The demand for legal process outsourcing has gathered considerable pace in the past few years. In the next decade, it is expected to become vital in enabling law firms and in-house legal departments to grapple with the challenge of delivering a competitive, efficient, safe, and innovative service to clients.
What is Legal Process Outsourcing?
Legal process outsourcing enables law firms and in-house legal departments to utilise the services of external specialists to perform specific legal functions on their behalf. Services such as eDiscovery, client billing, legal cashiering, management accounts, contract drafting, document review, and compliance assistance are now commonly outsourced to third-party experts, rather than being undertaken in-house. There are many reasons for doing so, including handling a sudden influx of work for which there is insufficient internal capacity, to reduce wage costs, to drive efficiency, and ensure compliance with the latest standards and best practice.
Focusing on core competence
Legal process outsourcing enables legal teams to focus on what they do best. This is important as modern law firms have to be agile, allowing them to move in and out of legal markets as demand changes. Traditionally, providing new service offerings may have necessitated the hiring of new resources, training, and the implementation of new systems and processes, but in the age of legal process outsourcing, law firms can now focus on their core competencies.
According to the Law Society, legal process outsourcing “can allow law firms more opportunities to offer a wider range of services to clients, potentially attracting a broader client base”. And crucially, they say that legal process outsourcing “allows lawyers to concentrate on the task for which they are trained and paid, free from the inevitable bureaucracy that surrounds any legal service”. This is a win-win for law firms as by freeing staff to perform higher-level functions, without becoming bogged down with paperwork and administration, not only will the client receive a better service, but the employee will be more fulfilled in their role.
Ready to hit the ground running
The best legal process outsourcing providers will not only have experienced staff ready to perform the function required of them, but they will also do so in a manner which ensures compliance with GDPR, and all other compliance requirements. That said, it is essential that law firms and in-house legal departments engage external providers with the necessary skills, experience, and compliance credentials to undertake work on their behalf. For example, if a third-party will be processing data on behalf of the law firm, it is vital that they do so in accordance with GDPR. It is also important to ensure that the scope of the work, timescales, and delivery expectations are set and agreed, thereby avoiding any confusion or problems at a later date.
Finding trusted partners is key
New legal process outsourcing providers are launching each year, offering new services in innovative ways. By engaging with a provider you can trust and building a long-term relationship, the boundaries between the different businesses become seamless. As staff from the legal process outsourcing provider get to understand the processes and the slight nuances of the law firm they are assisting, work can be completed with even greater efficiency and in higher volume.
Legal outsourcing offers transformative benefits for small and medium-sized law firms trying to compete with the big players. Not only will legal businesses be able to operate with smaller cost bases, and those costs be better controlled than wholly in-house resources (i.e. due to fixed pricing arrangements), they can operate in a much more agile manner, providing greater strategic flexibility. Make 2020 the year your law firm starts to leverage the potential of legal process outsourcing.
If you are regulated within the English and Welsh markets, then please contact:
Alex Holt E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 07817 420 466
If you are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland, please contact:
Gregor Angus E: email@example.com T: 07875 598 593