Over the past few years, various pundits and critics have raised all sorts of issues with legal process outsourcing (LPO). One way or another, these issues have largely been put to rest to the satisfaction of the legal industry and LPO clients.
So is quality the next issue? Is the quality of LPO work comparable to the quality of the same type of work being done onshore (i.e. in Canada)?
In February this year the American Conference Institute (ACI) held an India LPO Summit in New York. On the second day of the proceedings, Maria McMahon from Baker McKenzie reportedly presented her findings on the comparison of an onshore solution versus an offshore solution of a major document review project currently being undertaken offshore. She defined four metrics for comparison; quality, learning curve, productivity and cost.
Her conclusions were not stunning by any means. On comparing first pass document review, offshore outsourcing obviously scored very favorably on cost, and as would be expected, has a slightly longer learning curve. The real conclusion, again not unexpected by the LPO industry, was that the quality and productivity of the offshore work was comparable to the onshore work.
I am not suggesting that this single study is conclusive proof on the issue. We all know that in any environment the quality of work is directly proportional to the abilities of the people doing the work. Hiring and finding skilled and talented people is a universal requirement to produce quality work – whether onshore or offshore.
Knowing and understanding the expectations of LPO clients has permitted the LPO industry to proactively implement initiatives to meet these expectations. These initiatives obviously include rigorous in-house training. However, the growing demand for LPO services has now led to the launch of the first Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Process Outsourcing in India. This program has been developed by the Indira Gandhi National Open University – the leader in distance learning in India. The program seeks to further improve the skills of lawyers working in the LPO industry. It follows a unique methodology, combining world-class training materials and a variety of e-learning techniques to ensure maximum benefit to students. The program has been developed over months of intensive research. Scholarships for top candidates are available for this program and Legalwise is proud to be included amongst those companies offering this assistance.
So, who are the winners? Clearly LPO clients are the winners. Not only are providers of LPO services demonstrating to their clients that the quality and productivity of offshore work is comparable to onshore work; but the Indian educational system is now raising the bar on legal education by offering a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Process Outsourcing.