Blog Post

How to Choose the Right ALSP Partner

September 30, 2022



The general counsel of a company shakes hands with their new ALSP representative after learning how to choose an ALSP partner.
The general counsel of a company shakes hands with their new ALSP representative after learning how to choose an ALSP partner.


How to Choose the Right ALSP Partner

You know your legal department or law firm practice needs help. You’ve recently lost key members of your legal team, or you have an influx of work causing you to fall behind in other areas. You’ve heard about ALSPs as a possible solution but are unsure what that process looks like and where to begin. Taking time to plan and prepare for using and hiring an ALSP can increase the odds of successful integration with your team, leading to more effective legal operations and workflows. With our guide, learn how to choose the right ALSP partner and unlock the potential of your legal department. 

Key takeaways

  • You need to identify the needs of your legal department to better evaluate prospective ALSP partners. 
  • Prepare yourself and your organization for integrating legal workflows with an ALSP.
  • Create a roadmap to visualize successful ALSP partnerships and identify related KPIs.
  • Understand the operations of a potential ALSP and how that aligns with your legal department.

Identify the Needs of Your Legal Department

Before setting out to find your perfect ALSP match, it’s important to carefully consider what it is you’re hoping to accomplish with its services. Do you need temporary support for an upcoming deal or litigation matter? Alternatively, you might be a small general counsel office that can’t justify the cost of hiring full-time legal talent but could still benefit from extra support. 

Aside from the duration of your ALSP’s scope, you should consider the nature of the services you need. The services of an ALSP can vary greatly from company to company. A particular ALSP may only offer a single skillset (e.g., contract management or eDiscovery), or it could offer a full suite of legal services capable of supporting an entire backend of your legal department. Alternatively, you may need legal services that require advanced expertise (e.g., in the case of regulatory compliance within a particular industry or sector). 

A sizeable share of corporations in Canada and other parts of the world use ALSPs for a variety of services like document review and research.
A sizeable share of corporations in Canada and other parts of the world use ALSPs for a variety of services like document review and research.

Clearly articulating what you want to achieve by using an ALSP will put you in a better position to evaluate options and find the match that best fits your needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself during this stage of the process:

  • What are the causes of the problems facing your legal department (e.g., employee turnover, manual processes, new business developments, budget issues, etc.)?
  • Is employee turnover due to unmanageable employee workloads? Is there a considerable amount of this work that shares common characteristics, for example, highly repeatable tasks that require a level of legal skill but which are at a volume that your team cannot keep up with?
  • Are your legal department’s problems temporary or permanent? Do you need a variety of legal services across different practice areas or a particular service? 

Prepare Your Legal Department for Integration with Your ALSP

Bringing a third-party legal service provider into your organization’s fold might feel like trying to solve one problem by creating several new ones during the integration process. This is most likely when a general counsel or other decision-maker does not fully prepare themselves for the integration process before hiring the ALSP. Understand what you will need to successfully onboard the ALSP with your legal team to minimize friction and reach your end goal of more efficient legal operations sooner. 

Some items to consider when meeting with prospective ALSPs may include:

  • What kind of authority or permissions will you need from within your organization to approve partnering with the ALSP (e.g., needing placement on an approved panel list)?
  • Who are the individuals or teams that will have the most direct communication with the ALSP? What do you need to know from them in advance?
  • What security clearance, background checks, credentials, or other prerequisites will you need from the ALSP or the individuals they use?

Create a Roadmap of What Success with Your Chosen ALSP Will Be

Choosing the right ALSP partner is about visualizing success, so you can properly evaluate potential candidates and ensure they align with your legal department’s needs. Creating a roadmap of that success takes the legal service needs you identified above and places measurables on their achievement. 

List some KPIs for determining success so you can communicate these hopes with a prospective ALSP. This will allow you to ask further about the realities and logistics of what you’re hoping to achieve. Furthermore, you can better understand the ALSP’s ability and preparedness to execute. For example, you might ask an ALSP providing contract management services about the hours needed to catalog the terms of 500 commercial leases. 

Understanding AI and other tools your chosen ALSP partner uses can overcome fears of data security, trust, or user-friendliness.
AI Software Market in Legal Industry – Growth, Trends, Covid-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 – 2027)

Learn as Much as Possible About Your Prospective ALSP Partner

Knowledge is power when it comes to finding an ALSP partner that will best serve your legal department. Not only do you need a strong sense of your organization’s key information, but you also need to know as much as possible about the ALSP. Again, a successful ALSP relationship requires visualization of how future legal operations will happen. Understanding how your ALSP partner functions is a critical part of those legal operations and will reduce the risk of surprises later on. 

Take the time to ask representatives of the ALSP some of the following:

  • How do their fee arrangements work (e.g., flat rate or hourly)?
  • Where do they source their legal talent?
  • Who will your team members speak with from the ALSP on a daily or regular basis?
  • Will they use software, AI, or other tools to provide their services? Can you get a demo?

In this video, Exigent GC Summit attendees explain how they shopped Exigent…

Consider Exigent as Your Legal Department’s Chosen ALSP Partner

Exigent realizes the administrative and cost burden many legal operations can place on a general counsel or other law groups. We are an ALSP that offers cost-effective solutions to your company’s many legal workflow problems through our intelligent use of data and legal technology. Those attributes, paired with our experienced legal talent, allow us to meet deliverables timely and without sacrificing the trust that comes from being able to build personal connections with our representatives. 

We offer a wide range of legal technology and automation solutions for general counsels and law firms on a global scale. Explore our litigation and transactional offerings and consider reaching out about an RFP or any questions you may have.

Contact Exigent today for a consultation about our alternative legal services.