Unique LPO Management Insight
January 20, 2011
S Purani | LPOSavvy.info:: A survey conducted by Mr. Ravi Shankar, a Harvard Law School-trained lawyer and first year law associate, in 2010 gives a nice snapshot of the state of legal process outsourcing firms located in India. The primary objective of the survey was to gather insight directly from LPO executive managers on the prospects of entering the legal process outsourcing arena as a provider. However, Mr. Shankar’s report does more than that. The results also provide a perspective of how LPO providers see themselves, not to mention some of the challenges they have faced while marketing their services in the US and UK. This report is a summary of the responses Mr. Shankar received from some of the players in the LPO field who responded to his invitation to participate in the study. It’s also important to note that the surveys were responded by the CEO, President or Managing Director of the organization.
As someone close to the industry, most of the results of the survey were not terribly surprising to me, however here are a handful of my observations that I took away as most compelling. The full report can be downloaded by clicking here.
BPO firms who transitioned to extend their services to LPO tended to perform better.
My stance on this is a little mixed. I understand that having the infrastructure in place to sell, market and perform client management functions, allows BPO firms an advantage in the learning curve. However I do not agree with the larger BPO community’s sense that they can hop on the LPO bandwagon simply by updating their website. The work product of the legal client base is much more complex than traditional BPO activities. And to think security concerns are resolved because of satisfactorily addressing them in the BPO context, is not necessarily acceptable in legal services.
Majority of respondents advised newly starting LPOs to provide low cost services which require less legal-focused training.
While this advice makes sense from a practical point of view, these executives did not necessarily follow this advice themselves. Perhaps they were giving the advice as a lesson learned, and hoping new LPOs would not make the same mistakes they did? Well as business people, I’m not sure their advice was offered up in that way. Maybe it was, maybe not. In most of their cases they themselves offered services categorized to be higher valued than the lower cost commoditized services (transcription, document review, etc.).
Proficiency in English was of highest importance for LPO staff, followed by possessing a college degree and undergraduate law degree. Training protocol and practices followed were not addressed in detail by the survey.
This is an area which should become a higher priority for LPOs, especially as they endeavor to reach higher on the value chain. While the survey did ask what services they offer, and many stated they offer higher end services, it begs the question of how those personnel were trained and by whom.
Mr Shankar can be reached at [email protected].