There’s a fascinating string of mostly negative comments following this news story from the Lawyer about the latest moves into legal process outsourcing.
As recent news has suggested, there is a growing body of opinion that sees LPO as an inevitable force in the market which has no option in the face of a drive to see its services commoditised and cheapened.
One of the commentators asks: I would dearly love for partners like Duncan Weston to spend a day working as an unappreciated secretary or in accounts. I suspect it would be eye-opening.
I’ve observed over the last couple of years as law firms have cut from the bottom up with support staff axed in great waves which at times appear to have no real strategic objective except to struggle against falling incomes.
Capitalism and magnanimity are unhappy bedfellows and therefore it’s safe to assume the feeling amongst partners and fee earners is that any individuals whose’ role sits outside of their income generation model should be expendable for cheaper alternatives. Whether lawyers recognise that in many cases their income may rely on those departments on the chopping board is neither here nor there.
In the case of this deal, outsourced functions will include IT, HR, finance, business development, communications, knowledge management, facilities management and administration services.
Many things in business can be drilled down into their component processes and I trust CMS Cameron McKenna has identified this in its deal with Integreon. Perhaps putting business development on that list will be a blessing rather than a curse; In my experience it’s often better to take away the responsibility for marketing a business from ‘manufacturing’ and letting the sales people take over instead.