eDiscovery Daily Blog

ALSP – Not Just Your Daddy’s LPO: eDiscovery Trends

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom also wrote a terrific four part informational overview on Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) titled eDiscovery and the GDPR: Ready or Not, Here it Comes (and participated with me on a webcast on the same topic) and wrote another terrific five part informational overview on Understanding eDiscovery in Criminal Cases.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding Alternative Legal Service Providers titled ALSP – Not Just Your Daddy’s LPO that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into four parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Here’s the first part.


One of the biggest topics of discussion at the recent Legaltech® conference in New York was Alternative Legal Service Providers or ALSPs.  I was interested in the topic really because I was confused as to what the term ALSP meant. Like several other people I spoke with at the show, I originally considered an ALSP to be just a newer name that marketers had given to legal process outsourcing or LPO.

LPO was, of course, the exporting of legal services to low-wage markets either overseas (off-shore) or in the United States (on-shore). The LPO trend had been fueled by many factors, including:

  • Globalization
  • The rising cost of legal services
  • The growth of the Internet
  • Increased automation of legal processes
  • Developments in data security

In my experience, LPO offerings tended to be focused primarily on low cost document coding or data entry and were utilized primarily by law firms. But the recent rise of ALSP services, which have LPO characteristics, seems to be fueled by corporate law departments that are interested in partners providing software built specifically for their legal and compliance needs.

These growth factors for ALSPs are illustrated in a report from The Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, in partnership with the Georgetown University Law Centre for the Study of the Legal Profession and the University of Oxford Saïd Business School titled The 2017 Alternative Legal Service Study – Understanding the Growth and Benefits of These New Legal Providers (you can download a copy here)  In this global report, more than 800 law firms and corporations were surveyed, and the results indicated that the growing use of a new generation of ALSPs is largely about expertise, not lower costs, as is often assumed.  Other factors in the growing use of ALSPs noted in the study included scalability, client demand for global solutions and greater access to technological innovations.

My focus for the following discussion will be a closer look at the new generation ALSP and the factors that define it.  We will take a look at what an ALSP is, who is actually using an ALSP, why they use them and how they will impact the provision of legal services in the future.

We’ll publish Part 2 – What is an ALSP? – next Monday.

So, what do you think?  Have you used an ALSP before?  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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