Eversheds covets commoditised market with South Africa pilot

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  • This is a big mistake for Eversheds, it will massively damage its reputation in London where it is attempting to claw work from the best firms in the City. Where is the strategy in this?

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  • To my mind, its not a commoditized business all time. When a law firm looks for high end drafting work in service areas like IP, Contracts etc. they need to look for support of lawyers equally qualified and trained. They are in India, South Africa or London, is a different matter. altogether. Quality takes the prime position.

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  • Other industries have felt the bite of outsourcing over the last 7 years. I was involved in one of the first IT outsourcing deals to India in my company. The legal profession could do to learn the lessons from IT and helpdesk outsourcing. The fact that companies now advertise "UK Helpdesks" as a product differentiator speaks volumes. Also, much of the "commoditised" work is now coming back onshore following many years and much expense trying to get the same quality output as we received in the UK. The legal profession could just skip out 7 years of pain and upheaval by keeping the work in the UK.

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  • On paper, it would appear to make sense to do this. However, it will be interesting to see if they can make it work and are still doing it in 5 years time. Sadly, providing legal services (even volume based legal services) is a time consuming process. Things go wrong, and there is no substitute for the hard grind.
    Overall, outsourcing like this will have a negative impact on the quality of legal services that are available to the business community. If all the volume based work and minor drafting is done somewhere else, then how are the trainee lawyers going to learn their stock and trade. I learnt by doing simple things first, then progressing up the ladder. How will junior lawyers make this progression in the future? Maybe everyone will have to do a stint in South Africa - learning how to draft.

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  • The Exigent analogy is not a good one. Our firm tried their secretarial outsourcing service in South Africa and found it was inefficient, slow and of poor quality. When we found a UK based alternative everyone voted with their feet and categorically refused to use Exigent again.

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