Before outsourcing an LPO project
June 11, 2010
LPO industry is on growth today and expected to reach $4 billion by 2015. Many law firms and in-house legal departments of the companies hire the services of LPO providers on a temporary or ongoing basis.
Legal outsourcing makes the lawyers to reduce a cost to the client; it will also allow them to have extra hours by hiring external staff. It is possible through outsourcing that an attorney can send documents for review before he heads home in the evening and have it ready on his desk in the morning.
The law firms and companies today needs to recruit more people when they need to handle the more matters and need to downsize during less busy times. This problem does not arise when they outsourcing it to LPO provider. The work can be outsourced on the business requirements. Besides they can save money on the infrastructure, maintenance and the cost on the new technology.
However, it depends on the organization and the firm’s need for legal outsourcing. Law firms and in-house legal departments of companies need to think whether there is any need for outsourcing legal work to LPO provider and the benefit they are getting from LPO providers. They also need to think how much they can save in terms of costs and what is the quality of work they would receive from LPO providers.
Before outsourcing legal work
There are many things to be known before outsourcing an LPO project. Although many LPO providers claims to be having experienced in all areas of law, and claims to be having such number of attorneys and paralegals, the answer to the question would be known only when we personally visit the facility of the provider and having an interview with the lawyers and paralegals working in LPO. Hence, it is very important to take many steps before outsourcing.
When you are outsourcing a small project you can outsource the work after having formal interview, video conferencing or VOIP session with the LPO provider and after going through the sample work done by them.
But when you are outsourcing a major project, you need to take many steps to know that particular LPO provider is capable of performing the work as expected.
Before outsourcing legal processes to LPO provider……..
- Go through the LPO provider profile on the web and attorney profiles if any.
- Enquire about the type of training they are providing to lawyers and paralegals at the LPO organization.
- Ask them for the case studies and sample work
- Send the sample project for solution and ask them how much they can save in terms of cost on particular project. Ask for detailed report on how they can solve it, the technology, and software’s to be used on particular project, number of attorneys and paralegals to be assigned on the project, and the time limit within which they can complete the project.
- Send the trial work to ascertain the LPO provider’s ability to complete the work with high quality. Suppose the work involves document review of millions of document. Send only hundred or thousand files for document review to ascertain the quality of work.
- If the trial work is done properly, have a telephonic interview, video conferencing, or VOIP session etc.
- Have the necessary outsourcing contract with the LPO provider. E.g. Service provider agreement, service level agreement, confidentiality agreement etc…
- Visit the facility: When you are outsourcing major project, visit the provider facility and speak to the Team who are going to work on you project
- Check for data security and confidentiality
- Check the support and training required from your side.
- Client consent: Although it is not mandatory to disclose to the client that his work being outsourced, it is the obligation on the part of the Law firm to inform to the client that his work being outsourced.
- Client fee: it is not mandatory to inform to the client about the fee agreement with the LPO vendor.
American Bar Association Formal Opinion 08-451: Even the formal opinion of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (Formal Opinion 08-451) , in its Lawyer’s Obligations When Outsourcing Legal and Non-legal Support Services. States…….
1. Supervise the work throughout the project
2. Conduct background checks of any lawyer, non-lawyer or placement agency involved
3. Interview the lawyers involved, and assess their educational background;
4. inquire into its hiring practices so as to ascertain the character of the employees who are likely to have access to client information;
5. Investigate the security measures in effect in the provider’s premises, including its computer network and refuse disposal systems;
6. Make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person’s conduct is compatible with the rules of professional conduct.
7. Have a personal visit to the location where the work is performed in order to get firsthand sense of its operation and the professionalism of the lawyers and non lawyers involved.
8. Ensure that the legal training received in that country is comparable to that in the United States
9. Ascertain the extent to which client property and other confidential client information may be subject to seizure in local court proceedings.
10. Evaluate the risk that client information may be lost or the project disrupted in the event of a dispute between the lawyer and the service provider.
11. Oversee the execution of the project adequately and appropriately
12. Inform the client about outsourcing their work to LPO provider and get the consent if necessary
13. Verify that the outside service provider does not also do work for adversaries of their clients on the same or substantially related matters