The Why, What and Who of Legal Process Outsourcing

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on March 24, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Legal process outsourcing is a growing trend, according to, as it "is emerging as a lower cost and fast growing alternative to the traditional model," (they even have an snazzy infographic to prove it). Has your company used legal process outsourcing? Interested? Here are some basics on determining whether legal process outsourcing is right for your company.

The main reason to use legal process outsourcing is cost. According to Corporate Counsel's informal online survey it conducted last year on the legal process outsourcing industry, of the companies utilizing outsourcing, 68% chose to do so "to reduce costs." In fact, of the companies they interviewed, all had started outsourcing after the downturn. Other reasons to outsource legal process are to save time, manage risk, and create efficiencies, according to Infosys.

What Type of Work Should You Outsource?

The type of work that is best outsourced is "regular, repetitive, very basic," reports Corporate Counsel. That said, most of the work outsourced focuses on document review, e-discovery, data management, and compliance. Thomson Reuters' Legal Solutions Blog advises that "As LPOs have expanded their services beyond document review, law departments should periodically re-evaluate where, when and how LPO can add value."

Who Should You Outsource To?

As the industry is developing, so are the standards associated with it. Versiqil, recently acquired from BARBRI, created certifications (and accompanying training programs) in e-discovery and financial crime (i.e., compliance). Though certifications are not necessary, you can be sure that competing training programs will pop up soon.

The necessity of certifications aside, the bigger question is should you outsource onshore (within the U.S.), or offshore (predominantly India). According to Corporate Counsel's survey, 65% of respondents that used legal process outsourcing, used services within the U.S. Those that used offshore services didn't always have the best experiences and cited issues that made it difficult such as the time zone difference, quality control, and the savings not outweighing the risks.

Keeping costs in check is the main driver today, changing the legal landscape that companies work within. Whether your company chooses to use alternative fee arrangements, legal process outsourcing, or legal department operations managers, one thing is for sure: The old model is, well, old.

Editor's Note, March 29, 2015: This post was originally published in March 2014. It has since been updated.

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