There are several similarities between Legal Process Outsourcing and other forms of outsourcing. Corporate firms are increasingly turning to LPO providers to cut costs associated with hiring lawyers in-house. LPOs just like outsourcing firms in other industries, provide the capacity to handle processes that the firm may not have developed already.
While LPOs may be compared to other forms of outsourcing, there are significant differences that need to be noted by corporate firms if they are to find the right vendor. Here is an outline of some of the key differences.
Process and Standardization
In other industries, outsourcing can be a process that involves the delegation of the tasks to the provider. The client simply requires the provider to finish the task according to specifications.
In legal support services, the process is more sophisticated. The provider not only needs to deliver to specifications but must have an understanding of the legal process in order to be effective. For instance, automation tools are needed to manage documentation and other forms of information, otherwise, the process may either take too long or may not be completed properly.
In other industries delegating tasks to an external organization does not require a lot of specialized supervision. The client only needs to ensure that the deliverables will be available on time.
In legal process outsourcing, supervision is very critical. LPO providers need highly qualified attorneys to ensure that the team follows procedures. Delays caused by poor execution need to be looked into carefully since legal support services must be delivered on time and without fail.
Failure to deliver to the specification can cost the organization requesting LPO services to suffer serious consequences which will affect its internal processes.
There are ethical issues that are bound to arise when an organization outsources their IT, Legal, or financial procedures. But legal process outsourcing has a wide range of ethical factors that need to be addressed.
- Confidentiality: One of these factors is confidentiality. If an LPO provider does not have a team of highly qualified legal experts, they may fail to understand how to maintain confidentiality while providing legal support services. Breach of confidentiality can have severe legal consequences for both the vendor and the client seeking legal support.
- Attorney-Client Privilege: Another ethical factor that affects LPO procedures is client-attorney privilege. It states that information and data shared between an attorney and his client must remain confidential and cannot be used against the client. However, once this information is shared with a third-party provider, the privilege may cease to exist. For individuals and organizations looking for legal support, outsourcing becomes a sensitive matter especially when the provider is in another country.
- Standards: Another concern for many organizations is whether the standards by an external firm can match the standards of the client. This is important for organizations to consider granted the implications of failing to adhere to rules and regulations.
The American Bar Association states support legal process outsourcing as long as clients take time to do due diligence and ensure the LPO provider can deliver.