Legal services are traditionally brick and mortar business. They are also traditionally expensive. When the world began to embrace outsourcing as part of the larger movement towards globalization, Legal Process Outsourcing, or LPO for short, emerged as a fast growing and definitely cheaper alternative to the traditional model.
Will Legal Process Outsourcing become the dominant model, time will tell. So far, LPO is growing fast. In 2011 alone the industry saw as much as 34% market growth with over $800 million in market revenue and in 2012, $1 billion revenue with 31% growth, for an average growth rate of 32% per year for the last 3 years. If it maintains this pace, it will not be hard to imagine how LPO will be the dominant legal services model in the next few decades.
Despite the ongoing American crisis, more firms and corporations are attracted to just outsource their routine work simply because of favorable pricing. Outsourcing helps businesses save what would have been millions in legal services fees – while an attorney’s fee in major markets such as in the U.S. range $150 to $1000 per hour when billed hourly for routine work, legal process outsourcing firms in India or the Philippines generally charge a fraction of that.
Legal Process Outsourcing will only get better as it moves along the line. Already, some service providers in India and the Philippines have begun offering expanded services, with higher quality controls and safeguards to instill higher confidence in the ethical treatment of client sensitive data.
As a result, service providers saw more sensitive projects funneled their way, such as litigation, and even legal matters involving movies and television shows, in addition to the usual routine work such as document reviews and e-discovery, contracts management, litigation support, legal research and writing, financial reviews, draft negotiations, drafting of pleadings and briefs, legal content publishing, patent services and managed reviews.
Some firms are also trying to leverage expertise or unique strengths, such as being in geographic areas closer to their target client markets and familiarity in terms of culture. For example Sri Lanka and India’s familiarity with British law allow them to attract more high level clients in the United Kingdom, whereas Argentina is a desirable LPO destination for the U.S. clients due to its proximity.