Until fairly recently, if a company needed legal services, it really only had two practical alternatives: 1) it could hire one or more attorneys in-house to handle its needs, or 2) it could utilize external law firms to handle its needs on a case-by-case basis.
In recent years, however, we have seen an increase in alternative legal service models. One of these is the concept of outsourcing either all or part of your businesses legal needs to an external service provider on an ongoing basis.
Outsourcing can have many benefits such as: 1) lowering operational and labor costs, 2) gaining access to a wide-range of legal area expertise, and 3) greater flexibility in managing your resourcing by allowing you to use more resources in one area when needed, and stop using them when they are no longer needed. Another benefit of outsourcing is that it is very flexible and allows for tailor made solutions.
Below are four scenarios where a company might benefit from outsourcing. Do any of them describe your company’s needs?
The empty nest (no internal lawyers at all). In this scenario, a company can benefit by outsourcing all its legal needs to an external provider. They can secure a team of lawyers, headed by a general counsel type, tailor made to suit all its legal needs. As the company’s needs change, so can the legal team’s members. In this way, a company can secure the expertise of a large in-house legal department, complete with general counsel, at a mere fraction of the cost.
The lonely lawyer (one in-house lawyer). While this company has a general counsel, chances are that this one lawyer is not be able to handle all the company’s specific legal needs. Outsourcing allows this lawyer to essentially act as the general counsel, while utilizing a tailor made outsourced legal team to handle the day-to-day issues that require more specific expertise.
The dedicated few (small in-house team) In this scenario the company utilizes its small in-house team to handle the lion share of the day-to-day issues. As it still lacks resources in all areas, however (such as Privacy, and HR), it can utilize an outsourced team, which works with its in-house team on an ongoing basis, as if they were a single unit.
The Land of Far Far Away (International subsidiaries of a global company) International subsidiaries often resemble empty nests or lonely lawyer situations. However, global companies can gain the same benefits by outsourcing either all or part of their subsidiaries’ legal needs to an outside provider.
Today’s outsourcing options provide companies ways to cover a wider range of their legal needs with less risk and less cost than traditional options.
The times really are a-changin.