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Top 3 reasons to work at an LPO. But would you?

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Legal process outsourcing (LPO) companies are giving stiff competition to law firms in the talent hunting stakes, writes the Eco Times today.

 

The article quotes several people working at LPOs, who claim that compared to law firms the companies offer:

  1. better growth opportunities,
  2. decent working hours and less work pressure, and
  3. good salaries.

 

In the article I briefly argue that LPOs still have an image problem and remain second choice for the top law graduates, despite the recent inroads LPOs have made.

 

Do you agree/disagree?

 

Would you ever work for an LPO or is it still not a popular choice for most 'real' lawyers / 'dignified clerks'?

 

Or do you work at an LPO and can tell the story how it really is?

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Comments

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Monday, 22 Mar 10

    Thoughts on LPOs

    LPOs are marketing aggressively and the law students must not get misled. Some observations …
    - LPOs pay better salary than some "small law firms” (but none of those “small law firms” recruit on-campus from national law universities).
    - Mid-sized and big law firms don’t pay in 3-7 lakh range at top law schools but rather in 6-14 lakh range. LPO salaries are usually less than 4 lacs.
    - Whatever one may learn at an LPO, an LPO guy would rarely get a chance of making it to a law firm or a company while a law firm chap can move to almost any organization.
    - Many law students prefer to join a small law firm / a senior advocate than going to an LPO because the perception is that “you are doomed” to a career that can be actually called a “glorified clerk job”.
    - In a law firm, one can always move on to firms with better policies or make partner by commanding that respect, but that hardly compares with a “managerial position” in an LPO.
    - LPOs are a cost cutting method and do low end work. So, even as a manager in an LPO, you wouldn’t be doing anything big but just do small stuff.

    Please bear in mind that your career isn't about an 8 hour shift. Its about what you learn and where you can be in 2-3 years' time.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Monday, 22 Mar 10

    Contd. by #1

    Of course, some decent lawyers have shifted from firms to LPOs at very senior positions (like VP etc.). But for them, its not about LPO v. firms but where they see the market going and how much they can make OR what lifestyle they prefer. At 35 / 40, priorities change. Not so for young lawyers. You can always shift to an LPO later if you are in a firm but it will probably not happen the other way round.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Tuesday, 23 Mar 10

    Pragmatic

    It is wrong to say that a man who initially worked in LPO cannot get into any other Firm or a person who worked in Law Firm can go anywhere. It is nothing but self-branding and self-confining. Except in some law firms most of the young lawyers are only doing desk job (either drafting opinions, replies, petitions or appeals etc.) Those in the Corporate area get into drafting various returns, resolutions, agreements, etc. Here again, one specialises only in one field and in all areas.
    So, wherever one works ultimately it is the money and other comfort that plays a vital part. Given a chance of excessive work and lesser compensation in Law Firm vis-a-vis comparatively less work and attractive compensation in KPO, no matter what one professes, one will surely head towards KPO.
    Further even within the Law Firm those appear before Forums/Courts consider themselves to be superior to those who only do desk work. All do not get a chance to appear before Courts. Just like a client prefers a particular law firm, the Law Firm also assigns stereotype works to particular lawyers only.
    All must realise that it is not that any one becomes big overnight. Except those with family background and backing like sons/daughters of Judges/ and already famour Senior Lawyers etc., it takes about 10-15 years of hard work to see good money and fame. Whether one is able to withstand that long is the test!

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Tuesday, 23 Mar 10

    Three reasons - an analysis

    1. better growth opportunities -

    Seriously? Short term (3-4 years) in a law firm, one can target to be a senior associate with decent level of client interaction and independence .... one can even move to a small firm as a salaried partner in 5-6 years. I doubt LPOs offer better growth opportunities.
    Would love to see some posts that detail how LPOs offer "better" growth than law firms in a 3-5 year period.


    2. decent working hours and less work pressure

    Agreed. But significantly lesser pay and lesser CV development also. And lesser prestige too!


    3. good salaries
    Hmmm .... ummm ... well, avg. salaries are less than 4 lacs / year I believe. Best I've heard is 5 lacs. Good maybe, in these times, but hardly comparable to law firms.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Tuesday, 23 Mar 10

    LEGAL PROCESS OUTSOURCING

    I THINK LEGAL PROCESSING OUTSOURCING IS GREAT . ITS THE PERCEPTION THAT IS NOT ALLOWING THE PEOPLE TO ACCEPT IT AS AN OTHER ALTERNATIVE TO THE LAW FIRMS WHICH WAS THE ONLY OPTION WHICH WAS AVAILABLE FOR A LONG TIME . IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT TODAY MANY LAW FIRMS ARE ENTERING INTO PARTNERSHIP AND ARE VENTURING INTO THE LEGAL PROCESS OUTSOURCING BUSINESS .

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Tuesday, 23 Mar 10

    @ #5

    Yes, LPOs are great .... they generate employment etc. Yes, law firms are entering the business as there is money to be made. However, the pay to LPO workers is not the same as associates and neither is the work profile.
    The issue is - what are the pros and cons of LPO life and how does it compare with other options.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Tuesday, 23 Mar 10

    Money

    At the initial level, I think money should not be a criteria to choose an organization to work. Our eyes should be set on learning. I think there is no harm in joining a small law firm rather than joining an LPO. And it's a truth that small law firms provide better learning opportunities than the big sized. Having learnt the basics u can easily move on for them eying @ 6-14 lacks( Don't run after money, Let d money run after u). Guys like us who have no legal background/network/contacts....and with a non NLS degree have no option but to join small sized law firms. In respect of LPO.... it would not be a prudent idea to start career with LPO without learning basics of law practice.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Tuesday, 23 Mar 10

    @ #7

    I second you.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Thursday, 25 Mar 10

    'Dignified clerks'- a misnomer!

    I work with one of the most reputed LPOs in India. I am a Masters in Law from the UK and a qualified Solicitor of England & Wales. My last employer was a regional law firm in the UK. Since I have joined my current workplace, I have gotten away with that mental block for 'LPOs' as I feel like an in-house counsel for the company whose project I am heading at this LPO (and not a clerk!!!!). We do high end contractual work and our client attorneys are just a call away. I would say if someone thinks that LPO employees work as clerks, they need to wake up (to the real world)!!

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Thursday, 25 Mar 10

    @9 you may be doing high end contractual work, but do you advise your client on how the contract should be drafted. The very fact that you state that your client's attorneys are just a call away implies that they advise the LPO on how the contract should be written. LPOs are merely executing the work...hardly any application of mind. The true test of a lawyer is that he/she advises his/her clients or employers on legal issues.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Saturday, 27 Mar 10

    the point here is that not every law graduate has the capability of getting a job with a good law firm. and if someone does not wish to move to cities like bombay, delhi or bangalore, then they will certainly not be doing any corporate work. as for litigation work, it is highly cumbersome and most certainly does not guarantee any kind of success even after many years of working - please just visit any regional court anywhere in the country for a couple of hours if you do not believe me. and in any event, the salary that you get paid in a small city is just paltry at best (even by small city standards). it is easy for people to say that money should not be a consideration etc etc, but what happens when you have to support a family or even have ambitions to make a decent living? the point i am trying to make is that it is really not about LPOs vs. Law Firms - there is enough space for both to exist. India produces around 80,000 law graduates a year (or so i read). Even if that figure is far from accurate, i would like to know how many of them are absorbed by law firms or law pracititioners. definitely not a vast majority. meaning that there are enough lawyers to go around. also, let's be honest - not all lawyers can be partners or senior associates and not all lawyers want to be that. furthermore, any law student who wants to be a major litigator or corporate lawyer would never join an LPO and neither would a fresher who is offered a job by Amarchand/ AZB/ Khaitan/ Luthra etc ever kick that job to join a LPO.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Saturday, 27 Mar 10

    M

    Well, I read all the 11 posts above this comment. I think its a matter of personal choice whether you want to be a LPO staff, a lawyer, a glorified clerk or a junior. LPO provides better job security, decent salary, working hours, work-life balance. LPOs, I'll call it "softwarization of Legal Services." There is no question of High-End or low end work. In litigation, filing court papers, court fee, taking pass over, adjournment is also not high-end but, yes arguing, drafting, making strategies is definately high-end but, how many lawyers get to do that? Even for SLPs, there is a standard template available, write questions of law, add cases, thats a done deal! (I am referring to simple matters). For corporate law firms, how many lawyers can draft a Technology Licensing Agreement from scratch? All templates are available, and these are tweaked as per the clients requirements. Let's talk about LPOs now. LPOs provides global platform for lawyers to work. A lawyer gets to interact with client almost on a daily basis get to learn differnt cultures, legal systems, working style and more. All Indian qualified lawyers becomes aware of the global legal practices, which a law firm lawyer can never learn. LPO people travel worldwide, do the work on-site, transition the work to India.
    To an extent, I agree that you do not advise the client what should be in the agreement but, the glory of working for fortune 1000 companies, understanding their requirements, working with their GCs office is a good learning experience. As far as career path is concerned, LPOs offer great career path. I know lawyers with 5-7 years of experience managinf 20 clients and a team of even 50-60 lawyers. How many law firms in India can offer this career path?
    Ultimately, each line has its flip side. It is for the individual to decide what he wants. Lastly, LPO offers job for a lawyers i.e. Brilliant, Very Good and Good Lawyers. Brilliant can do high-end contracts, IP work, Very Good can do legal research, drafting and Good lawyers can do document review. I think in Litigation & Corporate, you have to be super brilliant to survive in the market, however, LPOs accomodates everyone!

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Saturday, 3 Apr 10

    NSV

    'Dignified Clerks'....I like the term man.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Sunday, 6 Jun 10

    SV_HYD

    Hey!
    I am a law student in my final year - top of my class and non-NLS. I am exploring options and wish to learn whether i should join a law firm or LPO (like Panage3, Quislex etc.) Also, what is the future of the LPO workers. After 3 or 4 years what growth or position can they expect?

    Can they expect a chance to shift base to another country in an LPO or firm after a few eyars and what is their average salary?

    Would be great if someone could offer assistance and help build my career!!!

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Thursday, 10 Jun 10

    Hi

    I am a lawyer and working with a LPO for 5 years. It is very true that there is no growth in LPOs just a stable life and less pressure of work.
    I would like to know if I want to switch over from this career what all options I will have, if I am ready to adjust with my salary amount.

  • gyan
    gyan Thursday, 10 Jun 10

    Just one answer

    Is Legal thing involved when you work in these matters? Document review is no way any legal work. Contracts, you dont draft but red lining only i think. And research, I dont think its a legal work when you are a senior lawyer already and being a young lawyer its better to work in a law firm and research rather than LPO. Money will follow at right time only.

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Monday, 14 Jun 10

    Nancy

    Yes i agree, there are the reason you have mentioned to work at an LPO. one more reason is that cost effective. India has a very different cost structure than North America, Europe, UK & allowing LPO clients to enjoy cost savings for comparable legal support services at very large discounts that range from 60-80%, depending upon the service. The use of LPO allows corporations to streamline repetitive and document intensive tasks through the use of low cost, high quality LPO professionals and specialty designed LPO software solutions that automate various legal process tasks, reducing the number of professionals involved and thereby driving down costs significantly. http://www.businessmantra.net" rel="nofollow">http://www.businessmantra.net

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Sunday, 20 Jun 10

    let me start with the assertion that since the corporate world is not legally tied by strict eligibility criteria with regard to recruitment, all this talk that a lpo guy can not later join a law firm is practically rubbish to say the least.....It all ultimately boils down to the aptitude and attitude of the individual...Working in a LPO presents itz own set of unique challenges AND I would give it a THUMBS UP!!!!!

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Friday, 30 Jul 10

    True story

    One point you people have all missed most of the Lpo hire and fire very quickly, at the first sight you may think the employees are faulty but as the time passes you will find they keep on doing this and starts traping you in a bad work hardly you even be able to speak of your legal peoblems and at the end the story is Young or old legal professionals are the worst suffers of legal system prsvticed as employment policies at these Renound LPO's

  • Guest
    Anonymous guest Sunday, 29 Aug 10

    5th yr law student

    what is is base pay for a fresher at a lpo ?
    what are the working hours ?
    Where can one expect to reach in 4 yrs at a LPO ?

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