Crafty Counsel, together with partners LexisNexis and Obelisk Support, takes a deeper look at Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs).

  • What exactly are they?
  • Why would you use them?
  • What will they do for you and your team?
  • How can using ALSPs help with driving innovation?
  • What about the budget?

All these questions, and more, are answered in a six-part video series in which Jamie Fraser, CEO and Founder of NineNineSix Solutions and General Counsel at Wedo, interviews industry experts to delve into the ALSP landscape.

In the fourth video in the series, Jamie speaks to Emma Dickin, Head of Practice Area Group In-House Strategy at LexisNexis, and Natalie Salunke, the General Counsel at Zilch, about when in-house lawyers would use ALSPs.

It depends on the problem

For Natalie it the first step is to establish what exactly the problem is, and the next step is to ask what service provider would be best placed to solve that problem. Whether it is a big contract management project or e-discovery, there will be an ALSP that can assist with the specific solution.

Another consideration when looking for a solution provider is whether they are a cultural fit with your company. Natalie seeks out service providers that have a similar approach to creative problem solving that she champions because she is looking for an extension of her in-house legal team.

Other considerations when deciding who to outsource legal work to

Emma lists several questions to ask when deciding what service provider to outsource work to:

  1. What are you trying to do and what ALSP would support that work?
  2. What exactly are your aims?
  3. What should stay in-house and what can be outsourced?

Emma says it is important to dissect the work currently being done in-house and to be realistic about what an ALSP can do. There may be some tasks that are better done in-house than to be outsourced.

Tasks that are high value and require a reasonable amount of strategic thinking and actual business knowledge may be best done by the in-house team, while lower value, routine tasks could more easily be delegated to an ALSP.

Affordability of ALSP solutions

The services provided by ALSPs are in general cheaper than those offered by law firms. For Natalie what makes ALSPs attractive is also the way in which they price their solutions, which makes them more cost effective than the traditional law firm model.

How to build the case for using an ALSP with the business?

Emma says in-house legal teams need to be very clear about why they need external services and why the investment will be worth it.

She says the same principle applies to a business case for an ALSP as they do for any business case.

The business needs to know:

  1. What exactly is the problem?
  2. Why would an ALSP be able to solve that problem?
  3. You need to be prepared to present your research to the business and illustrate that you have looked at all available options.
  4. Be very clear on how much money it will cost the business.
  5. Explain how the ALSP will support the team and what the consequences will be if external support is not approved.

Crafty Counsel has created a guide to ALSPs, which is available at The guide provides a map of this new landscape. There are many providers out there offering different kinds of services, from contract repapering to flexible resourcing.

We would love to hear your feedback. ​​We want to hear your thoughts about the ALSP Guide and your experiences with ALSPs.