A&O signs outsourcing deal with LPO provider Integreon

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Readers' comments (18)

  • it's clear that this is the future, there's no going back. Just look at the extensive list of firms that have jumped on the bandwagon.

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  • How come A&O haven't done a Clifford Chance an open in India themselves? In the long run they'd keep control of the process as I doubt they'd just keep on a low level, case by case basis. Give it a year and there'd be enough work to justify a permanet team in Mumbai.

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  • But where will it end? First stop basic document review next stop more complex legal work. As India and other jurisdictions become more educated and more sophistocated the UK is going to be less and less able to compete. It's happened with the primary and secondary sectors and the tertiary sector, including legal services, will follow. Soon we will hear UK firms lobbying clients to Buy British!

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  • Golden Mean - doing a CC is an expensive endeavour. All these individuals are on the firm payroll. It's CC that has to recruit them and train them. If you haven't got buy-in from all your clients then it starts to add up

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  • @golden mean -- opening up shop in india is more difficult than opening up in other markets. India has particularly restrictive laws on foreign firms entering the market (see, e.g., http://asia.legalbusinessonline.com/law-firms/india-benefits-from-legal-market-restrictions/1085/30725 )

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  • I agree with David that this is the future of legal services.

    Regarding setting up a captive service center it is not the easiest of activities. If one were to look at other areas of the economy where offshoring has already taken place e.g., Finance & Accounting, IT, HRO ... the experience of many players has been that setting up and running a captive has been a bundle of trouble. Many are set up, but in a few years time many more get sold to third party service providers. A captive requires economies of scale, process excellence and the ability to demonstrate a clear career progression for the associates.

    Here is where third party service providers manage to steal a march over captives. I anticipate that the offshoring of legal work will follow a similar trajectory as F&A.

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  • Is the drive to outsource really client driven? Or a ploy by the Baby Boomer Generation of partners to reduce their UK workforce (their largest cost) and provide a lower quality service to clients while maintaining PEP? Is offshoring legal work simply a means of avoiding paying UK salary, tax, NI contributions and (possibly) pension contributions? Does offshoring really benefit HM Treasury? Are UK trainee solicitors (hopefully tomorrow's partners) receiving proper training if work they should be cutting their teeth on is sent offshore? Does offshoring signal the beginning of the end of a commitment to provide young UK trainee solicitors with proper training?

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  • If UK lawyers do not review documents, why a client should rely on his advice? He basically knows nothing of the content of those documents!
    and if reviewing docs will be outsourced abroad, how can newly UK qualified lawyers learn to do it?
    Dear "collegues", you are going down the sink!

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  • There are undoubtedly a proportion of clients who will welcome outsourcing if it reduces their bill, regardless of whether or not the quality isn’t always quite up to scratch. These people inevitably shop at Primark.
    As a young lawyer, for the reasons so eloquently outlined by others above; the concept of outsourcing legal work stinks. It is a fundamentally PEP driven vehicle masquerading as bowing to client’s interests. Pre-negotiated fixed rate fees for low end work is the obvious move if we want to stop the rug being pulled from under us. This will maintain client loyalty and high standards, as well as the future development of young British/British-based talent.

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  • I feel very sorry for today's law degree students.

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  • Outsourcing makes sense. For clients, they get a reduced bill; for competent lawyers who aren't insecure about the value they believe they add, it lets them focus on the more complex aspects of work. Most of the aforegoing comments seem to come from lawyers in law firms. If, for just a moment, some law firm associates stepped outside of their (arrogant) world, they just might realise outsourcing makes commercial sense - and clients rightly expect law firms to achieve their objectives via the lowest possible cost. As regards training, most of the time inhousers have to educate expensive law firm associates anyway, so I doubt much would be lost there.

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  • No one would argue that clients should always receive value for money from their legal advisers. Solicitors are supposed to act in their clients' best interests (there's a professional practice code that dictates this). But have partners in these firm's really exhausted every avenue possible to deliver client service using GB plc talent within clients' budget expectations? Why are a significant proportion of clients/in house counsel fixated on instructing a coterie of firms to provide their legal services? Isn't that a recipe for large legal bills? Why are a similar proportion of client's still enslaved by the external law firms' "chargeable hour"? Are clients really comfortable knowing that the next generation of senior UK lawyers/partners have not had practical experience of so called "less complex" tasks (e.g. document review is being outsourced - if this relates to litigation, that process is called "discovery" and is a critical part of the litigation process) graduating to more complex aspects? Don't the partners in law firm's set the hourly rates of their associates? All external lawyers (young and old) usually have a learning curve when advising a new client/industry sector. Are clients really content that young UK lawyers starting out should not receive training, safe in the knowledge that if these people do not understand the clients' business, there is someone overseas who does? Isn't it right that home grown talent should be nurtured?

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  • In respect to the outsourcing of discovery document review , lpo's have been marketing directly to GC's with great success here in the US. Touting significantly less hourly rates for 1st pass review than big law can afford for the filtering out of non relevant documents which can be hundreds of thousands in the digital era of Litigation. It should be noted that further cost saving efficiencies can be provided with technology such as pattern matching and auto coding for relevancy and the human element is reduced further from reviewing the irrelevant set allowing big law to focus on the relevant issues and documents to the litigation thereby removing the lpo need all together.

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  • Lower operating costs = higher profit. Let's hope that there is no compromise in quality.

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  • Probably makes the most sense for the absolute top tier practices - the focus for the likes of A&O is really on the high end quality work that requires more innovative and clever legal thinking. That inevitably brings in a certain volume of lower end work that can be commoditised and outsourced/offshored. Done properly, that doesn't need the same quality of lawyer and means those firms can run on a much leaner basis in expensive locations like London whilst focussing on fewer clients and higher value work.

    I suspect it's more of a threat to associates at the likes of DLA who tackle exactly that tier and type of work.

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  • Those who think that this is an ominous development for law graduates may not have actually conducted a 400,000 document review. The retention rate of lawyers actually increased in a certain firm's New York office when outsourcing was introduced on that side of the pond, since the lawyers were actually able to do what they are good at, lawyering, rather than reviewing traders' e-mails for relevance.

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  • Thanks to Luke for articulating the enormous growth of LPO industry. Most of the US law firms have started outsourcing their legal work. Sourcing work to low cost centers helps the firms achieve cost savings, quicker turnaround time and higher quality services. India is one such region for providing quality graded, cost conscious services. TaurusQuest also provides high quality legal services at lower cost.

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  • Outsourcing can be done with any kind of work. Law is no exception. Work is distributed (1 UK lawyer = 20 Indian lawyers), each an expert, and one person will put the results together .. and it is still 1000% cheaper.
    Law is not beyond .. more the trust of clients. But, clients will never know. There is one lawyer who looks British .. and does not do the work, these tasks are done by the outsourcing crew .. and the British one goes to meetings. That is reality.

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