Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is still at a fairly nascent stage since its emergence in 1997. The space has over a 100 legal providers globally offering a variety of services across a number of locations. While providers have evolved organic and inorganically, there remains a lot more scope in terms of growth and innovation as the industry matures. This innovation includes but is not limited to:
- Further integration of technology within service offerings to ensure quicker and more efficient delivery
- Harnessing corporate and law firm relationships to support growth
- Regulating billing rates given increasing inflation offshore
With an improved onshore delivery model and an increase in the recruitment of senior management, service providers are taking steps to remain competitive. LPOs need to diversify their growth strategy by strengthening and marketing their non-litigation support service offerings.
Service offerings are one part of the equation within the scope for evolution. Among existing service lines, litigation support has and continues to be the largest contributor for LPOs in terms of volume of work and revenue. With increased technology integration within this service however, the bulk of the high-volume low-value work will begin to be automated. Human intervention will accordingly only then be needed for quality control and review.
This trend presents an excellent opportunity for service providers to market their other services more aggressively. These could include intellectual property, contract management, and corporate governance solutions. While service providers already offer these services to some degree, the prospect of widening their scope will guarantee additional business relationships. Additionally, what will make selling these services relatively easier are organizations having become more comfortable with the concept of outsourcing legal services on and offshore.
Most LPOs have relatively smaller teams for their other service offerings in comparison to litigation support. As LPOs begin to take on additional work in contract management, IP support and corporate governance, additional resources will not have to be hired to staff these growing teams. Effectively, LPOs can look within their organization and borrow or utilize resources from litigation support services. This will be possible due to the trend of automation requiring lesser human intervention than before. Moreover, being from within the organization, employees will only need training restricted to the specifics of these offerings as they already hold law degrees, have past experience and have attended the generic training programs required by all employees.
Failure to make this successful transition will lead to further consolidation of players but more importantly malaise within the industry a condition that will be hard to overcome. If however, this renewed diversification is effective, it will help firmly strengthen LPOs place in the legal industry.