Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wall Street Journal takes note of LPO! is an article titled, "Legal Services Enter Outsourcing Domain", by Eric Bellman and Nathan Koppel, Staff Reporters of the WSJ.

The article talks about providers of legal services, such as Pangea3, and large corporations running patent divisions out of India, such as DuPont.

"Short of anything where you have to physically be there or sign on the dotted line, we can do it",says Sanjay Kamlani, co-chief executive officer of Pangea3, a New York-based legal outsourcingfirm that opened shop a year ago and already has more than 25 lawyers in India and over 20 U.S.clients.

The article further talks about the cost savings, quality work and focus on activities core to business, that some of the clients of Pangea3, such as technology companies such as Roamware, Internet companies such as DirectoryM and other corporates such as Trico Marine, attained while working with Pangea3.

The article comments on the outcomes of legal services getting cheaper, while retaining the work product quality.

Indeed, outsourcing could ultimately change the way legal work is done in Western countries, industry analysts and company executives say. They expect it to free up American and British lawyers from time-consuming paperwork, allowing small firms to take on bigger cases -- while cutting the number of legal jobs needed in the U.S. Some suggest it could even encourage companies and individuals to become more litigious by lowering the costs of filing lawsuits.

So far, outsourcing has created as many as 12,000 legal jobs world-wide, according to ForresterResearch. The Cambridge, Mass., firm predicts that number could shoot up to 29,000 in 2008,with most of those jobs going to India.

Among some sceptic comments regarding the future of Legal Process Outsourcing are the who-wants-to-go-first comments from large law firms like Reed Smith LLP:

But that attitude may change once major companies grow comfortable using Indian lawyers. "Law firms don't want to be the first to embrace the trend," says Philadelphia lawyer Ajay Raju, who advises companies doing business in India. They figure, "Let others get burned first," he says. But he says he plans to propose that his firm, Reed Smith LLP, which has about 1,000 lawyers, start using lawyers in India for litigation support and other discrete tasks. After all, he says, "Why have a $300-per-hour lawyer do due diligence when it can be done [more cheaply] by someone else?"

The article finally discusses the argument by providers in the LPO space, that offshoring and outsourcing is not different from on-shore outsourcing, when it comes to quality on the provider's part and accountability on the client's.

So, all and sundry, Go Offshore! Outsource!