For years, experts on the legal process outsourcing industry have been predicting a consolidation in the number of LPO players, as the offshore legal outsourcing industry matures. Over a year ago, Rahul Jindal reported in his pathbreaking "Legal Process Outsourcing" blog that a variety of deals and acquisitions had already occurred, but that they were leading to an increase in the number of legal outsourcing companies, not a decrease:
The LPO industry has in a span of few years seen major mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and alliances. The first acquisition happened when Mysore-based Software Paradigms International (SPI) India acquired the entire BPO/LPO clientele of Comat Technologies across the US and UK, which was served by Comat’s Mysore-based operations. Such deals are indicative of the pace of growth of the industry. Gavin Birer in his article “Recession” “Depression” Unemployment” “Meltdown” “Crisis” … wrote “The IT industry took 13 years to come to maturity, BPOs took half a decade and now LPOs are emerging in a big way.” Even magic circle firms like Clifford Chance are taking interest in doing business in the Indian subcontinent. Established LPOs including Pangea3, Jurimatrix and SDD Global have attracted a significant level of private equity and venture capital. Big players like CPA Global have entered into strategic alliances to further enhance their products thereby giving an edge to their services. In 2008, CPA Global entered into an alliance with major electronic discovery software provider Applied Discovery Inc., a division of Lexis Nexis. The relationship ensures that CPA’s clients around the world benefit from a total review and e-discovery solution. Such tie-ups have played an instrumental role in making LPO a fast growing business. Recently UnitedLex entered into an alliance with Huron Consulting Group as well as Ocean Tomo, thus further enhancing and enriching the quality of their services and expanding their market. In terms of mergers and acquisitions, in 2008, Integreon acquired Datum Legal. CPA Global in the same year acquired SVPG to strengthen formers’ presence in German market. In short, business deals in the LPO space has made the industry grow from few vendors to more than 100 within a remarkable short period of time.
Today, however, comes news that one LPO is buying another LPO, which seems to be the first high-profile example of actual consolidation, rather than growth or proliferation. Below is today's press release from UnitedLex, recently ranked as one of the top four outsourcing companies in the world (along with two other legal outsourcing vendors, namely, Philippines-based American Discovery and India-based SDD Global Solutions), out of over 2,700 companies evaluated in the 2010 Black Book of Outsourcing satisfaction survey of 6,547 clients:
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - (BUSINESS WIRE) - UnitedLex, a global full service provider of technology powered legal and business solutions, today announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of LawScribe, a leading Legal Process Outsourcing company based in Los Angeles, California.
Founded in 2004, LawScribe provides legal services in eDiscovery and document review, intellectual property, corporate transactions, legal research and support. With offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Gurgaon, India, LawScribe serves Am Law 100 law firms, Fortune 500 companies and national legal organizations around the globe.
"This acquisition reinforces our shared commitment to the efficient and advanced delivery of legal solutions in today's evolving marketplace, and to our mutual objective of ensuring our clients maximize the operational gains from our offerings," said Daniel Reed, UnitedLex's Chief Executive Officer. "The addition of LawScribe's capabilities and industry knowledge will complement our success in leveraging innovation to provide sustainable legal and business solutions for our expanding global client base."
LawScribe has been recognized as an industry leader, delivering consistently high quality, cost effective legal support services. With LawScribe's deep domain capabilities and tradition of thought leadership, UnitedLex will expand its insight and applications to reduce costs and solve complex legal and business challenges.
"UnitedLex's industry leading technology and long standing commitment to multi-shore delivery made our decision to join them an easy one," said Kunoor Chopra, President and CEO of LawScribe. "This acquisition enables us to extend our service lines and further address market demands. Our clients will benefit from the combined scale and strength of our companies and UnitedLex's culture that attracts the industry's most experienced and sought after professionals."
UnitedLex (www.unitedlex.com) is a global leader in providing technology powered legal and business solutions. We deliver success in the fields of litigation, electronic data discovery, document review, contract review and management, intellectual property, immigration and law firm support. Leveraging more than 650 professionals in seven global offices and two data centers, UnitedLex empowers leading global corporations and law firms by providing them with the insight and applications to reduce costs and solve complex legal and business challenges. Our solutions approach has been carefully crafted to take advantage of our unique combination of strategic insight, deep industry expertise and technology.