The bottom line is simple. Using LPO services for time-consuming tasks in your firm can help you focus on what really matters.
With a plethora of businesses looking to outsource their non-core activities, there has never been a better time to get into the business process outsourcing (BPO) game. But what exactly is BPO, and how can legal organizations tap into this proverbial goldmine of opportunity?
But if you’re set on growing your firm, it’ll take more than a close-knit team that runs everything in-house. As your legal firm and client base expands, more and more factors will come into play, and this is precisely when and where BPO can come in handy.
To help you better understand the basics of BPO, and more specifically, LPO (legal process outsourcing), this article will guide you through the ins and outs you’ll need to gain a deeper understanding of the process and its numerous benefits.
What Exactly is BPO?
Business process outsourcing is a service where one organization contracts its non-core functions to an external organization. Generally, these functions are outsourced to dedicated BPO firms.
By outsourcing non-core business activities like customer services and data entry, companies have the freedom to focus solely on the core operations of their business, investing their resources in what matters most.
What are the Benefits of BPO Services?
The BPO industry is one of the fastest-growing industries of the gig economy, and there’s no indication of the trend slowing down any time soon. Organizations that set up a BPO firm in a developing country also benefit from reduced setup costs, cheaper overheads, and lower wages when compared to developed economies like that of the USA.
Back in the early 1990s, secretarial and administrative tasks were first offshored in countries like India and South Africa. And it was a wild scramble as law firms dashed to set up offices in these locations. But outsourcing, and more specifically LPO, has come a long way since then and evolved quite a bit over the years.
Today, the legal market is more competitive than ever before, and counsels are lowering spend on legal services. Companies want more innovative legal services delivered in a more efficient manner, all for the lowest possible cost.
Understanding BPO and LPO in Law
When it comes to the legal market, outsourcing can broadly be categorized into either BPO (business process outsourcing) or LPO (legal process outsourcing). You also have offshoring, where some functions are relocated to other jurisdictions to take advantage of lower labor costs, but this can form part of either BPO or LPO, depending on the kind of services being offshored.
BPO in law relates to back-office and middle-management functions, including facilities, mailroom, document processing, IT, HR, marketing, finance and accounting, and administration.
The market estimate for LPOs currently sits at between $2 and $4,5 billion. Thanks to forecasted developments in AI, this is expected to double within the next five years. LPOs might include models where firms set up captive offices and have third parties that work exclusively for the firm. With models like these, in-house legal staff can focus on higher-value work, which helps the firm deliver faster overall service and a more scalable and consistent level of productivity.
In general, LPO activities include, but are not limited to:
- Due diligence
- IT function
- Preparing and drafting contracts
- Litigation support
- Patent applications
- Legal research
Growing Trends for Legal BPOs
The benefits of LPO outsourcing are causing more and more law firms to turn to outsourcing in a bid to stand out from the pool of competitors. Here’s a look at the three main trends of LPO that highlights the niche’s growth:
AI & Automation
Artificial intelligence and automation are huge in the outsourcing industry. AI tech allows organizations to maximize efficiency and streamline operations, making it a valuable asset. AI for LPO enables law firms to take on even more clients.
Whenever there’s a combination of legal process outsourcing and offshoring in the mix, it is referred to as hybrid outsourcing. LPO generally relies on local legal professionals, but offshoring harnesses the power of foreign labor to complete tasks remotely, generally also for the most cost-efficient price.
Information that’s stored electronically (calendar items, emails, and voicemails) has become widely accepted in litigation, and this division of LPO can greatly enhance the performance of firms that aren’t efficient at identifying, collecting, and storing this kind of information.
According to 2020 legal industry trends (1), clients want more from law firms than ever before, which is why many firms are turning to LPO to stay competitive. In fact, the global legal process outsourcing market (2) is expected to grow to$35.9 billion by 2025.
The stats (3) speak for themselves. There’s a good reason why 48% of law firms use contract lawyers, and 57% of them use the services of part-time lawyers.
It’s easy to see that BPO can help your legal firm evolve by reducing in-house costs, enabling more business growth, exposing your firm to the latest technological innovations, and making your firm more agile.
LPO is a viable way to differentiate your firm and increase your capacity without increasing overheads. With outsourcing, the sky is no longer the limit, and adding expertise and capacity to your firm while reducing costs and workload isn’t just a pipeline dream anymore; it’s an actionable goal.
The bottom line is simple. Using LPO services for time-consuming tasks in your firm can help you focus on what really matters. In the end, it’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved as your firm gains valuable time to dedicate towards top-tier client service and generate more profits.