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Legal outsourcing is when a law firm obtains assistance from external legal support services to handle certain aspects of its legal work. For the most part, legal work pertains to the work carried out by in-house legal departments of businesses, legal research companies, legal publishing firms, law firms, and practicing attorneys-at-law. The bulk of work from these firms may demand outside help in order to finish a project on time. Firms can seek assistance from outsourcing companies based abroad, as many outsourcing vendors from overseas typically will offer similar work for a reduced price.
In a legal outsourcing arrangement, the usual process is that a lawyer will enter an agreement with an individual or a firm to provide a variety of legal services. This can include actions such as conducting legal research, drafting reports, entering pleas, and recording memoranda of law. The outsourcing vendors then provide the necessary infrastructure, expertise, and labor to be able to accomplish the specified work.
Saving money is one of the perceived benefits of legal outsourcing. Fees charged by outsourcing entities typically are lower, because the investments they made on infrastructure and skilled labor are distributed to their numerous clients. Lower expenses also could be the reason for continuing popularity of the practice.
Another important factor to legal outsourcing is that it typically will free up a lawyer from insignificant tasks and allow him to focus on other matters. A good example is the outsourcing of litigation support services. This can save the lawyer time by compiling data and doing extensive documentation in his stead. The work produced by the outsourcing entity can then serve as the basis for the analysis of the attorney. Typically, the amount of time needed to finish the task is greatly reduced by the process.
Legal outsourcing typically handles the non-core, labor-intensive tasks such as legal transcription, conversion of documents, legal data entry, coding, and indexing. This type of legal work usually is considered low-value work. Other non-core outsourced legal jobs may demand high-value work or require a deeper knowledge of law. Examples of high-value work are legal research, drafting of contracts, and tasks dealing with intellectual property rights.