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What is Legal Process Outsourcing?

In Legal Process Outsourcing, low complexity legal work received by law firms in developed, English speaking, common law countries, is hived off and sent over the internet to low cost, specialized service providers in India. The work typically involves document management, document review or document drafting tasks. The work is performed by lawyers qualified in the UK. In some cases, the work is supervised by a US/UK qualified lawyer as well.

What Sized Law Firms Would Benefit From Outsourcing?

Firms of varying sizes have realized the benefits of outsourcing. The type of benefit received may differ from firm to firm.

Benefit Segment Served
  Corporates Large Scale Full Service Large Scale Niche Medium Scale Full Service Medium Scale Niche Small Scale Full Service Small Scale Niche
Low Cost Y Y   Y Y    
Scaling Ease     Y   Y    
Improved Process Design Y     Y Y    
Better Resource Allocation   Y   Y   Y  
Leveraging IT Y   Y Y Y    
Time Zone Advantage   Y   Y      
Improved Quality Monitoring Y Y Y Y Y    
Higher Skilled Labor Silent benefit, on the basis of which only retention decisions would be made

Is Legal Process Outsourcing A Complicated, Costly Exercise?

The great thing about Legal Process Outsourcing is that it yields immediate cost savings. Over the long term, process improvement increases profitability as well.

Some degree of supervision is required in the initial stages; however, it’s possible to cut the time, effort and money spent on this by rolling out the outsourcing in two phases. In the first phase, the law firm can stay involved, leading a few choice resources of the outsourcing provider. In the second phase, the outsourcing provider continues on. This ensures control remains in the hands of the firm, with optimal involvement.

Where to Start?

Start with a viability audit, to know what you could send out, and what you could not. These decisions ought to be made on the basis of the firm’s technology, existing processes and growth plans.

The next stage is provider selection; choose from a long list, rather than a short. The market is yet to consolidate, and large players do not necessarily offer the best deal.

Following provider selection, the provider should partner you through transition, pilot and operations.

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