and «traditional» law firms. Consider, for example, Lawyers on Demand (LOD). LOD was founded in 2007 by the British law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) to offer its clients former BLP lawyers as temporary workers as an alternative to Axiom and other recruitment agencies. In 2012, BLP split LOD as an independent entity and merged it with AdventBalance, an Australian flexible recruitment firm originally founded by law firms – Balance Legal, founded by Australian law firm Freehills in 2008, and Advent Legal, founded the same year by Allen & Overy`s sydney head of business development. However, BLP retained an 80% stake in the new company, which it only sold in 2018 when the company merged with US company Bryan Cave. Although LOD is no longer affiliated with a «traditional» law firm like Axiom for the first time, LOD has spawned a number of «virtual law firms,» many of which continue to be owned by law firms and/or operated by law firms.

The fact that these and other similar flexible staffing organizations are now an integral part of the legal ecosystem further blurs the line between these «alternative» providers and traditional law firms. At the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, OPLs were an integral part of the corporate legal ecosystem. In the 1990s, it was clear that the Big Five intended to make legal services an important part of their multidisciplinary offering. Companies have focused more on reducing costs as a reason for outsourcing services to ALSPs. Maintaining in-house legal teams to manage corporate contracts or manage the management of intellectual property rights can be cost-effective for the music and television industry, which has extensive catalogs of properties that need to stay on top of things and spend a lot of money. But other companies that need to manage their own intellectual property don`t often need or can`t always afford the same kind of internal resources. From estate planning to starting a small business, there`s an online legal service for everyone. We have reviewed all the options and selected the best of the best based on value, quality of service, price, reputation and more. Our list of the best online legal services has been selected from a pool of over a dozen providers who offer documents, advice and/or recommendations to local lawyers. We conducted our review with the attitude that online legal services should not only be affordable, but also reliable and trustworthy. In addition to comparing the prices of the services, we also heavily weighted the opinions and complaints of customers for each company. In fact, these now mainstream players are increasingly competing with an even newer generation of tech companies, ranging from legal tech startups to established tech giants.

As mentioned earlier, the number of legal tech startups has exploded since 2008. Many of these companies are now trying to take advantage of technological developments to offer some of the same services offered by OPLs. In no other aspect of the legal profession is this more evident than in the fact that alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) play a greater role in the provision of legal services. Companies are now turning more frequently to these innovative companies for many routine legal services, and law firms are even outsourcing some jobs to ALSPs that would be too expensive and time-consuming to do in-house. This new trend holds promise for paralegals who may want to own and run their own independent business. The State Bar association is only examining possible alternatives. All changes should be approved by the legislator. So why should the legislator close the studies now? Members who are not satisfied with the scope of services listed by Rocket Lawyer can benefit from Rocket Lawyer On Call. Here`s how it works: If your legal issue can`t be resolved online, Rocket Lawyer will put you in touch with the right lawyer for a 30-minute phone consultation. Those with complex issues that require other legal services can choose to continue working with this lawyer at 40% off their hourly rate or 10% off their fixed fee. Needless to say, these are important and difficult topics that go far beyond the scope of this article.

Instead, we end with the modest hope that our analysis will contribute to a new framework for addressing these important issues. A framework in which we stop thinking that new participants are reshaping the business services market as «alternatives» to a mythical «golden age», when «traditional» law firms defined the quintessence of service and professionalism.