Friday, February 12, 2010

Aussie’s Outsourced Outback

A recent article in The Times outlines the future growth prospects of the Australian legal market as demonstrated by A&O expansion as well as the Norton Rose merger with Deacons.

One interesting bit about the article includes the inference of Australia as a “ rival” to India as a “cost effective location for outsourcing international legal work”

While to date there has not been a significant push for outsourced legal services from Australia, it does appear to be geography of growing interest for UK and US firms facing downward pressure on their pricing structures.

At the very least, it remains just another sign of the increasingly globalised nature of legal services.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The “Process” in Legal Process

A recent blog post by general counsel legal consultant Rees Morrison outlines an insightful definition of “process” in legal process outsourcing.

The original reference was a quote by the general counsel of GenPact featured in the European Lawyer Issue 92, Jan. 2010. Per Morrison’s post and the European Lawyer regarding the definition of process when delivering legal services, “[t]here needs to be a process, it should be routine and people should be able to use a set of rules and guidelines in dealing with the work.”

We certainly agree that outsourcing legal services should not be delivered in the same manner as legal work performed by domestically qualified legal professionals.

Ensuring appropriate amount of structure or “process” surrounding a legal outsourcing engagement allows the firm to leverage economies of scale as well as ensure adherence to appropriate ethical standards when sourcing to non-domestically qualified personnel.

Furthermore, only leveraging labor arbitrage without the help of a supporting process is often unsustainable and leaves a significant amount of value on the table for the contracting law firm or general counsel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Legal Outsourcing Conference

Fronterion Managing Principal Michael Bell has been invited to participate on a panel for an upcoming legal outsourcing conference in the UK this March.

The panel will also include Mark Lewis (Partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner) and Mark Ford (Director of the Clifford Chance Knowledge Centre). Both are also recognized thought-leaders in the legal outsourcing community.

Topics to be addressed in the panel discussion:
• How to communicate with clients (of the law firm) about outsourcing initiatives.
• What are the insurance exposure issues that must be addressed?
• Specific points to review during the vendor selection process.
• Building in cultural nuances of the onshore client when offshoring.
• Different types of engagement structures when working with outside vendors.
• Core vs non core outsource/captive/offshore?
• Lessons learnt to date: People/Process/Technology/Knowledge Transfer issues

The UK, which has seen a number of significant announcements regarding legal outsourcing initiatives recently, is a geography of growing interest for alternative delivery of legal services.

More details about the upcoming conference are available through EMRG.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vendor News Round-up

Here is the round-up of several of this week’s vendor announcements. These announcements reflect a number of the trends anticipated by Fronterion in the Ten for 2010 trending release in December 2009.

CPA Global announced a 47% equity management buy-out by the London-based Intermediate Capital Group. The deal was led by DLA Piper and was priced out at $709 million for the near majority stake.

It will be interesting how the buyout will affect the management and direction of CPA Global. Results are yet to be seen. At the very least, it does appear to be a good indicator in regard to the unfreezing of global capital markets.

As predicted in Ten for 2010, Fronterion noted that, “As capital markets improve in 2010, these larger players will access outside capital investment to drive further growth and acquisitions.”

A joint announcement revealed Integreon will be one of the vendors involved in an innovative e-discovery initiative by International law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. The offering known as PEARL (Pillsbury’s E-Discovery Alliance of Resource Leaders) is an alliance of undetermined formality to link together an end-to-end e-discovery solution for Pillsbury clients.

In addition to Integreon, other vendors in the alliance include ACT Litigation Services, Discovery Services, Protiviti and TransPerfect Legal Solutions.

This is a major step forward to have an American Global 100 law firm publically announce they are outsourcing significant aspects of their legal services. We can be fairly certain that this will not be the last.

Another interesting component of the alliance is it’s pricing structure. It is one of the first formal offering of an e-discovery solution by a law firm with per gigabyte pricing.

This also reflects trending predicted by Fronterion, “As organizations continue to publicly broadcast their outsourcing initiatives and leverage their outsourcing engagements as a competitive differentiator, vendors who are part of high-profile deals will be in a position to build substantial brand awareness.”