A leading global law firm, Morrison & Foerster, has just issued a report, entitled "Global Sourcing Trends in 2011," in which the firm comments on the "dramatic expansion" in the "embrace" of offshore legal process outsourcing "by corporate law departments and by large US law firms." The report is based on what the firm's sourcing partners "have seen in their outsourcing projects during 2010, as well as on the views expressed by service providers, outsourcing consultants, and clients." In particular, the report's authors note that "available services are multiplying" at offshore legal outsourcing companies, and that the work is growing in complexity and "moving up the food chain of legal services":
While legal process outsourcing, or LPO, has been around for some time, the last two years have witnessed a dramatic expansion in its embrace by corporate law departments and by large US law firms seeking to address recessionary pressures. While work performed by LPO firms historically consisted of basic tasks such as contract review, contract management and transaction support services, available services are multiplying and moving up the food chain of legal services to include substantive patent work, legal research and contract preparation. As a sign of a robust LPO market, financial and strategic buyers have been acquiring stakes in LPO firms.
The report cites as evidence two major outside investments in legal outsourcing providers, including the GBP 400 million investment in CPA Global, and the $100 million acquistion of Pangea3:
In February 2010, Intermediate Capital Group acquired an interest in CPA Global, a leading LPO firm founded in the UK in 1969 originally to manage patent renewals. In November 2010, Thomson Reuters acquired Pangea3, a leading LPO provider headquartered in New York and Mumbai.
On the LPO subject, the Morrison & Foerster partners conclude as follows:
Predictions of the growth of LPO vary by source, but there appears to be consensus that growth will be robust in 2011. Our experience is that corporate law departments and law firms alike are coming to view LPO as a means of reducing expenses in areas where offshoring is not viewed as presenting unmanageable risks. We expect the trend to continue.
Morrison & Foerster has been included on The American Lawyer’s A-List for the last seven years. Another distinction for the firm is that Fortune magazine listed it as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”