LEGAL PROCESS OUTSOURCING
The legal industry across the globe is gradually turning towards outsourcing for gaining efficiencies and staying profitable in a highly competitive marketplace. Recognition of the fact that legal companies need to focus on their core competencies and leave back office processes to the hands of competent outsourcers is creating a compelling case for outsourcing out non-core processes. A further rationale for the outsourcing is to facilitate at the same time the in-house counsel of the foreign law firms to concentrate on core legal issues. The availability of outsourcing ventures with world-class resources and expertise is also boosting the growth of outsourcing by legal entities. Legal Process Outsourcing is a lucrative route to reduce cost and increase efficiency by outsourcing legal works to India.
The Realm of LPO
The LPO derives its roots from KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing). KPO refers to knowledge-intensive work that involves specialized domain expertise. High value processes that fall into this realm include: valuation research, investment research, patent filing and legal and insurance claim analysis. LPO in India started as a low-end work that mainly included transcription. But now LPO in India is a high-end knowledge intensive work. Presently everything from patent application drafting, legal research, pre-litigation documentation, advising clients, analyzing drafted documents, writing software licensing agreements to drafting distribution agreement is being outsourced to India. This potential growth took place to such an extent that today patent filing has its own separate existence different from LPO referred to as Patent Process Outsourcing (PPO).
India, a preferred location for outsourcing
The Indian Legal System is much like the UK, US, Canada, and a sizeable part of Europe — the major source of outsourcing. The Indian litigation and dispute resolution methodologies are well founded on the classic Constitution of the biggest Democratic Republic in the world and are understood universally. Indian legal system is also one of the most researched and informed legislations to ensure a uniform yet practical interpretation of the legislation throughout the breadth and depth of this land of unique diversity.
There are several factors that favour Indian attorneys:
* The advantage of the time zone
* Availability of English speaking attorneys
* Familiarity with common law doctrines
* Indian attorneys with US/UK qualifications are in plenty
* Labour cost differential- It almost costs up to 80 percent less than the US firms
* The quality and speed of work done
* Most LPO outfits in India are reported to be staffed 24/7
* The Indian legal professionals are taught to analytically interpret the laws
* Regulations of the Land by generously drawing on the similar legislations of other similar legal systems and are exposed to Common English Laws.
None other than the U.S does the majority of legal outsourcing. Legal services, outsource-able from the US alone are pegged at 3-4 billion dollars comprises paralegal and research support, contract drafting and revising and contract management, library services, patent and trademark prosecution and litigation support. It also includes some other European countries. Other major countries providing legal services market include UK, France, Australia, South Korea, Japan and China.
The Growth Prospects
Industry (ASSOCHAM), more than 200 top US companies alone are looking for offshore locations towards achieving saving of 30-70 per cent. The Chamber says, “India is already known for its large and increasing pool of quality engineering graduates, many of who are being attracted to the patent services segment of legal BPO.”
About one-third of the registered professionals currently provide patent services to European and American end clients, and this number is likely to double to 1,800-2,000 by 2010. India is set to achieve significant growth from its current share of 3-4 per cent to 6-7 per cent in the 250 billion dollar global market of Legal Process Outsourcing, by 2010.The global knowledge process outsourcing industry is expected to reach about USD 17 billion by 2010, of which USD 12 billion would be out sourced to India.
In addition, the India KPO sector is also expected to employ more than 250000 KPO professionals by 2010. Legal process outsourcing, as it is being called, has very high growth potential. It can fetch 79,000 jobs in India by 2015. While the LPO industry is rather nascent and has initially encountered many of the same struggles that early BPO outsourcing faced, it is poised to become a major sector of offshore outsourcing in coming years.