Home > contract attorneys, Contract Lawyers, Freelance Attorneys, Freelance Lawyers, Offshoring, Supervision of Contract Attorneys, Supervision of Freelance Lawyers > Part I: Onshoring and Offshoring in the Context of Legal Outsourcing: Time and Expense of Establishing a Relationship

Part I: Onshoring and Offshoring in the Context of Legal Outsourcing: Time and Expense of Establishing a Relationship

This is Part I of a 6-part series on onshoring and offshoring in the context of legal outsourcing.

Legal outsourcing is frequently equated with offshoring when big law firms are involved.  The megafirms in North America and Europe are outsourcing legal work to companies in India, the Phillipines, and elsewhere, with reported great success.

In the solo and small firm context, however, it does not make sense to look abroad to satisfy legal outsourcing requirements.  In this series of posts, I will discuss the different aspects for a law firm to consider when deciding whether to outsource legal work domestically (onshore) or overseas (offshore).  I will post on Tuesday mornings, until the discussion is complete.

The first aspect that serves to differentiate between onshoring and offshoring in the context of legal outsourcing is time and expense of establishing a relationship.

It is necessary for a hiring firm to establish a relationship as a precursor to outsourcing legal work.  The time and expense of establishing and maintaining this relationship varies.  Prior to outsourcing legal work, a law firm must:

  • Select and evaluate outsourcing companies;
  • Decide what work will be outsourced;
  • Set up systems and procedures to coordinate the work-flow process; and
  • Set up a technical infrastructure (discussed separately in this post).

There is no situation with which I am familiar where outsourcing legal work overseas is not a major project.  In fact, megafirms use consulting firms dedicated solely to facilitating these relationships.  Some outsourcing experts argue that legal process outsourcing (LPO) firms are indispensable.

One of the benefits of working in a solo or small firm is the simplicity of client and business relationships.  This benefit carries over to working with an onshore contract attorney for outsourcing legal work.  It is easier to evaluate the credentials of a domestic attorney because of familiarity with the ranking system.  As part of the evaluation process, you can look at publications, industry presence, educational history, and performance.  You might also have a person in your professional network that you can call for an informal reference.

The systems and procedures necessary to outsource legal work domestically are less complex because there are no international legal aspects to consider, and a shared cultural framework facilitates negotiations.  In situations where it would be necessary to hire an LPO consultant to outsource legal work abroad, you may otherwise feel comfortable handling the contractual and negotiation issues involved with hiring an onshore contract attorney.

In fact, hiring a domestic contract attorney often requires less than an hour’s work, most of which is a friendly discussion.  For solo and small firm attorneys, this is the ideal situation, because it keeps the relationship efficient, which is much of the point of outsourcing.  The time and expense of establishing the relationship is minimized, and a straightforward, transparent arrangement can ensue.

Solo and small firm attorneys should contact me by email or phone at 608-620-3529 to schedule a free consultation.

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