The number of legal process outsourcing (LPO) companies continues to grow. 

Joy London and I have updated our Outsourced Legal Services list: it now includes 100 LPOs, up from 77 in just three months since our last update.

Some notes about our list: It reflects published sources (web sites and articles). It does not distinguish between companies that may have 2 people versus those that may have 2000. We no longer check existing entries for each update. Instead, we now indicate the date we first added the LPO to the list and the date we last checked the web site; we hope to check web sites at least annually. As always, we welcome additions and corrections (e-mail to info at prismlegal dot com).

Some observations:

  • Anecdotally, it appears that more and more LPOs offer offshore document review. Reading vendor web sites, however, it can be be hard to distinguish between responsiveness and privilege reviews versus more limited ojbective or subjective coding.
  • Outsourcing has now spread to other countries. Two new LPO entries offer services from Israel; they seem to rely on US-trained and -experienced lawyers who live in Israel. Separately, Lex Factum is a legal research outsourcer based in Finland that serves the European market. Lex Factum is not on our list because we do not include US-based outsourced legal researchers. But it shows that outsourcing is not bound to any particular country.
  • While the total revenue of the LPO market is hard to pin down, it seems safe to say it is fragmented. Rahul over at Legal Process Outsourcing blog comments on the consolidation potential (citing WNS Global and ExlService look at inorganic growth in LPO (The Economic Times (7/31/07)).
  • Other commentators also question the apparent rapid growth. Mark Ross of LawScribe has a thought-provoking blog post, Is Everything What it Seems in the India Offshore Legal Outsourcing Space?. He compares the limited available published data to conclude that all may not be what it seems in LPO land. That said, he does envision rapid growth.

A final tidbit relating to the seeming spread of legal outsourcing: law firm Haynes and Boone LLP “plans to increase its use of Indian lawyers” according to the biographical statement of the HB lawyer-author of look abroad to outsource legal analysis (Houston Business Journal, 6/1/07). Few US law firms go on record about using offshore lawyers. Here is a a firm already using Indian lawyers and planning to increase use. A slip of the keyboard? Or a signal to clients that it is being efficient and cost-effective?