With Legal Tech New York ending today and the monster storm, don’t miss two interesting, and seemingly unrelated news items from today slip by. One is that Allen & Overy is opening a low cost, onshore service center. The other is that Cisco has launched a privacy and security compliance website.

Legal Week reported today in A&O to launch 300-strong support centre in Belfast that Allen & Overy will move some middle office and legal support services to relatively low-cost Belfast, N. Ireland. “The City giant expects to have as many as 300 staff based in Belfast by 2014 and is to begin consulting on proposals to transfer 180 roles from London by the autumn.” The new center will deliver “core internal business support processes, as well as… some routine elements of legal work.” This appears conceptually similar to WilmerHale’s recently opened Dayton, OH business services center (which, by the way, plans to have about 40 lawyers reviewing documents).

Separately, the Hogan Lovells Chronicle of Data Privacy blog wrote today that Cisco Privacy Site Features Hogan Lovells Cloud Compliance Primer. Cisco’s site at http://www.cisco.com/web/about/doing_business/legal/privacy_compliance/index.html wants to “share with our customers, colleagues in other legal departments and other interested parties our privacy and security compliance journey – and it is a journey since the legal framework and regulations in this area are still evolving.” After three days at LTNY, a closer read of the site will have to wait. My quick look, however, suggests it is rich source of useful information. I hope that other law departments share information to feed what I view as ‘open source law’ (not to be confused with the law of open source code).

In my view, these two disparate news items are indeed related. Both suggest the continued move to what I call “law factory”. The days when lawyers can claim that every legal question requires highly customized work performed in the most expensive cities are passing. Today, support – both legal and middle office – can be provided from many low cost centers. And both clients and lawyers can increasingly use self-service tools in place of expensive lawyering. Both initiatives bring costs down, albeit in very different ways. Both point the way to alternative ways to deliver legal support and service.