At the CLOC Institute in Las Vegas this week, David Curle of Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute presented the results of the Institute’s Study of Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs). Curle appeared on a panel with Byron Buck, senior corporate counsel and manager of Law Practice Management, Caterpillar Inc. and Lisa Brzycki, head of Legal Operations and Technology at Northwestern Mutual, who shared their experiences of working with ALSPs in their organizations.

CLOC Institute is the annual meeting of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, which began in 2009 as an informal group of legal operations professionals in Northern California. The Institute has grown to more than 1,000 attendees this year.

One of the shifts in the industry in recent years is the growth in non-law firm legal service providers that serve both in-house departments and law firms. The Legal Executive Institute research, which was conducted in partnership with Georgetown Law School’s Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, provides many new insights into this growing part of the legal market. The types of ALSPs covered by the study include independent legal process outsourcers, managed services providers, various types of staffing solutions, the Big 4 accounting firms, and even captive LPOs and service centers owned by law firms.

One of the key findings from the study is that the use of ALSPs is no longer simply a matter of cost savings. Both firms and in-house legal departments are choosing to partner with ALSPs because of the specialized expertise they provide. That can be a specific legal expertise, but it can also mean expertise in managing a specific type of legal process that may be missing in the buyer’s organization.

Throughout sessions during the CLOC Institute, ALSPs were mentioned on various panels as a key to legal operations departments’ efforts to properly resource the legal work of their organizations. ALSPs also were mentioned as a primary channel for the delivery of advanced technologies, as a combination of technology and services (see the Report from the CLOC Institute: A Measured Approach to Artificial Intelligence).

The full LEI ALSP report is available here.