Step-in rights and other remedies: law firm outsourcing
Step-in rights and other remedies: law firm outsourcing

The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Step-in rights and other remedies: law firm outsourcing
  • Key terms
  • Remedies
  • Step-in rights
  • Service credits
  • Liquidated damages
  • Termination
  • Choosing the right remedy—alternatives to step-in rights

This Practice Note explains the usual remedies for breach of an outsourcing agreement, with a particular focus on step-in rights and their interaction with other remedies. It also discusses the practical aspects of enforcing step-in rights and the key concerns that commonly arise in negotiations about step-in rights.

Key terms

ABS alternative business structure regulated by the SRA—characterised by the involvement of non-lawyer owners and/or managers
firm solicitor practice or ABS
solicitor practice sole practitioner, partnership, LLP or company owned and managed by lawyers
SRA Solicitors Regulation Authority


An outsourcing agreement will typically include a raft of remedies that you can call on in the event of supplier default or other situations where you may need to interpose in the provision of the relevant services. The main remedies are:

  1. step-in rights, ie the right to temporarily intervene in the provision of the services: see Step-in rights below

  2. service credits—an amount that is offset against what you owe the supplier to compensate for its failure to achieve agreed service levels: see Service credits below

  3. liquidated damages, ie the parties