December 23, 2009
During the summer of 2009, IPEngine shifted its strategic focus towards IP consulting. While IPEngine continues to use resources in India and in doing so acts like an LPO, the scope of IPEngine’s work is much broader than simply outsourcing. As a result, the management at IPEngine made the decision to stop publishing the Middle Office.
The content of this blog will remain posted, however, since the issues raised are relevant to some of IPEngine’s work. In addition, there are links to some posts which continue to be shared by readers.
July 16, 2009
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).
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July 9, 2009
Recently, I posted on the need for lawyers to think like attorneys but bill like consultants. The Great Recession has increased the pressure on law firms to come up with more predictable ways to bill and the consulting industry provides a good model.
The tie in with this blog is that many LPOs are able to offer fixed fees for certain services and this in turn can help law firms to get a better handle on what to charge (other than simply setting an hourly rate). That is why I continue to write about alternative billing in this space.
IPEngine, the sponsor of this blog, offers one example. In working with law firm and corporate clients, IPEngine develops an understanding of client expectations. IPEngine will then quote a client on a project basis (e.g. by the patent, by the prior art search, by the office action, by the freedom to operate study, etc.) and over time, the price for future projects will be adjusted based on actual experience with the client.
While the whole idea of project billing may seem mysterious to most lawyers (many will assert that law is different and that the practice of law is too unpredictable and too idiosyncratic to reduce to flat fees) a recent experience I had with a home contractor highlighted for me that the legal industry really has it wrong.
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June 29, 2009
One thing is clear if you read the interview with the Managing Attorney of Rio Tinto, a Global Mining company that made headlines a few weeks ago when it announced a large LPO deal with CPA Global: there are GC’s out there who would like to law firms to embrace offshoring with more gusto. Law firms that realize this will have a marketing edge (at least with some clients). In the interview, the Managing Attorney, Leah Cooper, said: Read the rest of this entry »
June 27, 2009
An interesting analysis of recent ValueNotes research appears on Integreon’s blog.
Back in May, ValueNotes issued a report which concluded that LPO penetration had been relatively weak at law firms (only 3% of the surveyed firms had worked with an LPO.) ValueNotes is one of the few companies that has conducted research on the LPO industry. While Integreon suggests that this can be explained by factors other than a wholesale rejection of the concept (LPO is a nascent industry and lawyers are very slow to change), the post suggests that under-reporting may be at play. In short, individual lawyers may not be aware of what is happening at their firms. Read the rest of this entry »
April 7, 2009
Robert Ambrogi (law blogger extraordinaire) has a great summary of the keynote address that Richard Suskind gave at the ABA Tech Show last week in Chicago. The highlights include:
- The impact of the current economic climate on the practice of law is not temporary
- Lawyers need to focus on what clients want, not on what lawyers want to sell
- Clients want more for less
- Collaboration is a key way to cut costs
- Legal work is becoming commoditized and services are being unbundled so that more routine tasks can be done in more efficient ways
- As tasks are unbundled, they will be multi-sourced much in the same way that manufacturing has moved to this model