Very interesting to read the various articles coming out off the back of the biennial report by the Thomson Reuters Institute, the Center of Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law and the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford. One of the key data points for me is the growing emergence of law firm owned alternative capabilities and the fact that this now accounts for the largest growing segment of all alternative providers in the market. Arguably, there may be a number of reasons for this trend but highest among them would most definitely include:

  1. The unparalleled depth of relationship and level of trust General Counsels and Heads of Legal have with their law firm providers
  2. Certain law firms, such as Norton Rose Fulbright, have invested heavily into alternative capabilities and technology over recent years, and are uniquely placed to integrate the firm's deep legal know-how with a range of operational capabilities in order to solve a much broader range of client work - offering clients the best of both worlds!
  3. The capability is complementary to the existing work of a firm's traditional practice groups - for example enabling a law firm model to offer managed services that can support the full range of commercial contract types and complexities - something other alternative provider models are unable to offer.

One thing is for sure, it is an exciting time to be part of a law firm with a strong commitment and long-term vision around alternative services, and further corroborates the decision myself and Alex Fortescue-Webb made last year to bring our combined experience across to lead the firm's managed services practice.

"Right now it's a differentiator," added Abbott, referring to large firms that have their own captive ALSPs. "There was a point in time where not a lot of firms were doing it. But I still think from a client-value perspective, and marketing and business development perspective, there's still a heckuva lot of benefit from taking this on and doing it somewhat proactively."

I couldn't agree more with you Mr Abbott!

Large firms are also increasingly building their own ALSPs, the report found. These "captives," though the smallest part of the market, were also the fastest-growing type of alternative provider—compared to independent ALSPs and services offered by Big Four accounting firms.

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