LPO Update: Microsoft, Rio Tinto, New LPO Ethics Article, Deals
Legal process outsourcing is in the news again this week. For those whose eyes are not glued to Twitter, I thought it would be helpful to re-cap several unrelated events this week.
First, on Monday, Leah Cooper, formerly inhouse counsel at Rio Tinto and avid LPO promoter, has changed hats. She now works for legal process outsourcer CPA Global. In 2009, I blogged about Rio Tinto outsourcing several times. Legal Week reported (on 15 Feb 2010) that Rio Tinto legal chief [Leah Cooper] quits for new role at outsourcing partner CPA.
Today, Legal Week reports that Microsoft outsources legal work to India with CPA Global deal. The article explains that “A team of between three and five qualified lawyers at CPA are handling multi-jurisdictional legal support work, including legal research, for Microsoft.” Not many US companies have gone public with using an LPO, so this is noteworthy.
Also of interest in this article: “In a separate move, CPA is set to launch an outsourcing centre in the UK. The centre, which will take on low-level legal tasks, will add to the company’s onshore outsourcing operations in the US.” I have frequently written that LPO is not the same as offshoring. As more LPOs develop US and UK domestic facilities, the legal market will, I hope, internalize this distinction.
Both these articles generated a lot of blog and Twitter buzz, as well as articles in main stream legal media. Here is a partial list of commentary I found interesting:
- Big Changes in Legal Outsourcing by practicing lawyer Simon Chester at slaw.ca
- Is Legal Offshoring Slowly Making Its Way Back “On Shore?” by blogger and EDD lawyer Gabe Acevedo
- Clients Focus on Process; Law Firms on Profits? by former inhouse lawyer, consultant, and blogger John Wallbillich
As outsourcing gain traction, some lawyers will undoubtedly raise questions about the ethics of outsourcing. To their rescue comes an in-depth article published on Feb 14, 2010. Ethics of Legal Outsourcing White Paper by my colleague Mark Ross at LLRX.com is the most comprehensive discussion of the ethics of legal outsourcing I recall seeing.
Deal making in LPO has also been in the news. My day-job company, Integreon, a knowledge process outsourcer (KPO) and legal process outsourcer, announced this week that it had raised $50 million in new capital (press release). And a couple of weeks ago, CPA Global announced that Intermediate Capital Group (“ICG”), a leading independent investor and fund manager, announces that it has acquired a significant minority stake in legal services firm CPA Global.
With all this news, LPO is beginning to feel like e-discovery in its heyday.
Update 19 Feb 2010: News begets editorials: Legal Week published today
Editor’s comment: Passage to India. Discussing the Microsoft outsourcing deal, the editors write “When a law firm does it, heads are turned – but when a company does it, people really sit up and take notice…. If firms aren’t coming up with [cost-cutting] solutions then clearly a client will.”
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