“The challenge I lay down here is for all lawyers to introspect, and to ask themselves, with their hands on their hearts, what elements of their current workload could be undertaken differently — more quickly, cheaply, efficiently, or to a higher quality — using alternative methods of working.”
And so said Richard Susskind; IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice, in his infamous book ‘The end of Lawyers’ back in 2007.
If you believe today’s Law Society Gazette, the means of turning Susskind’s words into reality and delivering alternative processes is about to pervade the UK legal sector.
The story explains how two of the market’s three best known legal process outsourcing (LPO) providers have announced ‘aggressive’ plans to corner the market, with their mandates recieved largely from in-house legal teams at large corporate entities rather than private practice.
The article quotes Pangea3 co-chief executive David Perla who said his company plans to boost its 350 LPO staff, who include 280 fee-earners, to 500 staff in total by the end of 2010 – and that he expects that number to ‘grow further’ from 2011 onwards.
Speaking to one in-house counsel that I know at a top ten insurer, there seems to be an acceptance that LPO is a part of the industry’s future, particularly for businesses that are acquiring or have an international footprint and very high volumes of contracts held in numerous locations and formats.
This is the kind of processing nightmare that corporates have charged their in-house teams to deal with and as the Gazette article suggests, there are firms now that claim to have the infrastructure and wherewithall to manage it profitably at a fraction of the price.