What are alternative legal service providers?
The post pandemic world has permanently changed how people expect to receive legal services. Since COVID legal services have now become virtual, accessible, and faster. Client meetings that used to take place in person at an office, now take place online. Clients now have more choice and are able to receive legal services at their convenience at any time or in any place.
The cost-of-living crisis has also changed client expectations. Many potential clients can no longer afford to pay large retainers on account and be charged by the hour when seeking family law services. Clients now demand affordable and more efficient legal services. Alternative legal service providers, often referred to as ALSPs, offer a modern, innovative, and cost-effective solution that supports the legal needs of their clients. They provide value for money and specialised legal services that complement or, in some cases, replace the previous traditional approaches. The traditional model of instructing a Solicitor to handle legal matters is no longer the only option.
How are alternative legal service providers different from law firms?
An alternative legal service provider is not, and does not pretend to be a firm of Solicitors. An ALSP is a legal service business that provides one or more services that law firms or Solicitors would traditionally offer, but in a different way, often at a far lower cost.
Some legal services are ‘reserved activities’ and can only be carried out by regulated professionals such as Solicitors. These include the conduct of litigation, the right to appear before and address a court, dealing with the transfer of land or property, and taking oaths and swearing affidavits. The provision of legal advice or assistance in relation to divorce or family law is not a reserved activity. As ALSP’s do not usually conduct reserved activities such as litigation, they can offer their clients greater value for money, expertise, innovation, and a less contentious experience.
We started The Divorce and Family Law Specialists as an alternative service provider precisely for that reason. We strongly believe that everyone should have access to the best legal help regardless of their income or financial situation. Using over 30 years of experience and expertise in Divorce and Family Law as legal professionals with backgrounds as Solicitors, Mediators and Collaborative lawyers, we believe there is a better way to resolve divorce and family law matters without resorting to expensive court battles where often the only winners are the lawyers. We work jointly with couples to help them reach a better and more amicable and cost-effective way to end their relationship without going to Court and conflict.
All our services are provided online, and all our fees are fixed. We do not ask for monies on account, charge in 6-minute units, use hourly rates or deliver monthly bills. We offer greater predictability and transparency in the legal services we provide. Our services can be used to resolve a wide range of issues including:
- Agreeing the terms of cohabitation if you plan to start living together.
- Negotiations to help you achieve a fair financial split if you are ending your relationship.
- Agreement as to the terms of your separation, divorce, or dissolution of civil partnership.
- Co-parenting issues.
- Maintenance issues.
We have found that clients today do not want to pay for time spent on tasks that they can easily perform. Accordingly, engagement with an ALSP is usually on a Pay As You Go basis where they are instructed to act in one or more specific legal tasks that the clients cannot perform themselves such as help with reaching a divorce financial settlement or the preparation of a Consent Order.
What are the benefits of alternative legal service providers?
Clients now expect greater predictability, value for money and transparency in the legal services they are provided. ALSPs meet this demand by delivering legal solutions in the way clients want. Their very value proposition is based on providing legal services in a different, more affordable client focused way to traditional law firms and Solicitors. The benefits include:
Cost savings: ALSPs often offer their services at a lower and fixed cost compared to traditional law firms. Because ALSPs don’t bill based on the time they spend on work, a client does not have to worry about extra hours costing them more money.
Greater transparency and cost certainty – With most alternative legal service providers you know exactly how much you will pay upfront, as the fees are often fixed and there are no hidden costs. This departure from the traditional hourly billing model is helpful for keeping to a budget and greater cost certainty.
Critical thinking & problem solving – The key focus and objective for the alternative legal service providers and their client is to keep a case out of Court. Accordingly, ALSP’s are adept at analysing legal scenarios and formulating creative tailor-made solutions. They apply critical thinking skills to assess risks, identify options, and devise strategies that align with their clients’ goals and objectives to reach an amicable solution.
Legal expertise and specialization – As alternative legal service providers provide specialised legal services, they often have an extended network of other professionals they can rely on to provide expert advice and opinion. In the area of divorce and family law these include Accountants, Independent Financial Advisers, Divorce Coaches, Arbitrators, and counsellors who can offer 360-degree solutions.
Less conflict – Divorce and family law cases only become expensive if they become contentious and end up in Court. An ALSP’s objective is to help clients stay out of Court and instead focus on finding alternative methods of dispute resolution to avoid acrimony and conflict.
Quicker – An average contested divorce or family case can take 24 months from start to finish. By contrast most cases that avoid litigation or Court proceedings can be concluded within 6-8 months.
More client focused – Unlike the traditional law-firm pyramid of partners bringing in the work and the more junior lawyers undertaking it; with alternative legal service providers you are in contact with the specialist who is actually doing the work. You can be assured that you have the expertise you need when you need it.
In a rapidly evolving and changing legal landscape, alternative legal service providers are here to stay as they provide a valuable alternative in meeting legal needs. Their versatility in dealing with matters in a less litigious way makes them a compelling choice for individuals seeking a more cost effective and better way to resolve their legal issues.
Frequently asked questions
What do alternative legal service provider do?
Alternative legal service providers are businesses that provide high-demand legal services such as divorce, family law and Will writing. They provide legal services in a different, more affordable client focused way to traditional law firms and Solicitors.
Does a provider of alternative legal services have to be authorised by the SRA?
No, as long as the provider of alterative legal services only provides non-reserved legal services, it does not need to be authorised by the SRA.