The Value of Utilizing LSP Talent to Shift Your Counsel’s Focus
Our blog series this year has highlighted how legal teams today continuously search for defensible tools that are innovative and improve ROI without reducing efficiencies. While AI is a key tool, some traditional functions and roles are also essential to holistically transform eDiscovery and other legal tasks. The culture of the legal industry is changing. Organizations should determine how to maximize processes by determining which internal resources and external partners are best suited to accomplish tasks efficiently and economically. Legal transformation requires leveraging AI technology, but also taking a critical and overdue look at the human component.
The Evolving Role of LSPs
According to the market, areas where the corporate client has started to pivot and understand how legal services providers (LSPs) can deliver value on par with law firm associates and partners, include:
- Second-level review quality control
- Privilege logging
- Deposition key document identification
- Deposition outline and binder preparation
- Deposition digest creation/transcript summarization and dissemination
- Fact and timeline creation
- Fact and expert witness preparation
- Trial preparation
All of these traditional “second-level” legal tasks can see improved quality, efficiencies, and ROI by leveraging knowledgeable professionals who performed first-level review or early case assessment in the matter at hand. Utilizing attorneys familiar with the case documents allows knowledge application and understanding for increased benefit to the matter, counsel, and corporate client. In most cases, this resource is, can be, and should be, the LSP.
Some areas of law commonly use the same process and forms that can be assigned to LSPs. This includes: the following:
- Personal injury/slip and fall
- Workers compensation
- Bankruptcy or compliance claims investigation
Spending time up-front to develop templates and forms for these matters can allow the LSP to take on the bulk of the work under counsel’s guidance. This labor shift frees up outside counsel for higher value-add tasks while simultaneously allowing the client to benefit from the LSP’s reduced rates.
LSPs and Outside Counsel
The paradigm shift discussed above is not because law firms cannot perform these tasks well. Rather, this is not the area where outside counsel adds the most value. Since other professionals like your LSP can step in and provide increased value, shifting tasks benefits both the client and outside counsel. It allows law firm personnel to focus on the more substantive areas of work and not get bogged down in repetitive tasks for which they may lack some of the in-depth carryover knowledge from the underlying review or ECA efforts.
LSPs who work routinely with a corporate client can also deploy their technical skills to identify trends and patterns in cases that might be helpful to the corporate client, e.g., particular departments that are seeing types of behavior generating legal issues. In that sense, it’s a win-win-win: law firms focus on the areas where their knowledge and skill are differentiators; LSPs pick up increased work, including those that benefit from templates or the application of knowledge and work product gained early on in a matter; and the client gets a more systematic and higher-value outcome.
Maximizing Skill and Talent
Now is the time to explore how LSPs can defensibly free up outside counsel so they can focus on higher value-add tasks. This requires a collaborative and innovative mindset. When thinking about employee satisfaction, retention, and career development ensuring each person is assigned engaging work commensurate with their expertise and knowledge level is an important consideration. This paradigm leads to happier, more engaged professionals and improved client satisfaction. Most chefs can prep a salad, but is that the best use of their time? Utilizing a sous-chef for these tasks gives the chef time to focus on the strategy of designing the menu and ensuring all components are delivered well. It is not just about contributing to the project, but making sure that everyone contributes in a way that maximizes skill and talent. Allowing your LSP to work on second-level review, deposition and witness preparation, and highly repeatable templatized legal tasks makes this possible.