LONDON, July 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The global legal services market was worth about $886 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow to above $1 trillion by 2021. Many domestic law firms are entering into new markets and collaborating with foreign counsels to offer a wide range of services, thereby eliminating boundaries on the geographic scope of law practice. Globalization is gaining momentum due to rapid growth in internet, automation of legal processes and developments in data security. Also, in many parts of the world there was limited demand for more sophisticated services. Now, many clients have expanded globally, thus requiring more sophisticated and internationally-oriented legal service providers with a global reach.
Some law firms are looking at legal networks as an alternative to offer their services in multiple geographical locations. Legal networks are structured networks of small firms that offer tailored services. Advantages of legal networks include central co-ordination, single point billing and local advice delivered through a well-established network. For example, international legal network Globalaw, offered services for a due diligence project on a pharmaceutical divestment worth around €1 billion which involved 18 European countries, where all activities were coordinated within the network.
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The global legal services market is also supported by the critical role that legal services play in supporting law and order, the ability of enterprises or individuals to do business together through contract, and the enforcement of regulations and agreements which underpin capitalist economies.
Increased Merger And Acquisition Activities By Law Firms
Another major factor driving the market is the increased number of global mergers and acquisitions across all industries from 2012-16. For instance, according to a report by the Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA) in 2016, saw 48,992 M&A transactions with an aggregate value of $4.9 trillion across all industries. Companies realigned portfolios and pursued profitable inorganic growth opportunities. In addition, M&A interest was also fueled by stronger corporate balance sheets, liquid debt markets, and continued favorable interest rates. High merger and acquisition activity led to increased demand for legal services such as contract, restructuring, antitrust, and intellectual property advisory services.
Leading merger and acquisition deals in the legal services market include those completed by Dentons, Clark Hill PLC, CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro LLP, Olswang LLP, Keais Records Service, LLC, Plutos Sama, LLC, Locke Lord LLP, Squire Sanders and Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP.
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Alternative Legal Service Models, And Legal Process Outsourcing To Cut Costs
In the legal market place, clients are seeking criminal law assistance from non-lawyer professionals for less serious services. Non-lawyer professionals include paralegal technicians, legal document preparers, legal self-help websites, virtual assistants and offshore legal vendors. These new sources are enabling disadvantaged populations to access civil legal advice services at affordable rates to deal with legal issues such as contract law, patent law, bankruptcy law, tax law and divorce cases. Since legal services costs are rising, new legal delivery models are emerging to offer affordable legal services to a large proportion of the population.
Companies in the legal services industry are shifting towards outsourcing legal services to reduce costs and increase in-house efficiency. This involves outsourcing the work of attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals to companies located either domestically within the country or overseas. Both onshore and offshore outsourcing are transforming the legal services market as legal services companies are looking to minimize costs and increase their in-house capabilities. For instance, many companies in the US and the UK outsource legal services to countries such as India, the Philippines and South Korea, where employees earn 30% to 70% lower wages.
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