Career Question Answers -What is legal process outsourcing (LPO) ?

What is Legal Process Outsourcing ? Do you think this is a Good Career option for Law Graduates in India ? And, What kind of money I can Earn –

Vishal Ahuja

In Legal Process Outsorucing Companies, Law Firms and Lawyers outsource legal work from off-shore areas where cost of providing Legal Services is high (United States of America, Europe, UK, Germany, Australia) to Countries where the cost of Services is comparatively cheaper – India, Philippines etc.

Legal services are the next destination for a “cool” BPO. With legal process outsourcing (LPO) recording a 50 per cent growth last year, LPOs are coming up in a big way in many metropolitan cities in India. Since 2003, in India alone, the number of companies offering legal process outsourcing services to U.S. and U.K. law firms has grown to over 120

The growth in the sector is primarily due to the increase in demand, vendor maturity and the capability of vendors to offer higher value services.

This sector has potential to grow and large number of foreign firms are outsourcing work to India, as these LPOs offer quality work at a lower rate. A recent study by the US-based Forester Research pegs the current annual value of global legal outsourcing at $146 million, which could rise up to $640 m by throwing up 32,000 jobs by 2010 ($4 billion and 79,000 jobs by 2015).

Indian LPOs are in demand because we produce a large number of legal professionals who have a good working knowledge of English. Currently there are about 100 LPO firms in India. Companies such as Inventurus, Pangea3 and Integrecon, Mindcrest have started massive hiring in Mumbai.

Work in an LPO is diverse involving quantitative/low-skilled tasks, qualitative/skill-intensive tasks, legal transcription, drafting contracts, research memoranda, pleadings and briefs.

Many third-party KPO and BPO service providers such as WNS, Evalueserve, OfficeTiger, Pangea3 and SDD Global have added LPO to their portfolio. They are now deft at handling legal tasks such as patent filing, drafting legal reports, litigation support and patent proof reading, etc.

The future growth will be in high-volume services like document review, eDiscovery, legal publishing, etc. as well as niche areas in Intellectual Property and contract services.

As most of the work comes from American and UK law firms, it is essential to be familiar with their law, as it gives the company an edge over its competitors. Law colleges such as Pune-based Indian Law Society, Symbiosis and Government Law College, Mumbai, are already collaborating with US law schools to teach US law to their students.

The job could be contractual or an hourly-wage basis. However, most LPOs prefer working on a contract basis, as this is hassle free.

Fresh law graduates prefer to join LPOs instead of jostling for clients in crowded city courts where the opportunities for freshers are somewhat limited. Moreover, LPOs offer lucrative salaries — as high as Rs 25,000-30,000 for an entry-level job. Even lawyers from traditional legal firms are quitting to join LPOs for fatter salaries.