The Great Recession of 2008 forced the legal industry to re-engineer itself and do more with fewer resources. In particular, General Counsels (GCs) were pressured to reduce their overall legal spend, which in turn forced law firms to look for ways to streamline legal service delivery. Consequently, over time, Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) clients have expanded the use and scope of legal outsourcing services, which has contributed to the wide range of services offered today.
In the last decade, LPOs have taken their conventional stand-alone service offerings, such as legal support, legal research, and IP, and packaged them into sophisticated, end-to-end solutions.
Litigation document review was a major force in the growth of the industryand is a staple of the LPO diet. However, today, LPOs offer benefits beyond cost-effective document review. ManyLPOsnow provide end-to-end services across the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). Furthermore, a number of LPOs have developed proprietary e-discovery technology that seamlessly manages the process from data collection to review. Similarly, the scope of corporate services has evolved intohigher-end work involving contract drafting, revision and negotiation; M&A due diligence; and contract management and abstraction.
Unlike the early days of the LPO industry, in-house and outside counsel today are considering LPO as part of their overall business strategy, and are working with LPO providers to bundle services in longer term contracts. This development illustrates a major shift in how LPO is viewed by clients. Rather than a vendor that is hired to cut costs, LPOs are increasingly regarded as strategic partners.
New Service Offerings
LPOs are providing clients with on-site project managers who are essentially seconded for a period of time to work side-by-side with the client. Also, LPOs are beginning to offer a myriad of services involving governance, risk and compliance matters to help clientsaddress increased regulatory oversight. This is a growing facet of the LPO industry, which further reinforces the tangible value of the LPO model beyond cost savings.
New On-shoring Options
Although India remains the top location for offshore work, new onshore options in the US and the UK are gaining steam. On-shoring still offers a cost-savings, but is a good option for clients who want or must have legal work performed locally.
In the early 2000s, we witnessed the humble birth of the LPO industry, and today we are watching it graduate into a vibrant, global industry with much to offer the legal industry. By all indications, the next decade will be even more interesting to behold.
The Global Outsourcing Association of Lawyers (GOAL) is the world’s first membership-based, non-political international organization for the legal outsourcing industry. Founded and mentored by global legal and outsourcing experts, GOAL’s mission is to promote the welfare, interests, education, and professional development of all parties involved in today’s legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry.