Legal Outsourcing Beyond India and Philippines: Green Point Legal Service’s Multi-Shore Story
March 6, 2011
SPurani | lposavvy.info:: It seems that India and sometimes the Philippines dominate the legal outsourcing conversation. Today’s ValueNotes’ story regarding multi-shoring within the legal process outsourcing space shows just how some LPO providers are looking to serve the legal market. However not everyone needs to be a Pangea3 to do so. A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Jacklyn Karceski, General Manager of Green Point Technology Services, whose company’s LPO division has been employing a multi-shore delivery model for its legal clients for some time.
Jacklyn was kind enough to share some of her thoughts with me recently on what clients should seek out in an outsourcing partner, their delivery model leveraging Israel & India, as well as dispel any geo-political concerns clients may have given current events and the company’s presence Middle East.
LPOSavvy: Jacklyn, thank you for making time to discuss the presence of your company Green Point Legal Services in the legal process outsourcing industry. I hope we can get some of your insights on the LPO market as a whole as well.
I understand your company Green Point Legal Services has a different approach in delivering its service offerings. Can you explain the key aspects of your approach versus what is “traditionally” viewed as the norm for offshore legal service providers?
JKarceski: Green Point serves its customers from three geographic locations: US, Israel, and India. We have a world class management team with best of breed corporate, project management and operations experience throughout our organization. The Company’s key focus is on its service offerings and dedication to customer satisfaction and a passion for perfection.
Service delivery for key vertical domains is allocated where the resource pool is optimized. For example, legal services is primarily managed and serviced out of Israel, while our other services such as publishing and data services are managed and serviced out of India. We believe that this model allows us to deliver an optimal service offering with minimal project interference.
LPOSavvy: Are you currently offering your service in other markets other than the U.S.? .
JKarceski: Our primary marketplace is the US as we see that the market is large and open for our services. However, due to several of our clients being global organizations, we do work on an international level within certain clients. I believe there is a significant opportunity in markets outside of the US for our service offering.
LPOSavvy: Given what we’re seeing in the LPO playing field with the likes of Pangea3, CPA Global, Integreon and others bolstering their onshore staff here in the U.S., would you say having feet on the ground is a necessity for legal outsourcing to succeed?
JKarceski: This question really relates to the Company’s business model. Traditional outsourcing relies on localized project management with an interface to the customer. Green Point deploys a tri-shore model in which we leverage another strong professional base of talent outside of the US.
Underlying Green Point’s product and service verticals are managers who are the designated business owners with domain expertise. They are responsible for direct service delivery, as well as the financial performance of their respective businesses. This provides Green Point with greater accountability and ensures the effectiveness of incentive based performance.
LPOSavvy: It seems LPOs will likely follow the lead of these other LPO providers and move towards staffing onshore lawyers to manage clients and the work. How has having licensed attorneys in Israel affected your place in the legal services market?
JKarceski: We are not following this model as we believe that the premise of outsourcing is demonstrated by the large available and talented labor pools outside of the US. Our staff in Israel is primarily highly skilled American educated and trained lawyers. Our product, “Virtual Associate”, provides firms with experienced US bar qualified attorneys and graduates of accredited law schools with significant experience in their area of expertise. We work with most of our clients year round as they face both workloads demands for increasing staff as well as cost optimization. Our model allows firms the ability to size up or down as business requirements and caseloads demand varies.
LPOSavvy: Besides Legal Services, Green Point offers IT, Publishing, Engineering and other solutions. Did some of those other services precede your legal offering? Did they influence your approach through ‘lessons learned’ and applying them to legal services?
JKarceski: Of course… Our initial business was in the Engineering Service area, where there is a vast talent pool in India. Additionally, my background is in software development and during my previous positions, I deployed outsourcing resources to assist my companies in their software development process for many years. I see the value of outsourcing to US companies in several domains and businesses which Green Point has not entered to date. Having been in financing and operations, I quickly saw the value and opportunity of Green Point’s model for the legal market.
“Lessons Learned” is a poignant phrase. A key focus for Green Point is on collaborative management. In light of this principle, core operating teams are spread across geographies. This is a result of our identifying relative strengths in the talent pools while at the same time investing in training and development for the personnel. That methodology has fueled Green Point’s exploration and investment into new vertical channels to reach and service our clients and customers. We will continue to expand our offering where we see opportunity and management capability.
LPOSavvy: An aspect of legal outsourcing which often gets overlooked, and is not discussed much is the need for project management skills between onshore clients and offshore providers. What is Green Point’s philosophy for managing the delivery process and communication?
JKarceski: Underlying the product and service verticals are managers who are the designated business owners of that vertical. These managers are seasoned professionals with significant domain expertise. They are responsible for direct service delivery, as well as the financial performance of their respective businesses. This provides Green Point with greater accountability and ensures the effectiveness of incentive based performance.
LPOSavvy: What aspects of Green Point’s legal offerings do you feel are distinctive and offer an innovative approach to legal service outsourcing?
JKarceski: There are several aspects in which I believe that Green Point distinguishes itself; namely, its product offering, client service methodology, systems for delivery, etc. Green Point is not striving to be the “low cost” provider, but the provider who provides excellence in customer service and product delivery. Our role is to provide our clients and customers with an experience that combines a seasoned and experienced professional pool of service providers along with excellent customer service. We believe that our customers should feel that there is no difference in the service we provide to them from that at their US lawyer. We understand that this relationship is fundamental and built on trust.
LPOSavvy: If there is something besides the obvious cost advantages about legal process outsourcing that law firms and legal counsel have simply overlooked, what do you feel that may be? What are they missing? Or is it something else entirely?
JKarceski: You are correct. My belief is that outsourcing provides several advantages for companies in the US; specifically, it reduces risk of product delivery or dependence on key resources. Outsourcing allows companies to leverage and deliver a broader product or service offering. For example, the auto manufacturers use outsourcing to reduce time deliveries, improve process quality, and reduce costs. I believe this translates both manufacturing and service businesses throughout the US. Additionally, outsourcing allows companies to have a broader service offering to customers. If companies can reduce operating costs, they are allowed to use the invested capital to reinvest in the business and new products or related services.
LPOSavvy: For those who may be newcomers to the idea of LPO, what would you suggest that legal departments and firms should look for when assessing and ultimately selecting an offshore legal services provider?
JKarceski: The idea of outsourcing is either to improve workloads “efficiency” or reduce costs “cost optimization.” In either case, it is not about reducing quality. The most important part of outsourcing is that principle. Quality in every aspect of the process cannot be compromised. The experience must be seamless to the client.
As always, my first suggestion is to meet and understand the history and background of your LPO partner. Clients need to trust and work with a LPO in much the same way as the standard attorney/client relationship. This sounds simple, but it will yield very surprising results for those that pay attention to the rigor and thoughtfulness of the LPO provider in the sales process.
LPOSavvy: Looking ahead, what areas of legal outsourcing do you foresee will have the most impact for legal clients?
JKarceski: I believe that all aspects of outsourcing will be important to legal firms in the future. LPO companies can assist legal firms in determining what their core competencies are and strengthen that offering, while not reducing their practice coverage areas. Green Point is striving to assist our clients into building stronger and better practices, not just bigger practices.
LPOSavvy: Jacklyn, given the current events in the region, how have the events in Egypt and other neighboring nations affected your operations? What would you say to those who may be uncertain about engaging with Green Point?
JKarceski: I believe that the current events and uncertainty in the Middle East will have little to no impact on our service offering. Since its inception, Israel has been a country which has been riddled by political challenges and yet hosts major facilities by the largest US technology companies. Intel and HP are the largest employers in Israel. Additionally, there are significant sums of venture and investment capital continuing to flow to Israel, despite the recent political events. My belief is that while the region is encountering change in its political landscape, these changes may have limited day to day impact on Israel. One must distinguish the overall government and economic stability of Israel from the countries surrounding it as seen by the recurring investments made by large US corporations as well as the investment community.