The power of alternative legal service providers in the US has been revealed in a new legal index with Thomson Reuters at the top with the Big Four not far behind.
Thomson Reuters is the top brand for alternative legal services, according to new research. Senior in-house counsel were asked to name organisations that provide legal services, excluding law firms, that first come to mind, along with those they most favoured. According to Acritas, the legal industry is fixated on distinguishing work delivered by lawyers and non-lawyers but in reality, clients just want effective solutions to their broad portfolio of work. In the US, Thomson Reuters ranked top for all three index measures: awareness, favourability and innovation. Lizzy Duffy, VP of Acritas US said: 'Thomson Reuters’ investment in technology is coming through strongly as the underlying reason why senior in-house counsel are attracted to their offer. Their products and services are enabling legal departments to innovate and drive efficiency in how they organise and conduct their legal work.'
The rise of Axiom
Axiom Legal Services is the second strongest brand overall followed by Lexis Nexis. Axiom has almost tripled its top of mind awareness level since 2013 in the US, underscoring the rising threat of alternatives to law firms. Ms Duffy added: 'Axiom is favored for its high quality, flexibility and pricing model. Recent news of Axiom’s client wins shows it is successful in rising up the value chain.' The data behind LexisNexis’ ranking also highlights clients’ current needs as the firm stands out for its technology which is ‘easy to use’ and offers a ‘flexible solution’.
The accountancy challenge
Closely ranked in 4th and 5th places are Deloitte Legal and PwC Legal. Given the current restrictions on providing legal advice in the US this might seem surprising but further analysis of the data captured by Acritas shows US multinationals turn to the Big Four in other non-US jurisdictions and use them in the US for complementary work such as tax. These ‘alternatives’ are being used by corporate legal departments for an increasing amount of work. Lizzy added: 'Dozens of different brands were mentioned in our study, ranging from technology platforms for research and information to outsourcing models delivering legal work.From the clients’ perspective, one thing is clear: efficiency is king but quality won’t be compromised and with an increasing choice of flexible solutions, it doesn’t have to be.'
Widening range of legal providers
The findings confirm senior in-house counsel are open to buying legal services from a widening range of providers in their drive to deliver the greatest possible value for their organizations. A growing number of companies are implementing technology enabled solutions to help access know-how and organize work, utilizing flexible and agile resources to fulfil fluctuating work volume and specialized expertise, or instructing professional services advisors who offer a holistic solution. This is the legal industry reality in 2018. The coming years will favor those firms or alternative providers most able to adapt and innovate in this new world.
Acritas’ US Alternative Legal Brand Index 2018 is compiled from analysis of an extract of data from the Sharplegal US survey dataset. All Index data is derived from 276 interviews with respondents, in $1 billion+ revenue organizations across the world, who have senior responsibility for buying legal services.