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Legal process outsourcing, or LPO, is an emerging branch of the legal profession where corporations or law offices send some of their lower-level legal work to a legal service provider either locally or overseas. While there are advantages and disadvantages to hiring an LPO consultant, companies can minimize these disadvantages by choosing a high-quality, ethical LPO service with a proven track record of success. The key to choosing a quality LPO service is to find a service that abides by local laws regarding attorney-client privilege and legal ethics.
The first consideration for corporations or legal offices when choosing an LPO service is whether or not the service can perform the work required. Generally, legal process outsourcing involves sending out work such as research, document handling, contract overview, and business transaction management. Outsourcing these legal processes can make more time available for more important pursuits like court appearances and meetings with clients. LPO strategies can also be very helpful for corporate legal departments who don’t have the personnel to handle large amounts of documents or contracts. When choosing an LPO center, the professional in charge of LPO management should draw up a work order listing all services that will be required.
Another consideration is whether or not the LPO service will be bound by legal ethics and be licensed to perform legal services in the applicable jurisdiction. Many LPO companies are located overseas, and this can present a problem if they are not licensed to perform work using local laws. One way for companies to know that an LPO service will be able to fulfill their legal needs without ethics violations is by making sure the service is registered with a legal organization, such as the American Bar Association in the United States. Lawyers needing extra help from these kinds of service providers can also check with their local bar association to find a licensed and qualified LPO center.
For individuals in the legal profession, working in LPO can provide many opportunities to build up expertise and put knowledge gained in law school to use. LPO job qualifications generally include paralegal certification, work experience in a law office, and possibly certification. Students currently attending law school or taking paralegal studies classes can also work at an LPO center. With the growing popularity of LPO services, LPO jobs can offer law students a place to gain experience with legal research and documents.
@nony - That’s a great example, and in general I agree. I have some apprehension about outsourcing overseas, however, because of cultural and language barriers.
However, I would assume that these LPO services have been properly vetted to be able to understand the culture they are representing and of course possess the proper legal credentials.
Also, the attorney client privilege, as the article points out, is an important consideration as well. That alone would give me pause before I’d outsource any legal work.
But I am sure that the LPO providers understand these concepts and would abide by them, at least if they wanted to stay in business as reputable legal services outsourcing providers.
Legal outsourcing services make sense. After all, the concept has already been applied in the consumer sphere.
For example, there are Internet companies that offer consumers template driven approaches to creating their own wills, charters of incorporation and other important legal documents.
Before, you’d need to hire an attorney to do these kinds of tasks. Now, you can go online and find companies that have been founded by lawyers which will sell you do-it-yourself packages so you can create these documents yourself, saving you a bundle of money. So these lawyers have, in essence, outsourced these bread and butter type services already, haven’t they?
Therefore it would make sense, in my opinion, for lawyers to outsource their mundane paperwork tasks to overseas companies, so that the attorneys can focus on the important matters like preparing for their court appearances and taking care of their clients.
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