From Around the (LPO) Web – Questions of Communications and Insurance

Last Friday, in her blog Legal Research and Writing Pro, Lisa Solomon posted Independent US Contract Lawyer Takes On Foreign LPO wherein she critiqued the post Bursting the 7 Myths behind Legal Process Outsourcing by Jagriti Mishra, the head of business development at Indian LPO company Draft and Craft Law Firm Pvt. Ltd. (Isn’t it cool how we  can link all this commentary so easily?!?) 

Solomon criticized “grammar and usage errors” in Mishra’s post, to which Mishra responded (in her blog) that because his role is business development, his posts are in no way “indicative of work product meeting US/UK standards.”  In my recent post Culling the List of LPO Vendors, I suggested that CGs and law firms evaluate exactly this sort of vendor communication.  I will let readers draw their own conclusions here, but the relevant questions that I suggested clients ask are:

  • What is the vendor’s reputation for quality and professionalism? 
  • Do all of their communications back up their reputation?

Solomon also expressed concern about Mishra’s “claim that foreign LPO companies don’t have to carry malpractice insurance.”  Insurance is clearly an area to be addressed when evaluating an LPO vendor, but, depending on your company’s particular criteria, may not be critical enough to eliminate an LPO vendor based on an initial, high-level review.  Solomon’s link supporting her call for insurance highlights three legal service (research and writing) firms, but, among them, only hers felt the need for malpractice insurance. Insurance has been a negotiating point between law firm clients and LPOs, and deserves a full analysis before entering into an agreement, but fees, supervision, financial stability and other factors may determine how a client and an LPO decide to allocate risk and responsibility for insurable potential problems.

As I’ve said repeatedly in this blog, the capabilities of LPO vendors vary widely, so evaluating an LPO vendor should be part of a comprehensive process to consider people, process, systems and market presence.

3 Responses to From Around the (LPO) Web – Questions of Communications and Insurance

  1. Lisa Solomon says:

    Thanks so much for adding your thoughts to this discussion, Matthew.

    I’m commenting to address your statement that I’m the only expert quoted in Bob Ambrogi’s 2003 article, entitled Outsourced Legal Writing, who recommends that LPO providers carry malpractice insurance. The article also quoted Pamela Bresnahan, former chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability. According to the article, “[i]n order to protect themselves< bresnahan offered three suggestions. First, find out of they have insurance, and, if so, how much. Second, find out who you are getting. Are they experienced? Third, make sure that whoever hires them is supervising them."

    Even aside from the opinions expressed in the 2003 article, though, I think your suggestion that fees, supervision, financial stability and other factors may determine how a client and an LPO decide to allocate risk and responsibility for insurable potential problems is practical only for large firms that outsource to LPOs. The small firms and solo practitioners I work with (and who are most likely to work with independent US-based contract lawyers) frankly don't have the time and/or specialized knowledge necessary to do a complicated analysis of risk factors and negotiate accordingly.

  2. Thanks for your comment Lisa. I stand by my statement that your organization is the only one of the three service providers in the article cited to have insurance. Your comment with regard to small firms and solo practicioners negotiating insurance is well taken especially in light of Mishra’s claim to target that market.

    Thanks for contributing.

  3. Lisa Solomon says:

    I agree that I’m the only service provider interviewed for the article who had insurance at that time (back in 2003). However, I noted in my original post that experts (which would include Paula Bresnahan) recommend that companies providing contract lawyering services carry malpractice (or errors and omissions) insurance.

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