Ron Friedmann of Prism Legal Consulting Inc. has surveyed the current state of legal outsourcing in his fantastic article Why and What Lawyers Should Consider Outsourcing on LLRX.com (September 1, 2008).
In the article, he discusses the evolution of outsourcing in law firms and talks about outsourcing in terms of overall law firm management and cost efficiency. He summarizes the benefits, and has put together an excellent table outlining administrative and legal functions that might be outsourced by a firm. He discusses challenges HR departments face, especially with regard to maintaining the right amount of secretarial staffing, and he also pulls it back to the ILTA White Paper 2007 IT Staffing Survey .
I read with interest to see if any library functions are currently being outsourced. He mentions legal research and drafting, presumably typical of what an associate or articling student might do. He also mentions business research, stating that although this is work that library or marketing departments might do, “can be hard given the other demands.” While it is true these are both very busy departments with many demands made on them, I would suggest talking with the firm’s library director or manager before outsourcing this function.