Companies can profit from turning in-house counsels into ABSs. Outsourcing legal dictation allows you to maximise this profit by reducing cost.

Companies and larger organisations are looking into the possibility of registering their legal departments as alternative business structures (ABSs) to profit from their in-house function. Transcription Global are interested in how they can work with these companies to exploit the fee-earning capabilities of their in-house counsel by outsourcing legal dictation and reducing costs.

Challenges of in-house counsel

LexisNexis, who have been researching how the new regulatory regime will affect in-house lawyers, has warned companies who are keen on the idea that they will need to address a number of issues such as competition, complexity of structure and administration burdens. On top of this, the standing of legal professional privilege (LLP) is not clear.

Bruce Macmillan, general counsel of the Legal Services Board, claims the benefits and challenges from becoming ABS were the same as setting up any law firm.

In an accompanying guide to in-house counsel from LexisNexis, there are certain circumstances where the introduction of the ABS structure should be prioritised if it is not already in place:

• If the company’s accountants do, or wish to, cross charge the provision of legal services from the employing company to other group companies, joint venture partner companies or trade associations, “then you may need to think carefully about whether your department needs to become an ABS”.
• If the department is involved in a lot of work where LPP is important (possibly including EU competition law), “then you might find that there is value in having your law department established as a law firm within your corporate group”.
• Structuring as an ABS may allow in-house counsel to create a shared service centre with other non-competing entities for certain legal functions (in the way that is becoming prevalent in local government).
• Businesses already offering services to customers could make legal services a part of this package. “The legal department could proactively add value to the business through suggesting this now.”
• Becoming an ABS could be a necessary step to ensure regulatory compliance if the department is revenue generating, holding client money, undertaking reserved legal activities pro bono, or engaged in debt recovery.

Tip for maximising profit

Transcription Global can assist companies looking to turn their in-house counsel teams into an ABS by taking some of the administrative burden off their hands. If companies are really keen to capitalise on the profit from their in-house legal function then the costs and overheads of expanding to meet market demand will need to be carefully considered. We can save in-house counsel teams and ABSs’ money by removing the requirement for a legal secretary to type your dictation. We employ highly experienced legal secretaries based in England to do this for you, saving you money on the physical costs of having somebody sat in the office but also saving you time which would be otherwise spent on typing the dictation yourself. This ensures that the only people in your office are the fee-earners, the ones who will be making you money. We have a qualified, dedicated legal co-ordinator who allocates, proof reads and quality assures your files before they are returned to you using our bespoke file manager in a simple and secure manner. Our turnaround time is also super quick, so there is no waiting around for documents to be sent to clients and vice versa.

Image credit: Alex E. Proimos