Businesses have traditionally relied on a combination of in-house legal departments and outside law firms for all of their legal work. During the past few years, maturing processes, technologies, and legal-services-delivery-perspectives have created an environment where corporations now have a spectrum of choices from which to source legal services. General Counsels can globalize in-house legal departments by consolidating legal staffers in low-cost jurisdictions or outsource legal work to Legal Process Outsourcing firms (LPOs) at significantly lower costs than traditional U.S. law firms can offer.
The delivery of legal services from offshore locations, primarily India, has grown dramatically in the last few years, and will continue in 2009. While LPOs are compelling, they are not the only option. Whether delivered through globalized in-house functions (international, legal, shared services functions) or LPO firms, mature legal processes now make it possible to deliver high quality work from across the globe despite the unique legal challenges of privilege, supervision and conflicts. Some large law firms have created their own “captive” units to offer lower cost legal services to their clients.