Capita to enter LPO market after Poland-based pilot for Pinsents

Outsourcing giant Capita is set to enter the legal process outsourcing (LPO) market after running a successful pilot with Pinsent Masons.

In 2009 Pinsents became the first firm to offshore the work of qualified lawyers to South Africa after developing its relationship with LPO provider Exigent (22 June 2009). It has now sent document-review work for a large dispute to Capita’s nascent Krakow base.

Partner Andrew Denton said the decision to use Capita for an e-disclosure exercise was driven by cost savings the firm could offer its client.

“More and more we’re looking at the most cost effective way of managing e-disclosure,” Denton said. “It’s just not cost effective to have 85 fee-earners working on this type of case.”

The firm, he added, had looked at a range of providers before instructing Capita on the case in November.

“There’s no partnership,” he added. “We’ll decide who to use on a case-by-case basis.”

Capita said it would look to rapidly expand its LPO offering to compete in the UK sector.

“The LPO market is something that we’re attracted to. It’s expandable to all law firms and is not just about e-discovery,” said Capita head of legal services outsourcing James Cowan.

Capita launched its Krakow centre in 2011 and moved into the legal market for the first time at the end of last year.

Cowan said: “The law firms are starting to come to the realisation that they need a lower cost alternative to doing it in-house.”

The company put together a team of 85 within three weeks to work on the Pinsents project. The firm sent lawyers to Poland to train the team and oversee the project.

Capita, which already has a law firm following through its investor services branch, is aiming to compete with the LPO market, which also includes CPA Global and Integreon.

“Our plan is to get a critical mass of work to grow the core team and expand into the paralegal market – due diligence, contracts, trademark reviews,” Cowan said.

He is working alongside legal consultant Robert Liddiard who, until May last year, was a legal director with Exigent.

In November 2010 legacy Herbert Smith opened a low-cost centre in Belfast to service its dispute resolution practice (24 November 2010).

It was closely followed by Allen & Overy, which transferred 180 staff to Belfast in February 2011 (2 February 2011). Last week, A&O unveiled plans to roll out the staff transfer scheme across its European and US office (24 January 2013).