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What the on-demand economy can teach us about ALSPs

There is a cultural shift in both the ways customers interact with brands and what they expect from them. The need for immediate gratification – for answers, responses, a payoff – is incessant.

Who was that actor in that movie? The answer may be on the tip of their tongue, but there’s no need to wait for it to come to them. The phone in their hands gets them what they need instantly. Our society caters to this whim – groceries are delivered within two hours. The shirt they saw on Instagram is purchased and waiting to be picked up in a matter of minutes.  

This mindset permeates all industries, subconsciously priming consumers to perceive the typical turnaround for a legal question to be excessive. So that email they sent to your firm earlier today? They are already growing impatient as they await your response. 

Demand for immediate answers and service creates a new complexity for law firms and attorneys. How do you balance providing the quality guidance and advice necessary while also meeting client demands? Because if you don’t find a way, they will go elsewhere with no explanation provided. 

Could the legal industry’s answer be ALSPs? 

Enter the alternative legal service provider (ALSP) model. ALSPs provide in-demand services in an on-demand way. Fast. Uncomplicated. Transparent. Flexible. And, to sweeten the deal, services provided through ALSPs are often less expensive than those provided by a law firm. 

This idea may feel disruptive to your firm’s goals. Referring out more work seems contradictory to the bottom line. How, exactly, can this be the solution? 

The answer is simple: let ALSPs take some of the work off your plate so you can focus on your core practice areas. Maybe it’s subcontracting some of the lower-tier work that is taking up too much time and resources, or perhaps it’s delegating more transactional work. The opportunity to form a partnership between your client, an ALSP, and your firm may provide a variety of benefits that best serves all stakeholders. That determination is critical to making the most of what ALSPs can offer. 

Friend versus foe

Remember Blockbuster? They eventually lost their war against the on-demand contender Netflix. Unable or unwilling to adapt their business model, the changes Blockbuster eventually went on to make —like creating a streaming service and doing away with late fees — were too little, too late. This left Blockbuster as the perpetual anecdote of what not to do when it comes to disruptive technology. 

While ALSPs may initially seem like a direct threat, it may make more sense to turn your energy toward finding a way to use them to your advantage rather than fighting them head on. 

Battling progress is a losing proposition, and ALSPs shouldn’t be viewed as the enemy. Rather, embracing your disruptor may have a greater ROI.  

For example, Ford Motor company recently made a $500 million investment in Rivian, a company that develops all-battery vehicles and technology. Rivian previously developed two utility vehicles and was likely perceived as a viable threat to Ford’s truck segment and the motor vehicle industry in general.  

Ford, however, saw this as an opportunity rather than a threat. Instead of trying to compete with Rivian, they invested in them. Both companies have stated that this new partnership will enable them to continue to introduce sustainable mobility and “develop an all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle for Ford’s growing EV portfolio using Rivian’s skateboard platform.” 

Like Ford, smart law firms will see the opportunities disruptors like ALSPs offer. From improved offerings to exceeding client expectations, this type of collaboration can propel the industry forward. 

Decipher your clients’ goals 

The goal is to find the balance between leveraging ALSPs in the way the works best for your firm and delivers the most value to your clients. Whether that’s providing the client with quick answers and services or giving them your undivided attention, understanding what is most important for your client is the key to maximizing the benefits of ALSPs. 

Plus, in addition to services your firm may be providing, many clients are also already using ALSPs. While this arrangement may provide clients with the value they desire – whether that’s speed or cost – it also means they must manage yet another business relationship. Many of those clients would likely appreciate if their trusted law firm was able and willing to work with the ALSPs directly – providing more value by making their lives a bit easier without any sacrifices. 

The ALSP segment is rapidly growing and can help your firm realign its business models. By utilizing rather than competing with these services, you can expedite your work – increasing efficiency as well as meeting clients’ demands.

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