Could you better allocate your budget? We are witnessing times of globalization, evolving organization structures and mounting regulations. The domino effect of this is increased legal spend. However, through outsourcing, you can get some of that legal spend back, while adding value and efficiency to the process.
- Increase in-house efficiency: To begin with, assess the business, looking at the tasks you must complete and your core competencies. As a law firm or a legal department, your core competency may be working on legal cases, conducting depositions, flagging legal issues and developing case strategies. Mundane administrative jobs and laborious processes, though necessary, may pull you away from more strategic tasks. Outsourcing such functions will not only expand your in-house capabilities but will also give you space to further develop expertise in your legal skills.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel: Experienced legal process outsourcing providers have excellent knowledge of business practices, the technology industry and process management. This makes them great at creating and analyzing metrics to standardize service offerings. Using such existing experience, law firms and legal departments need not reinvent the wheel each time they are faced with a new challenge; often someone around the globe has already faced that same challenge, and the LPO partner can provide recommendations on best practices.
- Stretch your budget: With greater standardization also comes greater cost savings. Outsourcing people-heavy functions can reduce many overhead and operational costs, bringing major benefits to the firms.
- Obtain added value: Though cost savings and efficiencies are primary motivators for outsourcing legal services, don’t underestimate the added value you can gain through outsourcing. “Value, rather than cost, is the new watchword, and will likely be measured by how service providers help empower business growth through innovation,” states Deloitte’s global outsourcing survey 2016.
- Access to expert talent pool: Access to skilled experts, round-the-clock service, and the ability to quickly scale up or trim operations are additional advantages of outsourcing.
What to Outsource
Once you have decided to outsource legal processes, the next question is: What should be outsourced? The following may help you decide where to start:
- Identify processes that could benefit from standardization such as those that are repetitive across the legal department. Tasks that are replayed and process driven should be the first to be outsourced. Brief your service provider once, and they will execute the tasks for you efficiently and cost effectively.
Some widely outsourced work of the legal industry includes:
- Administrative tasks: Data Extraction and Entry; Billing Services, etc.
- Litigation support: Legal Coding and Indexing; Document Review; eDiscovery Processing and Hosting; Database Creation and Maintenance
- Contracts: Contract Abstraction; Contract Management
- Intellectual Property: Patent Proofing, Docketing, Review
- Legal Research & Analysis: Statutory / Case Law Research
- Document Review is the most widely outsourced service. This budget head not only requires a substantial portion of litigation cost but also comes with multiple challenges: ever changing volumes, stringent timelines, evolving instructions/guidance, staffing, working and coordinating with different service providers to host, process, review and produce voluminous documents. Tenured and experienced LPO service providers bring together technology, people and processes to reduce the time spent and cost of the reviews.
While deciding whether a task should be outsourced, ask yourself:
- Does this need to be done in-house? Are there critical reasons why the legal function should be delivered in-house?
- If not, can it be done outside as well as, or better than in-house, and as cost effectively?
Whom to outsource to
Service providers can be found by asking other lawyers for referrals or searching online. Several things to look for include:
- Certainty: A good service provider should clarify areas of uncertainty for the client, including:
- How is the service provider different from others?
- How does the process work?
- Will I get value for my money?
- Will my data remain safe and confidential?
- References: A knowledgeable, experienced service provider should be willing to provide references of past work.
- Realistic approach: Most service providers will attempt to sell the moon, so you want someone that recognizes the boundaries of their service and is honest about what value they can provide.
- Tailored solutions: A good professional service provider should be enthusiastic about understanding and then solving, your business pain points. Many sales and marketing teams emphasize their own problem-solving abilities and experience without having the slightest understanding of the client’s needs.
How to Outsource
- Once you have determined the need to outsource, the “how” becomes relatively easy. Service providers are very good at processes and will help to implement the best process for your unique needs.
- Once you have decided on the service partner, they will walk you through the process. You will agree on the terms of service and the fees involved and sign a contract for the work. At EXO Edge, a project kickoff call happens next, where you and your team are introduced to your project manager and support team. You will discuss the specific project requirements, timelines, and receive specific details, such as how to reach the team at any time of day.
- Law firms typically find that once they have worked with a service provider on one project, it is very easy and offers advantages to continue working with that same provider on future projects.
If you want to know more about how these approaches can be put to work in your legal organization, let’s talk.