Thursday, January 22, 2009

Indian legal market attracts the Magic circle firms

Clifford Chance is planning to have a tie-up with Indian company AZB & Partners. This business proposal is an indicator of the growing interest seen in British legal firms about entering the Indian legal market. Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters already have tie-ups with the Indian firms Trilegal, Bharucha & Partners and Talwar Thakore & Associates, respectively.

Such associations appear to have a dual impact on the Indian economy. In addition to aiding the practice of the Indian entity, such relationships in a way help bring in foreign investment to India, which in turn helps maintain economic growth at 7%.

One might argue that if foreign investment boosts the growth of the Indian economy, then the Indian government needs to ensure that it encourages more of such investment by opening up the legal sector for overseas firms. This should help attract many more US and European law firms which are known to be eager to setup direct presence in India. Benefits emanating from this include access to superior legal support to Indian corporations willing to expand practice overseas, quality employment to the tens of thousands of legal graduates passing out each year, and improved competitiveness of the Indian legal sector. With far reaching benefits like these appearing achievable, it should only be a matter of time that someone in the Law Ministry gets the logic, and soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

2008: More than a 100 law firms and Legal Departments used LPO

The survey with the question, “Which service are you outsourcing/ considering to outsource/ supporting?” ran for one year on this blog. The picture above shows the results. About half of the respondents chose Legal Research and Contract Review/Drafting/Management as the service of interest to them. About 35% showed interest in IP offshoring and a similar percentage in Document Review and eDiscovery. Immigration Services support, Secretarial Services support within the legal community and other custom services (I guess document indexing, coding and tagging etc.) found interest among about 15% of the respondents.

Using estimations on the visitors and co-relation to proportion of visitors actually participating in the survey it appears that more than a 100 Law firms and a 100 Legal Departments participated in the survey. The other participants include LPO employees (about 80) and some other curious participants.

Even the interest from 200 law firms and legal departments (combined) is a phenomenon worth mentioning. On a conservative side too, it would be safe to assume that at least half of these companies are already engaged in offshoring of legal work. Confidentiality will bar reporting the names of such law firms and companies but an analysis on the blog visitors reveals that these law firms include the biggest of the names all the way thru to the smallest of law firms. Smaller law firms have been more agile in using LPO while the bigger law firms have been cautious but exploratory nonetheless. Corporations using legal offshoring probably are more homogeneously spread-out, perhaps companies with $100m+ in revenues are better equipped to embracing (or more in need of) LPO.

This blog invites you to confidentially participate in the new survey (see right panel): What was your estimated spending on offshore legal work in 2008?

Press Release: CPA Global marks 40th anniversary with launch of new brand

CPA Global marks 40th anniversary with launch of new brand

Reflects strong international growth and successful diversification of world’s leading IP management specialist and legal support services firm

Jersey/New Delhi, 12th January 2009 - CPA Global, the world’s top intellectual property (IP) management specialist and a leading provider of outsourced legal support services, has today marked its 40th anniversary year with the launch of a new brand worldwide.

Founded in 1969 as a specialist IP firm in Jersey, Channel Islands, CPA Global is today a global organisation of more than 1,200 people, providing a wide range of IP and legal support services to clients in over 100 countries.

Formerly known as CPA (from its original name of Computer Patent Annuities), the group has grown over the years through a combination of acquisition and organic growth. However, from today, group businesses around the world have been brought together under the single unifying brand name, CPA Global, with a bright and modern new look on all stationery, materials and signage.

Bhaskar Bagchi, Country Head (India), CPA Global said:

“2009 is a key milestone for CPA Global as we celebrate our 40th year of operations. We have come a long way over the past four decades. We have grown the scale of our business, diversified the scope of our offerings and significantly expanded our international reach - and we are continuing to grow and evolve. The new CPA Global brand better reflects the global nature of our business, the diversity of our service offerings and the innovative solutions we deliver to our clients across the world.

“By adopting a single global brand, we are underlining our commitment to our clients that the service they receive from CPA Global in any business, in any office anywhere in the world is of the same high level that they have come to expect from us. The brand is built on a clear and simple vision: Realising value for our clients and helping them succeed. This means putting clients at the centre of everything we do, understanding and anticipating their needs, and making it easier and more rewarding for them to do business with us”, added Mr. Bagchi.

Rob Stichbury, CPA Global’s business development director said:

“We intend to enhance the value of CPA Global as the company enters and evolves into new markets by positioning the brand as a ‘global’ leader that offers best-in-class services and solutions to clients worldwide. We believe that this new brand identity will allow us to be better recognized for our contributions and strengthen our overall position in the marketplace in addition to be identified as an organisation that protects company value, highlights key differentiators and enhances market competitiveness.”

“The intertwined rings that are displayed in the new logo symbolise a number of things- First of all, the globe and our global reach; secondly, our numerous businesses around the world coming together and being unified as one company and, thirdly, the strong relationship between CPA Global, our law firm clients and corporate clients”, added Mr. Stichbury.

CPA Global has worked with two London-based agencies on the rebranding exercise. Dragon was responsible for the design and development of the brand concept, while Westhill Communications has been tasked with brand implementation, taking the brand concept and developing a suite of branded materials and collateral. CPA Global’s focus on realising value for its clients - who include some of the world’s best known corporations and law firms - is visually represented through a series of image pairs, demonstrating raw materials being transformed into added value finished products.

Press Release: Lawwave Makes a Play: Sets Sights on Improving the LPO Market

Lawwave, located in New York City and Chennai, launched its new website ( detailing its services, its team and its new location in Chennai. Ranked #5 by the “Blackbook of Outsourcing”, Lawwave has set its sights on vastly increasing the overall market and its own market share as a result of the company’s dedicated commitment to raising the quality of work performed by Indian attorneys in the offshore market.

“Part of the problem with the current offshore model is that American firms are concerned about the quality of the work performed by Indian attorneys,” says Sumeet Nath, co-founder of Lawwave. “We’ve created the industry leading training program to ensure not only our clients, but the clients of any LPO provider, that we as an industry are committed to raising the bar by delivering the same quality services that American firms and corporations expect.”

Lawwave’s impressive three week training program focuses on American style legal writing, legal research and the American legal system. In addition, the program stresses patent research, contracts and comparisons of the common law.

“The fact is that Indian lawyers have all the tools they need to partner with their American counterparts, except this type of training. India provides a large, educated and eager legal workforce with a similar grounding in the common law. With one training session under my belt, I’m hoping I’ll be able to make the upcoming session even better than those we held in fall of last year” states Aaron Golembiewski, Managing Attorney and Chief Knowledge Officer with Lawwave. Golembiewski continues, “My vision is that this training program not only provides Indian attorneys with the skills they need to succeed in the LPO industry, but also with skills they can utilize in their own practices in India.”

Lawwave’s training program will be held in Chennai from January 23rd until February 12th, Delhi from February 6th to the 26th and Bangalore from February 13th to March 5th. More information on Lawwave and its training program may be found at

For further press inquiries, please contact Aaron Golembiewski at

Friday, January 09, 2009

IGNOU launches PG Diploma in LPO

PG Diploma in LPO, launched by IGNOU on 23rd December, speaks volumes about the growth, job viability and demand of human resource in the legal outsourcing industry.

Legal services sector has in recent years grown multifold. It is expected to employ 15,000 individuals in the next 2 years. A PG diploma in this scenario will be able to train the lawyer with the nuances of the sector and make him/her better understand the dynamics on which it operates. This program is a joint effort of IGNOU’s School of Law and legal talent management house Rainmaker. It would commence from Feb. 2009. The expert guidance of Prof. Dr. N.R. Madhava Menon, founder director of the National Law Universities in Bengaluru and Kolkatta, and of the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal, observations of senior representatives of leading L.P.Os and respected members of Indian legal academia have worked together to make this course knowledge rich and corporate viable.

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established in September 1985 for promotion of quality distance education. The major objectives of this university is to provide higher accessibility of quality education in far flung areas, programs of continuing education, and initiating projects that cater to needs of specific target sections of the population such as women, physically challenged and other minority groups of the society.

Rainmaker is one of the best legal talent management and training organization in India. It caters to the needs of the legal industry by providing services such as executive search and training products tailored according to the demands of the companies.

IGNOU’s step towards providing industry specific knowledge for the LPOs is one of the many steps from which the industry can benefit by having an access to the rich talent base of India. The young demographic profile of India coupled with its rigorous education system and institutions with good reputation in the world’s education arena makes the country the most likeable option for outsourcing. Some of the other reasons according to the ValueNotes survey such as, “large scale cross border transactions, significant financial implications, challenges in transfer of intellectual property, and other domestic legal ramifications” will lead to an upsurge of demand for legal services. In view of this demand “the employee count is expected to reach 55,000 by 2012”. Thereby, it becomes imperative to have the knowledge about the sector and promote its’ further advancement.The nexus between education and business sector is close knit. Each has to understand other’s needs and accordingly plan the future plan of action. For example, IT boom in India saw innumerable computer centers mushrooming in every street corner providing software skills, which were tailored for the industry. With the way the growth graph of the LPO sector is moving up it would be no surprise if history repeats itself!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

India - answer to woes of corporate America

In response to the article “Analysis: Legal Process Outsourcing: just hot air?”, posted by the ALB Legal News, The Posse list has written a write-up that speaks in detail the extent of legal outsourcing business as well as the money involved in the Indian legal outsourcing market.

U.S. MNCs constitute the biggest slice of the clientele for Indian LPOs. Conglomerates such as Microsoft, Dupont, General Motors, FMC Technologies, Philips etc. are all doing direct LPO business in India. In other words, these companies are directly involved with their respective vendors without the involvement of the law firms. Cost savings seems to be the main instigator for driving the interest in the Indian market. According to the Fullbright & Jaworski client study, 90% of the U.S. companies are involved in some or the other form of litigation with the average of 37 lawsuits at any given time. About 10% of study participants said that legal spending amounts to approximately 5% of the company’s revenues. Thus the companies with a turnover of $1bn will have their legal fees as $50mn. Thereby, no rocket science is needed to understand the fact that a market which can provide services of the same quality and in a cost-effective manner will be a gold mine for them. India with its young, dynamic and diligent workforce trained in the common law is undoubtedly the best outsourcing option.

Corporate America in the present scenario is seeking for ways to put a check on its incurred costs without compromising on the quality as well as the security of the information. Both these aspects can be achieved by Indian LPOs using some ingenuity and an understanding of their client concerns. Certifications such as ISO and Six Sigma can help in fostering trust among the clients with respect to our way of operations and our comprehensibility of the seriousness of the situation. India is the store house of human capital, what is needed is the right direction for utilizing it.

2009: What lies ahead for Indian LPO Companies?

Beginning of a year is always marked with speculations, predictions, plan of actions, strategies and above all hope for a better future ahead.

2009 for LPOs in India is one such year that will probably be filled with more business and hence more profits. If figures are considered to be a reliable source for a factual depiction of the reality, then the estimates given by Forrester Research project a boom for the legal outsourcing sector. They have estimated that legal outsourcing to India will reach $4bn by 2015. In fact till 2007, according to ValueNotes calculations, spending on legal offshoring to India had reached $124mn. Now companies are paying attention to not only the gross figures of the industry but also to the nuances involved in its’ functioning. An indicator for this growing interest is the attendance level seen in the annual meeting of Association of Corporate Counsel in which two sessions were on offshoring. There were only few vacant seats! With ABA’s positive opinion about offshoring of legal work also coming in 2008, the offshore providers of legal support services couldn’t ask for more.

The seismic waves of these events have affected Indian LPOs in a big way. India is the most popular destination for offshore services. Owing to its huge talent base, time zone and favorable government policies, Indian companies have always received good business from their offshore clients. The subprime crisis in the U.S., which has negatively impacted the world economy, is bringing exodus of work to the LPOs, thus, generating windfall gains for the Indian LPO firms. This marked increase in the business is not only because of the economic pricing of the services by the vendor but also attributed to the quality given by them. Companies such as CPA have achieved ISO 9001:27001 quality management system (QMS) certification and ISO/IEC 27001:2005 information security management certification (ISM) certification. These international standards are accepted by all and provide a framework for consistent and effective quality management. Such steps have encouraged the companies to outsource more than the low-end or routine work to the offshore units. Microsoft had started with proof reading of patent applications in 2004. They have with time increased the technical and critical level of their outsourced jobs. Martin Shivley, Associate General Counsel, Director, Worldwide Intellectual Property Operations Microsoft, decided on the basis of quality, time delivery, cost-effective and other aspects to offshore their other tasks. In India they are working with CPA, headquartered in Jersey Chanel Islands, which has now also been given to perform invalidity studies and patent landscape analyses.

The recent economic slump down has brought in a lot of litigation work. As a result one can witness the human resource departments of the companies busy round the clock in hiring and retaining their employees. There is a prospective demand of 15,000 jobs in the legal outsourcing sector in the coming 2 years. UnitedLex Vice President, HR, Rakhi Sharma, intends to hire 800 people by March 2009. Bhaskar Bagchi, country head, CPA has set the target of 2,000 employees by 2010. Even the average salary benchmark has increased by an average of 30–45%. To control attrition rates companies are devising new and innovative ways to retain their workforce. Bagchi said “At CPA, we handed out bonuses and increments, starting at 15% and upwards. For 2009, we have a healthy order book and the benefits will only get better for employees.”

Overall, we can say that new avenues, increased business, more emphasis on quality and employee centric policies would be the areas of focus for the Indian LPOs in 2009. Wish you all a happy working and successful new year!

-Megha Pande