LegalEase Solutions has a good summary of when to outsource and when not to outsource legal work.
A quick review of work that is successfully and efficiently outsourced provides some broad-stroke common traits: the work is typically less complex, more repetitive, and provides time and cost efficiencies.
Conversely, it follows to reason that the first area of work that is best kept solely in-house are cases dealing with complex, uniquely fact-driven subject matter. A prime example would be IP litigation.
Work that has a very high level of complexity and case-specific data can practically become its own field of study, which means that the amount of time required to bring outside attorneys up to speed would outweigh the potential reduction in costs.
Does IP litigation belong on the list of matters that should not be outsourced? Certainly the high level strategic thinking and court appearances that are part of any litigation cannot and should not be outsourced. But outsourcing legal work effectively is all about unbundling those tasks which cannot be outsourced from those which can.
Typically, document review is an area ripe for outsourcing. The argument with IP litigation is that it is difficult to outsource even document review in these types of cases. The level of technological understanding that is required is too high.
This may may be an accurate assessment of the capabilities of many LPOs; but in my unbiased opinion (okay, I work for IPEngine so I’m totally biased!), IPEngine actually has this capability because the staff in India are the equivalent of patent agents here in the states (i.e. they do have technical degrees in engineering and the life sciences and training in patent prosecution).