Focus: Legal Process Outsourcing - Distance earning

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  • This is the future & it looks ghastly.

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  • This and tuition fees of £9,000 a year should make people think twice about studying law. For those unable to secure training contracts, paralegal positions were a temporary option to gain some legal experience.

    While these offshore businesses are currently focussed on back office operations, surely in the medium term they will turn to the much more lucrative high-end legal work. Why not? Amongst a million Indian lawyers there must be a few who could one day challenge even partners in the City??

    As well, I'm sure the Lawyer could be published in the Philippines for a fraction of what it costs to publish it in the UK!

    Where does it stop?

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  • North-Sourcing?
    There are some excellent lawyers in the North.
    It's just a shame that a few chippy practices spoil the perception of all Northern law firms.

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  • Regionalisation certainly seems to be more of a trend than offshoring right now. Interesting to see how many more Herbert Smith/ A&O type deals are announced in coming months

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  • Be realistic - Herbert Smith / A&O type deals never come to the doors of Northern firms like Dickinson Dees or Atherton Godfrey.

    That's the whole point of the article. There's a belief that expertise thins out as you go further up. Except of course in a few niche areas like Greyhound law.

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  • Surely the end game is all about giving clients value for money? I can't see how many firms, in all good conscience, can justify to commercially savvy clients the cost of bog-standard tasks like bundling or generic research. Giving clients options as to how they want work performing makes perfect sense.

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  • An interesting debate only heightened by the prospect of new entrants under the ABS regime.
    It's all well and good firms "northshoring" their work but at what point do their lawyers start to balk at being paid half what their city contemporaries receive to undertake what is expected to be the most formulaic and administrative of tasks ? Not good for the culture, surely ?

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  • What isn't discussed here is how law firms sell this type of arrangement to their clients - do they realise how much of their work is being farmed out around the world ?
    At the same time, is there a risk that law firms will find themselves in the same kind of hot water that the global manufacturers did when they "fineslice" their operations only to find that they have hitched their wagon to a foreign sweatshop ?

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  • Its embarassing for the legal profession that we are so far behind the curve on alternative sourcing - our clients have been doing this for years! Interesting that inflation is so high in India which has a huge offshore IT industry in its own right nowadays.
    If I was managing a law firm I'd jump on the bandwagon early to give me a competitive advantage in the short term but also to ensure I got the pick of the offshore locations - as locations such as Belfast (which must surely have limited capacity in terms of quality candidates) get saturated, firms that come late to the party will have to look elsewhere.

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  • In response to Yuan Monos' comment, regarding morale of the "northsourcees". I remember reading Addleshaw Goddard's announcement when it opened its Transaction Services Team in Manchester talking about freeing up lawyers from the mundane dross work. Great morale-boosting for the Transaction Services Team paralegals, many of whom are wannabe lawyers hoping to secure a training contract!

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