A Law Firm Adds Another Shingle: Consultant in the New York Times (10/14/05) reports that Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has expanded its legal outsourcing practice to provide outsourcing consulting. Query: have these consultants analyzed their own firm’s operations? 

“Lawyers at Pillsbury, apparently trying to climb up what consultants call the value chain, are becoming involved earlier in such transactions, sometimes even before a client has decided whether to outsource a business operation.” Were I a prospective outsourcing client, I would ask to see sample work product, specifically the consultants’ analysis of the law firm’s outsourcing options and strategy.

Non-outsourcing clients might also tap this resource. Litigation or antitrust clients could ask the consultants to determine whether large and costly document reviews should be conducted by lawyers in India rather than by associates or contract lawyers. The return on investment on such a consulting project might well be enormous.

The article also reports that Milbank Tweed, another firm with a strong outsourcing practice, has stuck to the traditional advisory role. Interestingly, Milbank has outsourced word processing. I do not know if Pillsbury has outsourced any functions. Perhaps the Pillsbury consulting practice will publish a case study of law firm outsourcing opportunities and recommended strategy as a marketing item.