Recent years have seen a significant growth in legal outsourcing. Like many other industries, changes are being implemented to lower costs, keep profits high and remain in business. The uncertain economy can be credited for this.
Legal outsourcing is one of the current changes and involves an evaluation of working practices. This is where legal support services are no longer conducted on the premises of the law firm – instead the tasks may be completed by another firm or a legal support services company, which are becoming increasingly widespread overseas.
In fact, Forrester Research has predicted approximately £2.6 billion worth of legal work will be outsourced to India in 2015.
India may have been picked out for this prediction simply because it has an increasing middle-class population, with academic work on the up, for relatively little money in comparison to the UK.
With this in mind, India has seen the largest expansion in the legal outsourcing area, knowing that Indian lawyers are completely capable of doing the work of junior associates.
For UK lawyers, who may have time-consuming meetings for most of their working day, administrative work such as paperwork and research can easily fall to the bottom of the pile. In order to effectively manage workloads, these tasks can be outsourced. This is particularly beneficial if your hourly rate is significant, meaning that the more time spent on menial tasks is money essentially wasted.
Although some concern has been expressed that junior lawyers may not be able to learn the ropes if these tasks are outsourced, the increase in legal outsourcing companies will ensure there are positions available for juniors to pick up the experience they need whilst learning about the industry. Like other young professional adults, the pathway to management is not as straight as it used to be, but is no less valuable just because it involves movement.
It could be argued that by working at a legal outsourcing company, there is more varied work available, alongside international exposure.
If, by some chance, there is a strong desire to become involved in this area of the legal system only, they are given the opportunity to do so exclusively, whilst working on mixed clients.
Conveyancing is one example where outsourcing could be beneficial. The housing crisis has meant that less people can afford to move home, meaning fewer solicitors are required for this type of work. The area becomes more competitive, and prices must reflect this. Conveyancing requires an enormous amount of research: about the house, the land, and building permissions. But, this could mostly be outsourced if desired.
What outsourcing can achieve is a high standard of work produced quickly – and if done by a specialist overseas, it can also be cheaper.
For some this may be a very new area, and it can be difficult to hand over work knowing that you could do it yourself. However, legal process outsourcing is certain to only become more popular in the next few years. Will you be on-board?
Guest article written for YouBlawg by Karen Asbury from Accuro, Legal Process Outsourcing specialists