Legal Process Outsourcing (“LPO”) is becoming a trend in Europe and America as it beneficial in many respects including reduced costs and more work being completed faster. Many corporations such as General Electric, Microsoft and Philips believe in LPO and now more medium and smaller sized entities are following suit.
Law firms themselves are also seeing the benefits of offshoring to overseas firms as they still retain the client but minimise their costs.
They are also under pressure to do so from their corporate based in house legal counsel and clients who are now aware of LPO.
The immediate and obvious advantage to clients and legal firms affecting this coordinated global effort is one of cost as work is sent to a lower cost jurisdiction like India, South Africa or the Philippines.
It permits the overseas firms to handle the case strategy and other specialised legal issues whilst the time consuming document review, initial drafting et al will continue at the same time, around the clock and around the world.
The clients who send us, Dingley Attorneys, legal offshoring work mention the following matters as beneficial:
- their cost savings reportedly range between 60-80% and include savings on labour costs, hourly charge rates, operational costs and rental;
- the first language of all attorneys in our firm is English and therefore we share a lingua franca;
- we have English qualified lawyers practising at Dingley Attorneys and attorneys with experience from working in the United States and Canada;
- many of our South African qualified lawyers have worked in the legal profession in the UK and US and have worked both in house and in law firms;
- our lawyers are all highly educated, some with Masters degrees;
- high quality, less expensive work is produced timeously;
- turn-around time when outsourcing work from America to us has been fast as we are working on the brief as soon as American lawyers leave the office and the result is often produced and ready for review when they return to work the following morning. In addition, our attorneys make themselves available for conference calls after hours;
- in the UK, we have been praised by being available throughout our working day and outside office hours for conference calls;
- we provide a quick and ready supply of labour for large projects which allows overseas firms not to employ lawyers who are not needed all of the time, thereby reducing employment costs and human resources management and increasing flexibility and efficiency;
- we are able to enter into a non-disclosure agreement if required albeit that we are subject to the strict rules of the local Law Society;
- we are a medium and intimate enough firm to ensure that all work is supervised and carried out professionally;
- the South African legislative framework is similar enough that our clients feel protected if anything were to go wrong;
- client’s felt further comfort when informed about our Law Societies and the disciplinary actions that can be taken against attorneys in various unethical scenarios;
- smaller or medium sized law firms appreciate our added pool of talent upon which to draw;
- we are often seen as a new tier on the traditional pyramid;
- clients appreciated being shown examples of our work so that they felt assured that we produced quality work;
- we focus on IT, both IT law and the IT we use in the office. We have professionals qualified in law and also in IT and software programming. We are therefore praised for being on the cutting edge of technology; and
- clients enjoy not having to deal with employment management and human resources.
Currently we are able to assist offshore clients with document review, eDiscovery, draft witness statements, pre or post trial litigation support, drafting complaints, legal publishing, intellectual property (IP), contract services and management, opinions, contract drafting (sometimes only first drafts), legal research, legal compliance and due diligence.
We are a flexible firm and price our offshoring work depending on the nature of the work itself and what the client’s constraints and desires are. This may be a price per page (preferred for smaller projects), hourly rates (better for potentially changeable specifications) or a fixed price (which suits most models).