Shortsightedness is the most common reason behind failure of outsourcing. Though myopia is a medical term related to the symptom of seeing near objects clearly but far away objects blurred, in this article we will refer it as a phenomenon of foreseeing and realizing long term benefits from Legal Process Outsourcing.
So much is talked about Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) that we barely find any law-firm and corporation incognizant to the concept and its benefits. The offshore outsourcing of legal processes is neither a desire nor an option rather it is the support system of all globalizing companies and law firms, of all who wish to grow in this ever integrating competitive world. If your competitor can benefit from Legal Process Outsourcing there is no reason why you cannot. However to ensure enriched Legal process outsourcing experience, it is necessary and desirable that the outsourcer adopts a step-by-step strategic approach.
Understanding the concept behind Legal Process Outsourcing:- Legal Process Outsourcing is a unique concept in itself and needs to be differentiated from BPO or KPO. Though some of the components of Legal Process Outsourcing may prima facie look alike (after all it is from the same genesis), there cannot be a denial that it is much more concept oriented and deserves a distinct approach. In the last couple of years Legal Process Outsourcing has reformed from mere "cost saver" to "transformational platform". To an outsourcing Law Firm this resembles an entire shift from rudimentary way of handling legal profession to profound transformation. Though Legal Process Outsourcing can effectively save 30-80% of cost, cost is not the only motivation.
COST is not the only motivation: Starting salaries for untrained American lawyers, straight out of law schools, have climbed to $160,000 per year. There is unlikely anything to retard the legal services, off-shoring and outsourcing to India. Through continuous training, Indian attorneys are more polished and abreast than ever before to cater most of the legal needs. These services are accomplished with savings in salaries and Infrastructure (ranging from 1/10th to 1/50th). So there cannot be a denial of the fact that Cost motivates. Cost is an important factor also because it is now realized by the law firms that their clients pay for legal services and not for the rent of four storied offices in New York's skyscraper. Per hour raise in hourly rates is also adjacent in abetting cost as an Outsourcing alternative. The biggest of AM Law Firms are turning to India at the break-neck speed. Solo practitioners and small law firms are second followers.
However there is something else that is swiftly emerging as the most prominent pivotal and slowly overtaking cost. This is the Time Zone Advantage. For an US attorney heading home, this implies that he can assign the work to an LPO vendor and be assured that the work would be finished, as per his requirements, before he reaches office the next day. When their counterpart calm down from a hectic day schedule, Indian attorneys start working for them on the other side of the globe with equal zeal.
Apart from cost and Time Zone advantage there are other benefits like reducing the junior associate churn and flexibility that inclines towards offshore outsourcing of legal processes.
Steps to forestall Legal Process Outsourcing failure:
Any outsourcer looking forward to outsource legal processes to offshore location needs to make a step-by-step sequential evaluation.
Step 1. Segregate your core competencies. To outsource outside, begin with introspecting inside. Make a chart of what you do, how you do it and the cost involved to do it. Though outsourcing is everywhere, everything cannot be outsourced and all outsourcing relationships have obligations attached with them. Separation of fatuous and feasible components in legal services and segregation of core competencies from combo bundles is the first step towards outsourcing. Segregate the components that are streamlined, channelized and accomplished in routine manner, this is the stuff you can easily outsource.
Step 2. Choose an outsourcing module that works for you. Legal Process Outsourcing will create value, differentiation and competitive advantage only when all its components – people, process and technology are brought together in a cohesive and integrated manner. The best methodology is to avail free trials. This allows interaction with the offshore employee engaged by LPO vendor, adjusts quality expectations, gives an opportunity to comprehend the turn around time (TAT) and vendor's competencies. Always insist for visiting the premises of the vendor (it may look expensive to fly down, but the benefits attached will save many folds more than expected). Enquire exhaustively about the regular training procedure in place.
Step 3. Risk Management and Contract Excellence. Risk Management and Contract excellence are the most important but surprisingly the least favored concern while Outsourcing. The service level agreement entered with the Legal Process Outsourcing vendor must be specific in stating the steps to be ensured for risk mitigation. Confidentiality, Conflict of interest, Unauthorized practice of law, E & O insurance cover and other risks and impediments needs to be covered by the Outsourcing contract without any ambiguities or repugnancies. Inter alia, insist on a continuous quality management and improvisation clause in the Outsourcing Contract.
To wit, Legal Process Outsourcing, as obvious, is not a 10 second decision. Since inception to conclusion it needs a lot of efforts to be put from both the outsourcer and the Legal Process Outsourcing vendors' end. It is advised that anyone looking out to offshore outsourcing of legal processes must comprehend the AptCaptive™ model. This will largely save time and effort in Step 2 and 3 mentioned above.