Simmons & Simmons has launched an innovative legal process outsourcing (LPO) scheme, six months after pinpointing LPO as a key part of its strategy.
Under a year-long agreement with outsourcing specialist Integreon, Simmons will employ five lawyers in Mumbai, who will work for the firm on a full-time basis.
They will work on document review, due diligence and research, recording around 800 hours a month.
Simmons is one of only a handful of firms to send legal rather than business support functions overseas. Pinsent Masons became the first firm to offshore legal services when it sent work to qualified lawyers in South Africa earlier this year (22 June 2009).
The project will be piloted from London, but rolled out to other English speaking offices where there is demand. The firm also has the option of adding more lawyers to the Mumbai team for larger projects.
Managing partner Mark Dawkins said: “It’s an explicit commitment in our strategy to be a firm that is embracing different ways of working, so that we can deliver greater value to our clients. The LPO project is one step on that road.”
The firm said that it could save around 50 per cent using the Mumbai unit in place of UK-based lawyers.
Pinsents and Clifford Chance are the only other large firms to have signed LPO agreements, with the latter setting up its own dedicated service centre in India. The magic circle firm passed 12,000 hours of work to the centre in the 2008-09 financial year. It employs 30 lawyers in the country.
Slaughter and May is also set to trial a legal outsourcing project following a request from a client, The Lawyer reported earlier this month (5 October 2009).
Clarke Wilmott, Eversheds and Osborne Clarke are among the firms to have sent support functions overseas to cut costs.