Thomson Reuters, Georgetown Law & University of Oxford 2017 Alternative Legal Service Providers Survey
In recent years, the legal marketplace has seen an influx of new start-ups and new entrants looking to challenge the long-standing service model offered by law firms to their clients. Traditionally, clients looked to their law firms to provide a full range of legal and legal-related services, i.e., to handle every aspect of a matter, even including those activities that did not involve the direct provision of legal services. Today, by contrast, consumers of legal services find themselves the beneficiaries of a new and growing number of nontraditional service providers that are changing the way legal work is getting done.
These alternative providers comprise a new sector of the legal market, one that is emerging and evolving rapidly, but is still very much in its infancy.
In a first-of-its-kind effort, the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, in partnership with the Georgetown University Law Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, sought to gain a better understanding of these new legal service providers, who they are, when clients use them, what factors matter to clients in choosing a provider, when and why law firms use them, and whether law firms view the model as a threat or an opportunity. Such a wide-ranging survey of a relatively new marketplace created no shortage of challenges but also provided invaluable insights into how these new entrants are carving a niche in the market.