Legal onshoring is a trend that is gaining momentum as an alternative to traditional Legal Process Outsourcing. In the US, a growing number of law firms are exploring onshoring or a hybrid of onshore and offshore legal teams to handle work that was once performed in-house.
How Onshoring Fits into the LPO Mix:
Onshoring involves the outsourcing of work domestically. The onshore LPO model is a viable alternative for legal professionals who are unwilling or unable to send work to outside jurisdictions, and allows LPO vendors to expand their delivery capabilities and service portfolios to new geographies.
Unlike the offshoring model, which focuses on reassigning legal work to lower-cost service providers overseas, onshoring transfers work to lower-income, lower-cost rural communities. Like typical LPO, onshoring allows law firms and corporations in major metropolitan areas to maximize productivity and minimize legal fees. It is no surprise that some big city law firms are sending work to small towns in Texas, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, or even to virtual America where costs are lower.
Why Choose to Onshore Legal Work?
US law firms are recognizing that American onshore providers may be a better fit for some complex projects that require a higher degree of expertise and collaboration. The skill, knowledge, and experience of US attorneys are attractive to law firms and legal departments looking to outsource. These attorneys understand the nuances and complexities of the US legal system, which can be an advantage in litigation, IP, and M&A matters. And, while the level of expertise is high, the costs are typically lower. Furthermore, should a problem arise, onshoring is extremely beneficial because the laws of the United States will be enforced. For these reasons, many firms are reevaluating their decision to ship projects overseas, opting instead for US-based outsourcing companies.
Offshore LPOs Come Ashore
As a further evolution of the Legal Process Outsourcing industry, some offshore LPOs, predominantly in India, have opened offices in the US and even employ American lawyers. These onshore service delivery centers are in cities such as North Dakota, Texas, Kansas City and Chicago. Additionally, some LPOs are ramping up the hiring of American lawyers to handle more sensitive client matters, such as military contracts, export control work and patent matters, here in the US.
Expanding Geographic/Jurisdictional Reach
The growth of onshore LPO is a result of third-party vendor investment in onshore solutions as well as captive centers created by major law firms. The onshoring trend illustrates the value of LPO beyond simple labor arbitrage. With the popularity of onshoring as yet another legal outsourcing option, LPO will be viewed as a flexible, effective strategy for delivering legal services to a global business community.