A new survey shows the direction legal outsourcing is heading – up. 

Jack Diggle is a principal consultant at princeOMC, which is a consultancy that provides clients with “the resources to build the right sourcing solutions…. services include … strategy formulation, service provider selection and operating model design, and governance and service management.” In the Shape of Things to Come in Legal Business (Feb 2008), Diggle presents the results of a survey (conducted with Legal Business) of over 100 senior US and UK large law firm managers. Key findings include:

  • 20% of overall law firm workforce (27% practice support; 15% legal work) will be offshored by 2015.
  • Legal outsourcing will shift from onshore to offshore, driven by cost savings and talent availability.
  • The move offshore, however, can be complex, with law firms concerned about data protection, vendor reliability, and loss of control
  • Over 50% of respondents believe that commoditized legal work will be offshored within 5 years. Moreover, about 25% believe even “specialist legal work” will “move outside the firm” in this time period. Already, 10% and 5% of respondents respectively have offshored commoditized and specialist work.
  • Over 20% of respondents have already outsourced lawyer support such as word processing or research.

The complete survey is available for purchase at Legal Industry Outsourcing Trends 2008.