Outsourcing of specific services is a trend that has swamped nearly all major sectors of trade and commerce. The obvious benefits are being cashed in, so much so that outsourced services are almost running in tandem with mainstream services. However, it took a while for the legal sector to really imbibe the full benefits, though legal outsourcing has its roots in the 1950s when the patent process was all that was outsourced. The first hesitant steps of LPO (Legal Process Outsourcing) were seen in the United States, Canada, Israel, the Philippines and India but legal process outsourcing became a permanent trend in the legal industry just after the global crisis when law firms faced a survival battle. Cost cutting became the need of the hour and what better way than to outsource selected legal services.
Even though LPO is here to stay there is a subtle difference between industries. While in such sectors as tax preparation and insurance whole chunks of activities are outsourced, in the legal sector a lot depends on whether the outsourcing is within the country or offshore. This is because basic legal work has two very important factors – research, preparation and writing of briefs and documentation on one hand and court appearances on the other. Hence, if the outsourced company is within the country comprehensive services can be delegated and legal luminaries of the parent law firm can focus exclusively on client interaction and new business. But if the outsourcing is to an offshore agency, the physical job of presenting the case in court has to be in the control of the law firm.
What then are the main areas of legal outsourcing services that have made outsourcing a permanent trend in the legal industry?
•Dealing with extra work – The legal industry witnessed an exponential growth of business, especially after the global recession and melt down in recent times when even countries felt the heat. There was a rush for hiring expert and professional legal help more so for real estate industry related cases. During this period, legal firms found it advantageous to parcel out routine activities such as research and documentation and focus on representing the client in court. This enabled them to take on more business than the strength of their legal team would have permitted in normal circumstances.
•Advent of specialised outsourcing agencies - Legal process outsourcing services really took off on the back of the rise in expert service providers with each of them specializing in a particular aspect of the legal process thereby offering cutting edge efficient services. Legal firms realised that multi outsourcing their work to different authoritative firms helped them get top end quality work done at highly reduced costs. Hiring equally talented and proficient legal experts for separate areas of specialisation would definitely be a very costly proposition.
The points given here are just examples and not comprehensive in nature of why outsourcing is a permanent trend now in the legal industry. The common denominator running through them is that all legal outsourcing services are available at very affordable rates