Case Study / Alternative Services Research
Top North American firm wanted to explore offering alternative legal services.
With the proliferation of alternative legal service providers, our client wanted to explore the viability of their providing similar services to their clients, wondering if offering lower-end services would in any way tarnish their brand image. As is often the case, there was a time crunch; they were seeking material findings in time for their partner meeting – two-months hence.
After clearly understanding our client’s issues and concerns, we recommended and executed a three-prong market research program (following a review of extant research, reports, etc. for industry insights). We interviewed three distinct cohorts who, together, would provide a robust “picture” of the industry in terms of the adoption of alternative legal services and attendant issues in doing so.
First, we interviewed a wide range of the firm’s clients to assess their needs for lower-end types of legal services and gauge how their view of the firm might change were our client to offer these kinds of services. We also interviewed those at (non-competitive) high-end firms who had previously launched similar services to capture learning from their experiences, “watch outs” – and ask, “What do you wish you knew before you launched?” Finally, we interviewed several of the top alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) – also called New Law to gain insights from their perspectives working with clients and law firms.
As we do in any assignment, we keep our clients up to date on progress. In this instance, we provided weekly written reports on the status of our interviews accompanied by weekly update calls.
We provided to our client an interim report well in time for their partner retreat – and a final report (once all interviews were complete) including conclusions and concrete recommendations for them to act on.
Our desk research and interviews conclusively determined is that there is a large and growing demand for lower-end, commoditized legal services (especially as these services become increasingly sophisticated). Of keen importance to our client, our research concluded that far from tarnishing their image were they to launch these services – their clients would think much more highly of them, lauding the idea as “solutions oriented” and “innovative.” Further, based on our broad and deep industry perspective and where our client could add value to clients seeking solutions for their lower-end work – we were able to develop and recommend a positioning that would distinguish themselves versus competitive options.