Alternative legal services providers (ALSP) continue to evolve with Magic Circle firm Linklaters launching a new standalone brand for its so-called ‘low cost workforce’ handing high volume work.
Called Limitless by Linklaters the new brand will provide support to clients for tasks like e-discovery, legal project management services, and access to Linklaters’ on-demand contract lawyers through its Re:link network.
The firm has committed itself to a remote working model for its ALS workforce, allowing it to source talent from across the UK.
The new ALS unit comprises over 100 paralegals, support lawyers, legal tech professionals, contract lawyers, and legal project managers, led by Jas Mundae, Director of Alternative Legal Services.
The move is part of Linklaters’ redesign of its existing ALS offering, which will compete with other independent providers like Axiom, Elevate, Integreon, and the Big Four accountancy firms.
According to a report published in January, the ALSP market was valued at $20.6bn at the end of 2021, with law firms accounting for the fastest-growing segment, up nearly six-fold since 2015.
Growth of ALSPs
According to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters this year, the use of alternative legal services in the UK and the US has been steadily increasing over the years.
The $20.6 billion ALSP segment of the legal market in the Thomson Reuters report shows that ALSPs experienced a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent from 2019 to 2021, a significant jump from the 15 percent CAGR recorded between 2017 and 2019.
Overall, it reveals an evolving legal market in which the boundaries between alternative legal services providers, law firms, corporate law departments, and even technology and software firms are rapidly blurring.
In the UK, the survey found that approximately 78 percent of law firms were using alternative legal services, while in the US, the figure was 85 percent.
The services will typically include legal process outsourcing, contract management, e-discovery, and legal research outsourcing, among others.
A recent report from Research & Markets said that there has been a wave of funding just as alternative legal service provider operators become more innovative and technologically savvy.
Both legal professionals and clients have seen the value-added benefits of ASP models and investors are also more aware of the impediments put in place by lawyers, resulting in division and shunned growth.
As a result, the market has come far from being a young industry that witnessed transaction restrictions and has become the next ‘new thing’ powering the legal industry forward. Private investment in the ASP market has continued to increase and according to the Research & Markets report the market is expected to reach USD$23bn by 2028.