Legal outsourcing also known as legal process outsourcing (LPO) is the practice of delegating temporary legal projects and large amounts of legal work to offshore legal research firms or contract lawyers with the goal of saving costs and time. This is possible by using the work force of countries with lower wages such as India through leveraging economies of scale by replacing qualified workers with automated commoditized work or by hiring a qualified attorney or paralegal in another country to do routine work that would cost more if done by someone working in-house.
Benefits of outsourcing
The benefits of outsourcing are more obvious when there are more complex and time demanding projects at stake. Solo attorneys, smaller law firms and boutique law practices can choose to outsource cases that are too big for them handle on their own. Midsize and large firms can afford to offer more competitive billing rates as they outsource their work to legal subcontractors who in turn provide significant discounts for the volume of work that these firms brings. Legal process outsourcing can allow you to offer the same services while paying a fraction of the cost that would be necessary had you hired a full time associate or paralegal.
What are the downsides of LPO?
The increase in legal outsourcing has led to more than law firms and attorneys to use such services. Many larger firms including Fortune 500 companies have taken notice of this trend and have decided to outsource their legal needs to offshore legal companies for much lower costs, thus eliminating the US law firm, which is in essence a middleman. The process avoids “unauthorized practice of law” penalties by having a local law firm or a in-house legal department look over and approve the outsourced work.
The economic downturn has motivated everyone to cut costs. Everyone can benefit from outsourcing legal work, regardless if it’s the more mechanical, mundane and time-consuming type of work or if it’s something like drafting a complex legal brief.