Legal process outsourcing (LPO) continues to be in the news. Law Practice Management magazine (a publication of the Law Practice Management section of the American Bar Association) has a feature article on it. Separately, next week in NYC at the ABA Annual meeting is a “Presidential CLE Centre Showcase Program” on outsourcing (I am a panelist). 

Outsourcing Legal Services Abroad is an excellent overview of the LPO market and issues by Bill Gibson in LPM magazine. I found particularly interesting the experience of Richard Granat, a lawyer who has long been an innovator in delivering legal services to consumers (his web sites include and Maryland Family Lawyer.) The article quotes Granat:

“Through my virtual law firm operation, I have used an Indian firm to do legal analysis for clients that I’m working with, and the results have been excellent – and it costs about 50 percent less than the cost of a U.S. paralegal. Since the person doing the work is an attorney trained in English common law, the quality of the work is often better. We’ve also assigned basic legal research, as in compiling statutory materials on a particular subject for every jurisdiction. This work has been excellent and our cost is about $12 an hour, and that cost includes the cost of online legal research services. This cost is less than it would cost [to have the work done by] a U.S. law student, and the work is more reliable.”

Gibson notes, however, that Granat “feels more hesitant about sending more specialized legal services overseas at present, he does foresee an expansion in how smaller U.S. firms will use the Indian outsourcing firms to serve their needs and increase their efficiency going forward.” More detail about Granat’s experience with outsourcing is available in LPM at Richard Granat’s Outsourcing Experiences. See also the article about 36-lawyer firm Zeichner Ellman & Krauses positive experience with outsourcing in Battling the Big Boys: Outsourcing Helps New York Boutique Compete in Megafirm Arena

For anyone attending the ABA 2008 Annual Meeting in NYC next week, Bill Gibson will moderate a legal outsourcing panel at 10:30am on Friday, August 2nd, in the Trianon Ballroom at the NY Hilton. The panelists are Sally King of Clifford Chance; Jim Lantonio, the retired executive director of Milbank Tweed and now a consultant; and me. (ABA Annual Meeting program – BIG PDF file.)

Updated 4 Aug 2008: Another LPO article: Sea change – Ever-rising costs are forcing a growing number of law firms to offshore legal work by Mary K. Pratt in the Boston Business Journal, 1 August 2008.