Friday, November 24, 2006

Compilation of Players in LPO

Prism Legal has a good compilation of corporations using Legal Outsourcing and some of the vendors providing them.

As with this list, I often feel the authors based abroad lack a feel of the real situation on the grounds...

NYC Bar Ethics Opinion on Legal Services Outsourcing

The opinion is available here. The important snippets are:

[US] lawyers must
(a) provide vigorous supervision to ensure competent representation and to avoid aiding in the unauthorized practice of law;
(b) preserve client confidences and secrets;
(c) inquire into possible conflicts of interest;
(d) bill clients appropriately; and
(e) obtain the necessary client advance consent.

So, do it if you must, but tell all concerned and for God's sake - review!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

WNS Interest in LPO

DNA Moner has an article on WNS interest (sounds bullish) on LPO ("legal services"). Interestingly they seem to be one of the few players who has operations outside India:

Riding high on the legal process outsourcing wave, WNS has started legal services in Sri Lanka about eight months back and now has over 30 lawyers there. It has also scaled up the existing Pune operations, with more than 80 lawyers to handle the legal services.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Brown-Wilson's 2006 Survey of Outsourcing Vendors

Among the LPO players, Integron 1st, Pangea3 2nd and Office Tiger 3rd! Here's the link to Integron's press release.

Hmm, would need some digging...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Harvard Law Inside LPO Kitchen

Harvard Law Bulletin carries this piece about the journey of two 3L students into the still young Indian LPO Industry.

They quote familiar numbers and concerns - the chief among them being the thin line of Ethics. As lawyers-to-be, they would know, there are always ways around!

Good read.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Indian Lawyers Fear Competition!

These aren't essentially my words! This article in The Telegraph is about the third one I have seen which talks about the opposition from Bar Council of India and other bodies of Indian lawyers opposing the entry of law firms in India.

The 'militant' nature of the lobby is such that they filed a case against a Nigerian trying to practice law. Ironically, the same lobby (of lawyers!) exhibits concern over an archaic law that prohibits law firms from advertising (including using websites) and having more than 20 partners in a firm. If lawyers can't gather to plea to have a law changed, I wonder who can.

The shallowness of the arguments they make (to prohibit foreign law firms from entering India) don't end here.

“If these rules are not amended, we will be no match for the foreign firms with their financial clout, extensive websites and unlimited number of partners,” points out Bhasin

Isn't this like saying we should prevent the rich Coca-Cola from entering because the Campa-Colas can't compete?

Let the customer decide!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Legal Process Outsourcing: Gold Rusher Speak!

ANLUS - The Nepalese Lawyers in US Association ran a very interesting article recently. Titled "Is Legal Outsourcing the New Gold Rush?", the piece quotes the head honchos of most LPO firms (that matter) in India and some of the comments and "facts" are very, for the lack of a better expression, refreshing and entertaining! Take a look at these:

“Every week, at least one person from a Fortune 500 company is visiting our office,” Kamlani said. “They’re calling us; we’re not calling them.” [Sanjay Kamlani of Pangea3]

“Outsourcing is becoming the new gold rush,” said Abhay Dhir, president of Atlas Legal Research, a legal process outsourcing firm with offices in Dallas and Bangalore. “Every [Indian] lawyer who has a cousin in the U.S. thinks they can start outsourcing.” [This is very similar to what Sanjay said in a private conversation: “Every brown lawyer in the US wants to start a Legal Process Outsourcing venture!”]

Intellevate is an American firm with 160 lawyers in India that provides so-called low-end services like transcription, document coding and docketing. Intellevate Chief Executive Officer Leon Steinberg said a number of intellectual property law firms are clients. [The company also has a patent research offering and this practice employs scientists, some with PhD in technology field.]

“It is still a taboo topic,” said Raj Mahale, co-chair of the international business practice group at Murtha Cullina in Stamford, Conn. “Lawyers don’t understand the LPO space. Many lawyers fear that they are going to be losing jobs.” [To those “lawyers”, Hey Joe, Psst, you wouldn't even want to do much of what is being outsourced, so go buy a Heinekken and relax... for a while before you really need to worry]

“The problem with all the offshoring businesses is that people hype it too much,” he said. [Quoting Alok Aggarwal of Evalueserve. Very well said Sir, except for the fact that this category of “people” who “hype it too much” includes researchers such as Evalueserve. Take a look at EVS' own research: if you predict a market to grow to $17b in the next 4 years, don't you expect it to create “hype”. Does anyone remember the excitement at seeing a home grown company, Infosys, reach $1b mark, not too long ago? We are talking dollars, billions of them, this is enough of a “hype fuel”. Isn't it?]

Steinberg said Pangea3 “does a great job of recruiting people.” “We have a few of their employees now working for us,” he said.

Dhir predicted that, “in 10 years, it will be a much more stabilized industry.” [... in 10 years this blog will be 11 years old. That is all I know for sure. Who has seen 10 years hence? Did anyone wonder that one company in a similar outsourced space, IT, will become 20 times its size in 10 years? IMHO, when the tipping point is reached, things happen fast. So will the case be with LPO]

Kamlani said, “Almost nobody is doing real legal work. We are. There are only a handful of us.” [This is correct. What most people pass off as LPO ain't so. It is just BPO that does work which relates to lawyers]

Most outsourced high-end legal work comprises prior art searches, patent shopping and patent drafting. [What? “Patent Shopping”? What the F does that mean? Is it something like this for patents? It is sometimes so amusing dealing with staff writers and recruitment consultants who can't tell a patent from a pattern!]

“To think that you can train a [practicing] Indian lawyer to write U.S. patents in a couple of years is foolhardy,” Steinberg said. “I know because I tried it.” [True. Some Indian LPO vendors are doing it nonetheless]

When Intellevate was approached by a corporation that had a backlog of 1,000 patents that needed to be proofread, the firm was able to provide the bulk low-end services needed. But Intellevate subcontracts high-end patent drafting work out to Evalueserve, which Steinberg describes as “head and shoulders above the competition.”

“I think in the next few years the American Bar Association will develop some requirements for disclosure of outsourced work.” [Yes, that may happen. It will be good to see word documents containing patent drafts with a footnote on each page saying: Drafted in India, sent via Atlantic]

“A lot of people think that, by ignoring us, outsourcing will go away,” Dhir said [The cat won't go away by closing your eyes!]

“We are not competing with them. It is just a question of big firms feeling comfortable incorporating us into their business model.” [... yes precedents exist in innumerable other industries, so it is only a matter of time before each American lawyers knows a brown kid in India who is good at it!]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Online Roundtable Discussing Outsourcing in the Legal World

Darryl Mountain sent me this link that has the transcript of an online rountable discussing "Inside vs. Outside: When Does it Make Sense for Law Firms to Outsource?" Great read for anyone interested in legal outsourcing.

The patrician panel comprised Ron Friedmann, Dennis Kennedy, Darryl Mountain, Stephen M. Nipper , John Tredennick, Wendy L. Werner, all known names in the legal technology circles.

Some quotable quotes:

I've talked to lawyers who'd like to explore offshoring document review and to CIOs who want to investigate outsourcing help desks. So in my experience, outsourcing is not hype but serious consideration of this option, however, does not guarantee rapid growth.

Office Tiger provides outsourced legal secretaries to a major U.K. firm at a 3 to 1 ratio. That isn't 3 attorneys to one secretary as you might expect. Rather, that's 3 secretaries to one attorney--round the clock secretarial support for about 30,000 Euros a year

I think the biggest impact on law firms that "outsourcing" hype will cause is increasing the rate at which clients question the fees their attorneys are charging them

An old adage says that lawyers are finders (business getters), minders (relationship managers), or grinders (ones who crank out legal work). Today, lawyers who are great at "client hand holding" typically rely on a partner or associate to do the legal work. Could the minder instead outsource this to a lawyer in another organization?

Anyone can put up a shingle as an outsourcer but you don't want to be their first client. Start with a small project and build from there.

Lots can go wrong. But lots can go wrong with performing functions internally or with people you hire as employees. With outsourcing, you typically spend more time specifying requirements and monitoring performance. Others can enumerate the legal and business risks of outsourcing but a key point is to weigh these risks against the alternatives. No option is risk free.

The costs of document review in discovery will kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Deploying armies of domestic lawyers to review documents is not sustainable. If document review cannot be "outsourced" to advanced software, then someone will figure out how to offshore this function to lawyers in India.

If you were to extend the trap door model, you could have a model where contracts are drafted in-house in the U.S., the Indian lawyer handles exceptions only, and the U.S. lawyer reviews the Indian lawyer’s work.

Long gone are the days of "all my client needs to know about the law is my phone number." If you don't treat 'em right, someone else will.

Students attending law universities face high debt loads and increasingly prefer to work for LPOs, which pay about the same as top-tier Indian law firms (US$10,000 per year). LPOs are able to recruit students whose grade point average is in the lower half of the class, who have experience with the use of Internet based legal resources such as Westlaw and Lexis, and who often have completed an LLM in the U.S. or the UK.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

LPO: Hope for Discouraged and Disgruntled Law Graduates?

Are you a law graduate in India? Are you fed up 'pushing files' for senior advocates? It is time for you to smile. LPO is here!

That is the gyst of Mumbai Newsline's recent article quoting young law graduates working in LPO firms such as Pangea3 and Mindcrest. A graduate is quoted as saying:

‘‘Since we undertake work for foreign firms, we are better equipped to eventually work abroad. Besides, we also get to make suggestions to our clients about their business. That’s something completely missing in Indian firms,’’ says Anand.

Global exposure, attractive compensation, good career path, and a chance to learn professionalism from the professionals are mentioned as some of the attractions for young graduates. I agree with all of these, especially the work culture bit. Indian law firms really are the best place to work, where you either have a zillion 'Sirs' or are a 'Sir' to zillion people. It all sounds so artifical!

For graduates still not decided about trying LPO (a is-there-a-proof-of-concept anxiety), the following may be some relief:

Currently, about 40 GLC students are working for legal outsourcing firms.

See also: LPO Jobs: (Probably) The answer is here! and LPO Companies in Law School Campuses

Indian LPO industry is worth billions, already: ASSOCHAM!

ASSOCHAM - The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India made a press release yesterday, titled "India's Lpo Business To Grow @ 6-7%: ASSOCHAM". The very meticulous authors of the paper talked about in the press release have the following to say about the current and expected size of Indian LPO industry:

India is inching towards registering a significant growth from its current share of 3-4% to 6-7% in the US$ 250 billion of world?s market in the Legal Process Outsourcing by 2010.

Excuse me? You mean India already has a share of 3-4% of US$250 billion? That is about $10 billion! As a judge in an Indian court will say to such ridiculous claims, dismissed with cost!

The paper, however, seems to have some new numbers:

Estimates report that by early 2006, there were over 400 professionals engaged in providing patent services such as literature searches, prior-art searches, technology and patentability assessment, patent claim mapping, etc., from India.

There are over 600 patent agents registered with the Indian Patent Office in India as well as approximately 300 IP professionals who are not. About one-third of these 900 professionals currently provide patent services to European and American end clients, and this number is likely to double to 1,800-2,000 by 2010.

These numbers look sane. That said, I have never understood the significance of someone being an Indian Patent Agent. Anyone who has ever visited those offices will know what those places or their accreditation is worth, so we should just let the numbers about IPO registered agents pass.

Another interesting number is about the outsource-able chunk of US Legal Services market.

Mr. Anil K. Agarwal, ASSOCHAM President while releasing the Paper said the conservative estimates of the current addressable market potential for legal services outsource-able from the US alone are pegged at US$ 3-4 billion. This comprises paralegal and research support, contract drafting and revising and contract management, library services, patent and trademark prosecution and litigation support.

The paper also advises some factors that those concerned about LPO in India should worry about.

The ASSOCHAM BPO Council Paper, however, says despite the encouraging prediction regarding outsourcing, legal practices are subject to a number of external forces affecting all law firms which includes changing economics, marketplace maturation, earning brand, marketing expenditures etc.

I'd just say relax, and keep thriving in the LPO industry. It is too nascent to get affected by the above factors. We'd rather brainstorm about new services that can be outsourced, new products and tools (e.g. contract management suites) that can be developed, and new partnerships that can be formed (e.g. tool developer and service vendor). Who wants to worry about marketing expenditures just yet?

Of course, ASSOCHAM will advise otherwise, they believe the LPO in India is already worth billions of dollars. They're excused!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Tiger and the Kangaroo: Treading the LPO path together

This is quite interesting!

Now, Indian LPO companies, their own infancy notwithstanding, are teaching firms in other parts of the world, a thing or two about LPO!

Shaun Dobbin from LegalResources wrote in to tell me about the LPO practice they have started in Australia. And where did they get the idea for this? From Lexsphere, an Indian provider of outsourced legal services. The companies have partnered to provide LPO services fairly across the spectrum. Here's their offering (source: company webpages, I am not in a position to comment either on the quality of such services rendered, or even if all of these are rendered presently):

Litigation support
Discovery analysis
Discovery management, presentation & access
Document abstraction, indexing & collation
Exhibit preparation

Transaction support
Customized draft transactional documents
Forms development & standardisation
Form libraries & version histories
Custom expert systems

IPR services
Application drafting
Patent & trademark searches
Patentability & infringement assessments
Status tracking

Legal research
Customized work product
Work product libraries
Work product updating
In-house research database
Newsletters & journal articles

Corporate secretarial
Incorporation documents
Statutory reports & filings
Board & shareholder resolutions & minutes
Resolution & minutes libraries
Online tickler system

Regulatory & compliance support
Application & report drafting
Document review & analysis
Rules & regulations monitoring & tracking

Administrative Services
Conflict management

Promotion & marketing
Human resource management

Business Process Consulting
Requirements & feasibility studies

Design & implementation of client-specific solutions
Management of captive staff & facilities

This is a great thing for both the partners and I hope this is among the firsts of many such partnerships between Indian and Aussie companies.

On a lighter note, the Indian LPO companies have Lexsphere and LegalResources for inspiration, the partnership is so strong, even their punchlines read "Legal Support Solutions" and "Your partner in Legal Support Solutions", respectively!

Who wants to be my partner?!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

LPO Companies in Law School Campuses

I think it is a first for law school campus placements in India. Indian Express had a news item in Pune Newsline titled, "Law graduates find new takers: Infotech majors, MNCs" that talks about this new breed of employers for fresh law graduates.

Law is not high on the pecking order in India when it comes to choosing a career. Therefore big salary numbers (an indicator of success for most) are surely a thing to rejoice.

They may not be carrying the famous tags of IITs or IIMs with their degrees, but they are the new kids on the block. From infotech majors to multinational companies, these law graduates are an important ingredient in their scheme of things. With copyrights and corporate law, mergers and acquisitions being the flavour of the season and legal process outsourcing slowly catching up, it is the traditional discipline of law that is making waves again.

From Rs 3 lakh to Rs 7 lakh per annum as the salary package, the law graduates seem to have finally arrived.

What is interesting here is that LPO companies such as Pangea3 and Mindcrest are leading the pack in grabbing this legal talent.

Besides the in-house needs for corporates, legal process outsourcing is also finding takers in law graduates. ‘‘Two of our students have been taken by Mumbai-based legal outsourcing enterprises — Pangea3 and Mindcrest,’’ ILS’ Sabne said.

Pangea3 co-founder and co-CEO Sanjay Kamlani said it was the tremendous growth in legal process outsourcing business that has led them to eye the law graduates. ‘‘ILS and Symbiosis Law School are ranked among the top 10 law institutes in India. That is the reason we are actively pursuing their students to join our organisation,’’ he said.

Naturally, LPO's good is law firm's bad.

‘Of course not all want to go in for corporate jobs. There are some who want to move on to practicing. But the former are all set to outnumber the latter — and this could be a worrying trend for the legal profession.’’

I think this emergence of a new recruiter is beneficial for the students who for long have been complaining of the sheer drudgery and politics related to work in Indian law firms. Cut the drudgery, join an LPO, today! Also see my previous post on this.

Monday, May 08, 2006

LPO Jobs: (Probably) The answer is here!

A friend of mine has started operations focussed on hiring within the LPO space. I think this is a very good step and will benefit firms and candidates alike.

The email id to mail your resumes (preferably accompanied with a cover letter) - if you are a candidate, or your job profile documents if you are a recruiter is This service is free-of-charge!

Candidates (including freshers) with a Law and/or an Engineering (any stream) background are encouraged to mail their resumes.

Hope this lends itself as a lasting solution to the recruitment problem in this space. And they said, "So be it!"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More LPO Companies

More players join the LPO space!

Verist Research - Founded by Arjun Anand, one of the Anands (yes, of the law firm) - Focussed on IP Services

Innovar IP Consulting - One of the Directors is Komal Shah, registered US and Indian Patent Agent, previously worked with Nishith Desai Associates and Intellectual Licensing Group - Focussed on IP Services

Lexecute - Not aware of the founders - Offers a whole gamut of services, patents, trademarks, corporate services, and services towards the lower end of the spectrum

Welcome to the space!

Interestingly, two of the above three companies have Indian operations based out of Delhi. This kind of reaffirms what the last post asserted - Delhi is a favorite location for LPO companies.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Planning an LPO: Where to locate?

As a true optimist, I believe in the huge potential of LPO (hey, goes without saying, I run this blog!). Thus, I do believe that a number of firms with LPO aspirations will want to set up presence in India. The recent funding of Pangea3, should motivate other VCs to fund such firms. In the words of Shyster, "VC's are like lemmings, and if one starts investing, the others will follow"!

Since one of the objectives of this blog is to aid firms thinking about India as a place to setup an LPO shop, I compiled a list of factors - pros and cons - for some of the Indian cities that may be considered for setting up an office. Please note that this list is a quick job, and is limited by my awareness. Any amendments, suggestions to/about this list will be most gladly accepted and acknowleged.

(+) Well connected
(+) Availability of local talent, especially law graduates
(+) Some presence of competition, good news for an HR manager
(+) Presence of a lot of law firms, if that matters
(-) High costs, for the corporate and outside hires
(-) Infrastructure breaks down in certain parts hampering connectivity (2005 floods just brought the city down)
(-) Commuting distances are typically large due to geography
(-) Some presence of competition, bad news for an HR manager

(+) Tech capital of the country
(+) Ample availability of tech talent
(+) Local presence of tech companies, beneficial for aiding in local liaison
(+) Home to one of the nation’s best law school, availability of local law talent
(+) High costs
(-) Infrastructure going from bad to worse

Delhi National Capital Region (includes Delhi, and smaller adjoining towns of Gurgaon - the call center capital of India - and Noida)
(+) Infrastructure - good and improving (thank the Commonwealth Games 2010)
(+) Very well connected - National Capital
(+) Lower costs
(+) Availability of local talent, legal and technical
(+) Some presence of competition, good news for an HR manager
(+) Presence of a lot of law firms, if that matters
(-) Minor - Politically more sensitive
(-) Some presence of competition, bad news for an HR manager

Hyderabad and Chennai
(+) Well connected
(+) Lower costs
(-) Lack of local talent
(-) Not a favorite among those who need to relocate

In addition, I analysed the existing players in the market and compiled the table below. Clearly, Delhi NCR seems to be the choice among the fraternity.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Legal Research databases used by LPO/LSO providers

The Virtual Handshake Blog interviewed Dan Savitt, Vice President of Litigation, Pangea3 about his take on Legal Research outsourcing and his favorite databases. Good one point link!

Friday, March 31, 2006

LPO: And the Moolah flows along

Pangea3, the Legal Process Outsourcing company based out of Bombay has done a consistent job of being in the news in the past one year. But this one is the biggest!

Businesswire reports about the second round of funding for the company. The report with a very encouraging title, "Pangea3 Closes $4 Million Series B Round Led by The GlenRock Group, LLC; Financing Reflects Growing Demand for Outsourced Legal Support Services", quotes the lead investor, "Pangea3 is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the explosive growth in the knowledge process outsourcing market".

This is a very impressive performance for a company that completed one year of operations in India in February 2006.

The report goes further , "The financing round underscores the growing demand for outsourced legal services as a solution to the spiraling costs of outside legal counsel and related support work".

It is interesting to note that US attorneys with an impeccable track record of their own are taking keen interest in funding LPO companies. Pangea3's lead investor in this round is an example.

"As a founder of the firm formerly known as O'Sullivan Graev & Karabell, previously one of New York's most preeminent and top-quality law firms, Larry Graev brings to Pangea3 over 30 years of legal experience, expertise and industry relationships," said David Perla, co-founder and co-CEO of Pangea3.

Sanjay Kamlani, who in my view is the face of Legal Process Outsourcing is quoted as saying, "We are proud to have pioneered an industry that can serve as a high-quality, reduced-cost support solution to the skyrocketing costs of external law firms, litigation and intellectual property protection."

Well with numbers like these, it seems that LPO is the "disruptive technology" of the legal world. Way to go, LPO!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

LPO Quality: Taking Stock

IPBiz has a recent post having some Heard In The Boardroom notes about the quality of LPO work being rolled out of India. Well, the comments are not all sugar and honey, and this is a well-timed signal for all the players in the space to stregthen quality control measures and stop focussing on hiring alone!

To quote the spiciest of the comments:

*I haven't used Shwegman, but I do know that EvalueServe charges roughly $5000 per application. Not much of a cost savings over a U.S. filing all things considered, and everyone I've known who has used them has been dissatified with the quality (we've taken over several applications they drafted and I can attest to that).

Am I thinking too much or was the EVS report labelling LPO as a hype meticulously timed?

*The oversea work costs about $2500 per application, but quality is poor. It takes about 10-15 additional hours of work to put the application in condition for filing.

I think I know who this (or these?) $2500 per application vendors is/are. All I have to say is caveat emptor! 5 years ago, who would have thought that one could get a patent application drafted in $2500 (that is about 10 or so hours of work by a US attorney, 10 hours!)? And those who now think that this is possible complain of bad quality. The rule is simple IMHO, if you offer only peanuts, you get only monkeys!

Finally, the comments are reminiscent of a US attorney comment on the quality of patent drafts from a particular vendor, "...even my cat can write a better patent!". It may be the right time for LPO company HR managers to explore the possibility of new feline recruits. Hey, don't take me seriously on this! Meow!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Marlabs, another LPO wannabe?

Seems like a low end provider...

Quoting from Offshore Experts:
We are currently working with Legal & Insurance companies specifically in the area of Legal Services to:
-Speed up the settlement process of litigated cases
- Reduce cost of the discovery process
- Manage digitized documents
- Process & index key legal documents and records

Marlabs Solutions for Legal Services
- Litigation management portals
- Document management systems
- Legal Front Office systems
- Data Conversion & Mining
- Claims Management systems
- Infrastructure Support Solutions
Specific areas of expertise include:
- Legal Bill Review systems
- Cross-enterprise collaboration for settlement processes with electronic document tracking and sharing
- Document Abstraction, Indexing and Hyperlinking
- Electronic forms and submissions

Indiatimes and Outsourcing Weblog also have reports.

ValueNotes, reports:

Fulfilling our earlier prognosis (in the report Offshoring Legal Services to India, December 2005), new entrants seeking to provide legal services to India are proliferating. The latest is Marlabs (a US$ 50 million technology services and solutions provider), which announced ambitious plans this week.

Marlabs currently provides a full suite of services and solutions to the healthcare, insurance, real estate, media and entertainment verticals and plans to leverage its client base and build on its initial efforts in the legal services area.

The company's delivery center in Bangalore is already functional and aims to provide "high-end decision support to law firms and professionals in the US on litigated cases". The company plans to hire about 400 professionals by the end of 2007, to add to the 100 employees already on the payroll.

In December last year, ValueNotes published a report and identified an overall addressable market of US $4-5 billion in the legal outsourcing segment by 2010. Indian offshore revenues from legal services were $61 million in 2005 and are expected to increase ten times by 2010. This is the market that Marlabs hopes to tap. In recent weeks, Kolkata-based legal firm Khaitan & Co. entered the segment by starting a new company Neoworth, which will carry out high-end legal outsourcing, while another firm, Pangea3, announced plans to expand its operations in India by hiring 600-700 employees over the next four years.

Source: ValueNotes India Outsourcing Weekly, March 17, 2006 : Vol III No. 11

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) – Hype Vs. Reality: An Evalueserve Analysis

EVS PR Team mailed the following, so this post is essentially their press release.For the detailed PDF report, please contact me at or the EVS address mentioned towards the end of this post. I quite agree with the approach of dividing the spectrum of services within LPO and correspondingly dividing the numbers (headcount, revenues, projections). That said, I don't have an immediate comment on EVS proclamation of LPO being more hype than reality. We shall see!

Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) – Hype Vs. Reality: An Evalueserve Analysis

Gurgaon, India – Jan. 17, 2006: In a recent report on the Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO), Evalueserve contends that this opportunity is more hype than reality!
According to this report, only 1.2% of the legal and paralegal jobs would be offshored from the US to India by 2015 and this would constitute only 0.2% of the total revenue generated by the legal services industry in the US. The revenues generated by the Indian companies providing such legal services will be approximately $56 million during July 2005-June 2006, $300 million during July 2010-June 2011, and $960 million during July 2015-June 2016. During the same period, the legal services industry in the US is likely to expand from 975,000 legal and paralegal professionals in 2005 to 1.125 million professionals in 2010 and 1.3 million in 2015. Furthermore, the revenue generated by the legal industry in the US is likely to grow from $270 billion in 2005 to $360 billion by 2010 and to $480 billion by 2015. According to Dr. Alok Aggarwal, the Chairman and Co-founder of Evalueserve, “Unlike many areas, such as IT, banking, finance and insurance services, where as much as 10%-12% of the services may be offshored to India by 2015, the corresponding number in legal services is only 1%. Because legal services may not be offshored to India in large amounts, it is quite likely that some of the Indian LPO providers may not survive beyond the next 2-3 years.”

According to this Evalueserve report, in December 2005, about 1,300 professionals were providing legal services to the US from India and this is expected to grow to 5,200 by 2010 and to 16,000 by 2015. Out of these 1,300 professionals, the number of people involved in various sub-services included:
Approximately 750 Indian professionals were providing Legal Transcription and Electronic Document Management services at a price at $11-13 per hour;
Approximately 100 Indian researchers were providing Legal Research services at the cost of $24-26 per hour;
About 50 Indian researchers were providing Due Diligence services at of $24-26 per hour;
Approximately 50 Indian researchers were been providing Contract Drafting and Proof Reading of Contracts at $24-26 per hour;
Approximately 50 Indian researchers were providing Document Discovery in Litigation services, which are priced at $24-26 per hour;
Approximately 300 Indian researchers provide Intellectual Property Services, which are priced at $40 to $50 per hour.

The various impediments for the offshoring of legal services as pointed out by the report are the following:

1. The legal services industry is inherently averse to risk. This is particularly true about the corporate legal industry, where stakes are often very high, and hence, the general counsel and other in-house lawyers feel more comfortable in outsourcing work to US based law-firms (that they have been comfortable with in the past). Hence, this industry will be slow in adopting offshoring as a means of reducing cost and improving efficiency.

2. Since the cost of client acquisition in the legal services industry is rather large, many law firms and solo practitioners try to maximise the number of billing hours from each client. Sending work offshore clearly reduces the number of billing hours, and although some times the law-firms can make up for the lost hours by being more profitable, at other times, they cannot!

3. Sending work offshore also raises the risk of losing of confidentiality, and although more and more research and development work is being done offshore, US lawyers are quite apprehensive about offshoring confidential material.

4. Conflict of Interest issues are very important for most law-firms, solo practitioners and in-house attorneys. And, most legal services providers in the US are bound by ethics and guidelines that incorporate such issues. Hence, an appropriate framework needs to be created, while working with any offshore provider. This tends to slow down the process of offshoring. In fact, the closer the work is to litigation (e.g., document discovery or patent claim mapping), the more important the issues of confidentiality and conflict of interest become, and hence, offshoring of such processes may be that much slower.

5. Approximately 80% of the lawyers and paralegals in the US work for the government, academia, non-governmental organisations, and law-firms with three or fewer lawyers. Since the ‘unit’ of work that can be offshored by most of these organisations is less than that accomplished by one full-time person per organisation, it will be very costly for offshore service providers to market and sell their services to this group. In fact, the ‘real’ market for Indian offshore providers is only the larger law-firms with 10 or more lawyers and mid-size and large corporations, and these together constitute about 15% of the total US market and about $40 billion in revenue in 2005.

6. Currently, Indian law does not allow foreign (i.e., non-Indian) law-firms to practice in India. Since India is a strong emerging market whose GDP has been increasing – and is expected to continue increasing – at 7% a year and since its legal system is similar to that of the US, many US-based law-firms are quite eager in opening their own subsidiaries in India. And, once this happens, they will have an automatic incentive to send work offshore (from their US offices) in order to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

The report further provides insights on the various models of offshoring legal services and identifies four models: Captive Centers formed by US Law Firms and their Subsidiaries; Joint Ventures by US-based Firms; Third Party Vendors Providing Services to Law-Firms and In-house Corporate Attorneys; and Captive Centers.

The report also suggests various mechanisms along with offshoring that Law Firms can follow to reduce costs without compromising on quality.

For further details on the above study, please contact Evalueserve PR Team at +91 124 515 4000, +91 9811991003 or E-mail us at