May 28, 2009
For over a decade, IT work has been migrating around the globe to lower cost jurisdictions. While there have been some bumps in the IT outsourcing road (e.g. call centers in distant parts of the globe have created angry customers who have difficulty understanding the reps), for the most part, outsourcing in IT is now part of the business strategy of most large organizations.
The internet has truly flattened the world for knowledge workers and other professional services have begun to migrate across the globe as well. But the legal industry has been slow to adopt these changes. Lawyers are cautious by nature and while there has been talk for years in corporate circles about finding ways to control legal expenses, until The Great Recession, it was hard to get large firms in particular, to pay attention. That has all changed. Read the rest of this entry »
May 27, 2009
That according to Boston lawyer Jay Shepherd. You can rely less on outside counsel, use “lower quality” firms or work out fixed fee arrangements. But what about outsourcing some aspects of your work? Isn’t that choice number 4? Outsourcing overseas can lower costs by bringing in talent that is highly skilled but willing to work for a lower wage. That’s the resource that IPEngine brings to the table (i.e. highly credentialed engineers and scientists who command significantly lower compensation because they live in India). It is the solution offered by other LPO’s as well.
May 26, 2009
Billing by the hour (or fraction of the hour) has been common practice in the legal profession for half a century. Until recently, many law firms had little reason to set fees in any other way. Clients complained, but nothing really changed.
As hourly rates have continued to climb year after year, clients are now pushing back harder, particularly since the Fall of 2008 when the recession kicked into full gear. Corporate counsel are now demanding more certainty about what an engagement might cost—i.e. rather than simply hoping for the best. The challenge for most lawyers, however, is that they are unaccustomed to thinking this way. Read the rest of this entry »
May 21, 2009
Is the LPO glass half empty or half full
As reported by Mark Ross of Lawscribe, a West Coast LPO, Value Notes has released a new survey about the legal process outsourcing industry. According to the report, fewer than 3% of the respondents are using LPO (the survey respondents were from mid-sized and large law firms.) The study also reported that the principal concerns of the lawyers who have elected to use LPO is security. The principal concern of lawyers who have elected not to use LPO is quality. Read the rest of this entry »
May 19, 2009
I reported yesterday on layoffs at Fish and Richardson and at a number of IP firms. I also noted a few weeks ago that it is unclear whether patent infringement litigation is up or down.
As it turns out, one of my sources has reported to me that the Fish layoffs are connected to the work that the firm does before the International Trade Commission. In other words, the decline in billable work at Fish does not necessarily signal a decline in infringement litigation more generally. ITC litigation is high value fast paced work that can easily occupy a small army of associates. While my source did not suggest why this litigation may be down, declining imports on the heels of a major U.S. recession are a likely culprit.
May 18, 2009
Until now, IP has been somewhat immune from the downturn that has hit other legal practice areas. But with infringement filings down in the first quarter of 2009 and companies being more cautious about investing in patent protection, some IP firms and practice groups are now facing layoffs.
When the economy turns the corner, this will undoubtedly cause big problems for law firms. Finding patent lawyers who have the right expertise has never been easy. I suspect it will be particularly challenging when corporations loosen the purse strings and want to start spending again. The increase in spending will probably happen faster than law firms can hire associates and tech specialists. So here’s my next prediction: that same bottleneck will create good opportunities for companies like IPEngine.