Teaching Cases

UnitedLex: A Catalyst for Digital Transformation? (2019)

Mari Sako & Richard Parnham

The legal services sector, just like consulting, is said to be on the cusp of disruption. But what strategies can new entrants pursue to disrupt a professional service sector marked by a high degree of conservatism? This teaching case describes the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation – a type of disruption – from the point of view of UnitedLex, a relatively new law company with in-house corporate legal departments and law firms as clients. The case spells out the history of changes in the global legal sector, from the rise of legal process outsourcing (LPO) providers in the 1990s to today’s alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) including law companies and the Big Four audit firms; the types of services that UnitedLex provides; and the alliances it forged with various ecosystem partners including technology providers. How can UnitedLex create value for clients? Can it capture value better by being a modular provider or an integrated solutions provider? How can it best ally with providers of legal technology involving Artificial Intelligence?  What options are available to scale substantially?

The case can be used for MBA and executive programmes for professional service firms to teach about (a) the impact of digital technology on industry structure, and (b) strategies for creating and capturing value in global value chains from a supplier perspective.

View the case report.

Reputational Challenges of Outsourcing Public Services: Manus Island Regional Processing Centre (2015)

Governments outsource their services to private sector companies.  But what are the reputational challenges for these private sector companies, and how can they manage and mitigate reputational risks?  This case describes the case of an immigration detention centre in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, operated by G4S and later Transfield Services on behalf of the Government of Australia. The case starts with the history of the Australian Government’s immigration policy which led to the privatization of government-run detention centres and the establishment of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre (MIRPC); the impact of the centre on the local economy on the island; the conditions of refugees held at the centre; and the business models of G4S and Transfield Services. What is the proper role of the state?  What is (and should be) the proper role of business in government outsourcing? And what options are available to business corporations in managing the non-market environment of delivering public services?

The case can be used for MBA and executive programmes to teach about (a) government-industry relations, (b) corporate reputation and mitigating reputational risks, and (c) stakeholder engagement.

View Case A.

View Case B.

Evalueserve: Globalizing the Business of Giving Insight? Case A and Case B (2009)

Marc Vollenweider, co-founder and CEO of Evalueserve, a knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) company with a presence in India, Romania, China, and Chile, is considering the next stage in the growth of the company after a successful decade.  Recent discussions with major clients point to consulting as a possible next avenue for growth. Should Evalueserve enter consulting? If so, how? Can it continue to draw a clear distinction between research and consulting? How should Evalueserve alter the way it cultivates its client base going forward?  Answers to these questions have implications for branding, client engagement models, and managing talent.

Case A describes Evalueserve’s approach to managing growth by expanding its service offerings and global presence.  The case starts with the establishment and development of the company, before laying out how the company has moved up the value chain in investment banking and other professional services.  The case also describes the nature of relationship with clients and implications for talent management. Case B provides an update, with an increasing emphasis on technology as a driver for growth. The cases can be used for MBA and executive programmes on global strategy and professional services.

View Case A.

View Case B.

Please contact Mari Sako if you wish to use any of the cases for teaching.