There is some evidence that law firms have been adopting legal outsourcing at a slower pace than their own corporate clients. There are a variety of reasons for this; most obviously, lawyers are not eager to send billable work to another provider, even if the client will save money. As one partner articulated to me in a recent meeting, sending even commodity work to an offshore vendor is a win, win, lose proposition for a law firm (where the corporate client saves on legal fees, the vendor generates the fees the law firm used to generate and the law firm loses revenues but retains the risk associated with the engagement).
LPO is here to stay. So how do you advise a law student to adapt to this new reality? One law professor asks a series of good questions:
“OK, what legal work can’t be outsourced? Let’s figure out what that is and give our students job security by teaching them to do that.” Or we could modify the question slightly, adopt a “best practices” approach and ask “What legal work can best be outsourced, and what legal work can best be done by someone local?” Or maybe the real question we need to ask is “How can we best prepare our students to practice law globally, including how to use outsourcing effectively?”
I’ve also weighed in on the subject.