This is an interesting article on how law firms look at outsourcing/insourcing services, not just basic infrastructure, but actual legal services to deal with their peeks/troughs. There should be better collaboration between NewLaw and BigLaw. There is space for both in the legal marketplace. One buyer of legal services recently told me that they rarely pay BigLaw firms on their panel for general commercial work or even secondments, but these firms offer these services more as a value-add in exchange for their more complex regulatory/litigation work.
If this really is the case, maybe BigLaw should consider outsourcing such general commercial/secondee work to NewLaw firms they might like to collaborate with, so that they do not have to sit on such large overheads. As with any outsourcing arrangement, key to its success would be engaging a partner with the right skill set and quality control to ensure that the end clients are serviced to a high standard.
It’s not in the mindset of most law firms to engage in voluntary collaboration with service providers, because for so long law firms did it all themselves. But there are rewards to be reaped from efficient collaboration between firms and providers. Two examples come to mind. The first involves the collaboration between DLA and “agile” staffing provider Lawyers on Demand. Under their arrangement, DLA utilizes the lower-priced but highly trained legal expertise of LOD lawyers (many of whom are DLA alums). LOD attorneys bill at significantly lower price points because they are deployed from a service provider model. DLA does not have to “carry” niche lawyers who may not have enough work – or the desire – to meet the 2,000 plus hour annual threshold required to sustain overhead and reap a commensurate profit.