legal process outsourcing (LPO)

  • 27 May 2017

    CAM closes innovative LPO-style unit for AI as its head Ami Parikh joins AZB to start a TSG

    Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) is closing its transaction support group (TSG), which was set up 2013 in Mumbai to explore providing volume-focused transactional support at lower rates on work such as due diligence and other commoditised advice, with its TSG head Ami Parikh joining AZB & Partners to start a TSG there.

  • 25 April 2014

    Game changer? Amarchand forays into LPO-style practice to improve due diligence & volume work

    Amarchand Peninsula ChambersAmarchand Peninsula ChambersAmarchand Mangaldas' Mumbai has started a volume-focused transactional support practice, which the firm is continuing to trial hoping to offer clients better due diligence and commoditised advice.

  • 10 July 2013

    Wired: Electric Jaising-Misra court| Jodhpur job score | What CJI tells PMO | RMLNLU permanent #fail | Cal green tribunal wilts | Third degree on LPO

    Electric Jaising-Misra court: Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising appeared yesterday before justice Gyan Sudha Misra for the Union of India (UoI) in the Ishraat Jahaan fake encounter case. When Misra asked for Jaising’s authority to appear, Jaising said she was there for the UoI on the home ministry’s instructions, and added: “I am not here to show off myself”. “When we are asking you some questions, why is it that you are feeling some electric shocks?” retorted Misra, warning Jaising about contempt proceedings, at which point she apologised [Telegraph]

  • 28 February 2013

    FM: Explore foreign law firm India access; Liaison offices ok; India Law & LPO Inc grow 8.2%

    Liberalisation: Stop or go?Liberalisation: Stop or go?Legal services in India grew by an average of 8.2 per cent each year between 2005 and 2012, according to the 2012-13 economic survey that was prepared by the finance ministry. It also noted that “liaison offices” by foreign law firms were permitted under Indian law and recommended “exploring” greater access for foreign law firms, which would “improve the competitiveness of the Indian market”.

  • 20 September 2012

    How Mr Singh went to London, got insourced at £15 per hour, and bit back

    A UK law firm insourced an Indian advocate to London to answer its South Asian clients’ marital and property disputes’ queries in a town centre-canopy setting and a “£15-a-pop” model, guarding him against all direct business-contact with its clients.

  • 27 August 2012

    LPO UnitedLex turnover hits $42.8m, grew 1,287% in 3 years, India headcount steady

    LPO: India-generated turnover backs fast-growing US companyLPO: India-generated turnover backs fast-growing US company The turnover of legal process outsourcing (LPO) company UnitedLex was $42.8m in 2011, up from $28.2m (Rs 238 crore) the previous year, reported US-based Inc Magazine in its listing of the 500 fastest-growing privately held US companies.

  • 24 February 2012

    Chennai writ losers: LPOs, CAs, secondments & logic. Winners: Invisible in-house & pragmatism

    1960s Advocates Act: Kaputt?1960s Advocates Act: Kaputt? The ruling in the Chennai writ petition was hailed as pragmatic for solving the nearly two-year-old deadlock foreign firms were in. But frankly it is likely to continue exposing the deficiencies of the 1961 Advocates Act in dealing with modern-day India. And it could possibly  plunge a number of industries into a world of pain via the Bar Council of India (BCI).

  • 24 February 2012

    CPA Global restructures LPO biz as India headcounts plummet ahead of $1.45bn sale

    Leah Cooper: Left CPA in NovemberLeah Cooper: Left CPA in November LI-Mint Exclusive: Legal process outsourcing (LPO) and intellectual property (IP) management firm CPA Global Ltd, which is being fully acquired by UK-based Cinven Partners Llp for an estimated $1.45 billion (Rs 7,135 crore), has internally restructured the LPO business unit that failed to hit growth targets in India and saw headcount reductions and senior executives’ departure.

  • 20 January 2012

    LPO CPA Global sold to Cinven private equity, 14 months post Pangea3 sale

    Legal process outsourcing (LPO) company CPA Global, which specialises in patents work, has been acquired by private equity major Cinven, according to a press release by the fund.

  • 24 August 2011

    MV Kini starts up ‘high-end’ infrastructure LPO in downtown Mumbai in a JV

    MV Kini managing partner Ravi Kini has started up a legal process outsourcing (LPO) firm in Mumbai in a joint venture with seasoned LPO NewGalexy to focus exclusively on foreign infrastructure projects work, while the law firm will transfer a number of its lawyers to staff the new entity.

  • 06 June 2011

    Pangea3 picks Texas LPO centre over Dakota/Virginia with space for up to 400 (UPDATE)

    imageimage Mumbai-headquartered Pangea3 has opened its first US-based service delivery office in Dallas, Texas, plans first reported by Legally India at the time of the legal process outsourcing (LPO) company’s acquisition by Thomson Reuters last year.

  • 08 March 2011

    CPA looks to inorganic LPO acquisitions to hit 100% Y-o-Y growth targets

    LPOLPO CPA Global CFO and head of management services Anand Sharma has vowed that the legal process outsourcing (LPO) company would look for inorganic vertical acquisitions of smaller pure-play LPO companies in 2011.

  • 10 February 2011

    CPA Global lures former SJ Berwin senior partner to chairmanship

    Legal process outsourcing (LPO) and traditional outsourcing company CPA Global has appointed London law firm SJ Berwin’s retired senior partner as its new chairman.

  • 19 November 2010

    Revolutionary paths / Issue 74

    Legally India newsletter

    At least two bombshells dropped both sides of this week.

  • 19 November 2010

    Exclusive: Payday for Pangea3 founders, staff in Thomson Reuters buy; LPO to build onshore centres in US

    Pangea3-Sanjay-KamlaniPangea3-Sanjay-Kamlani Pangea3’s full acquisition by Thomson Reuters could trigger others to follow suit, predicted the legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider’s co-founder and CEO Sanjay Kamlani in an exclusive Legally India interview, as hundreds of employees will receive a windfall from the sale that will see Pangea3 explore synergies with its new parent and expand with onshore operations in the US.

  • 19 November 2010

    Breaking: Thomson Reuters to acquire LPO giant Pangea3 in strategic buy

    internet-IT-globeinternet-IT-globe Thomson Reuters has acquired one of India’s largest pure play legal process outsourcing (LPO) companies Pangea3.

  • 18 November 2010

    Indian LPO fights power of big record labels with Public Enemy's Chuck D

    imageimage Exclusive: Mysore-based legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider SDD Global Solutions has won the mandate to assist on a claim and provide US law litigation support to the non-profit Fight The Power (FTP) Foundation, which represents music artists who claim they have been cheated out of their royalties by big record companies.

  • 16 November 2010

    LPO UnitedLex buys smaller rival LawScribe after growing 20% in 8 months

    internet-IT-globeinternet-IT-globe Legal process outsourcing (LPO) company UnitedLex, which is backed by Indian and Silicon Valley venture capital (VC) firms, has acquired Los Angeles-based LPO LawScribe giving it offices in Los Angeles, New York and Gurgaon, reported VCCircle.

  • 22 July 2010

    Opinion: How to start your own LPO (and how not to)

    SDD-Global-Sanjay-Bhatia-2SDD-Global-Sanjay-Bhatia-2Starting up a legal process outsourcing (LPO) business may be a perceived goldmine and en vogue these days but it takes more than just office, staff and website and most start-up LPOs are wasting their time, warns SDD Global Solutions' Sanjay Bhatia.
    SDD Global, Sanjay BhatiaSDD Global, Sanjay BhatiaStarting up a legal process outsourcing (LPO) business may be a perceived goldmine and en vogue these days but it takes more than just office, staff and website and most start-up LPOs are wasting their time, warns SDD Global Solutions' Sanjay Bhatia (pictured).

    The legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry is over a decade old. Many still view it as nascent. While a few players have created a niche for themselves, several small players have closed their doors or are on the verge of doing so. Nonetheless the industry continues to expand as the West is looking to India for alternatives to otherwise expensive legal options.

    As a result, there are many Indian corporate houses, solo attorneys, and law firms who still believe that setting up an LPO is a great business opportunity. Sadly, many only see the proverbial "pot at the end of the rainbow". They quickly jump on the LPO bandwagon while clueless as to what is required to succeed. In the process, they end up doing themselves and the industry more harm than good. In short, there exists a huge disparity between the perception of the LPO industry and the reality.

    The most common mistake LPO entrepreneurs commit is believing that in order to succeed, all they need is a good office, infrastructure, internet connectivity, a well designed website, and a legal team. Many existing Indian companies, law firms, and solo attorneys already have most, if not all the "ingredients" above, which further encourages them to 'diversify' into providing outsourced or off-shored legal services.

    But are these enough? Sadly no.

    You need clients, and the old saying, "if you build it, they will come", does not apply. Indeed, it is not even enough to get Western attorneys, law firms and corporate counsel to think about shifting their work to India. You need to inspire and enable them to do so. To achieve this, you will at least need the following:
    • a management team that includes US or UK qualified lawyers;
    • competent staff on the India side;
    • a structured training program, in which training is imparted in-house; and
    • US or UK attorney/solicitor supervision of the work undertaken by the Indian team.

    Mixing management

    A management team that includes US or UK qualified lawyers is a sine qua non for an LPO's success.

    The potential client could be a solo attorney, a law firm, or a corporation. Largely, it is the LPO's pedigree that inspires confidence in a client. Western clients turning to India for off-shored legal services need that extra reassurance and degree of comfort, at least during the initial period when they are exploring the LPO industry. The chances are that a US qualified lawyer is much better placed to offer such reassurance and comfort to gain the client's confidence.

    Moreover, a US qualified lawyer can also relate better to the client's requirements, ensuring that there are no communication lapses during the initial stages. Having US qualified lawyers on board also goes a long way in assuring potential clients that the service provider is a serious player in the industry, and has the competence to deliver quality work.

    Staffing headaches

    A competent staff is crucial to an LPO's success as well. Failure to employ an adept staff can undermine first-class management and infrastructure. All said and done, it is the quality of the work product that determines an LPO's success. Only a competent staff can generate suitable results. Having a capable team is essential not just for an LPO's success, but even for its mere survival.

    For the LPO industry, hiring competent lawyers has always been a stiff challenge. Reports suggest that 80,000 law graduates are churned out by over 900 law colleges/schools in India every year. This is a statistic which, arguably, no other country can match. The quality of Indian lawyers ranges from the shockingly incompetent to the simply brilliant.

    However, a harsh reality regarding the available recruits is that most of the lawyers or law graduates who want to join the LPO industry are precisely the ones you should not be hiring! Sadly, a majority of the lawyers have never mastered English, even as a second language. Most of them have severely limited written and comprehension skills. Here are extracts from some of the job applications my company has received:

    "I went thru yr ad in job portal and am very much interested in offering services to yr esteemed organ."

    "Dear Responsible,
    I heared as a vacancy in your Organization for the Legal Designation. The Organization may adobt me in yourself if I eligible as a Employee."

    "Respected sir/madam
    i am interesting to join lpo job for hike of my career in corporate legal firms..."

    Here attached my resume for your vision if you have any suitable job, please contact my mobile. "


    "Res. sir,
    This application apply for above the subject matter of the E-mail.
    other description attached on the file attached."

    "...And it was while having the privilege to work for certain reputed corps. Of international fame, I got a well fermented atmosphere to process in search of reformative thesis to sooth the conduct of regulation of policy and legislations which minimized the disputes to considerable limits..."

    The liberal use of "sms language" in emails or letters riddled with grammatical and sentence structure errors is a definite sign of the applicant's potential, or the lack of it. Sadly, the industry is teeming with employees whose writing skills are not much better than the authors of the above samples.

    In the LPO industry, the quality of the work is reflected to a large extent in one's writing. Even potential employees exhibiting superb oral skills or an ability to understand the client's requests, will nonetheless fail to succeed if they lack the ability to write in excellent English.

    Moreover, US legal writing is very, very precise. The standard of English writing for LPO clients is very exacting. Even lawyers with excellent English skills invariably need to be trained in micro aspects of legal writing. Our own clients have spent large sums of money on assignments in which they requested that we research the consequences of a misplaced comma in a contract. In short, the fastest way for an LPO to fail is to hire staff with sub-par writing skills.

    There are hundreds of excellent lawyers who enter the legal industry every year as well. Many of them have pre-conceived notions that the LPO industry is the administrative back office for US attorneys. They would rather pursue their careers in law firms or corporate houses. Some of them have such strong negative beliefs about the LPO industry that they would rather remain unemployed than join an LPO. Such beliefs are sometimes misplaced.

    Several LPOs do cutting edge legal work. Even the best Indian brains, who graduate from India's top law schools, invariably have only the potential, and not the expertise, to handle all of the high-end Western legal work that may fall an LPO's way.

    Given their high standards, Western clients are shrewd and place a high premium on quality. They often ask pertinent questions about the staff before hiring a service provider. The big players often want to know beforehand the profile of the staff who will be working on the assignment. They want to know the process through which they were hired. They want to know which law schools the staff attended. Some of them specifically send representatives to visit the service provider's facility and interact with the staff to make a firsthand assessment of their capabilities. No matter how good your infrastructure is, if you cannot convince the client about your staff's quality beforehand, you have little chance of generating work.

    Some of the newer entrants into the industry have problems even hiring staff with average skill sets. Yet, except at the most elite Indian law schools and law firms, there is a very common (and widespread) misconception that all work in an LPO is easy and high paying.

    The lure of the lucre in particular makes many misguided lawyers and law graduates want to join the LPO bandwagon. Most of them who do join have an entitlement culture. Regular questions include: "How much will I earn?"; "What will be my working hours?"; "Do you offer semi-annual or annual bonuses?"; "What are the leaves I am entitled to?"; "What perks do you offer?"; "Do you provide "pick-and-drop" facility?"; and "When will I get my raise, and how much would it be?"

    Once hired, many spend hours chatting on the internet or watching downloads on YouTube. Mysteriously, they develop a tummy ache or have an important wedding or funeral to attend, just when they are given a complex assignment. The "entitlement culture" employees are the bane of any organization. They are the ones who stop looking for work, the moment they get a job.

    Having such staff on board, even in small numbers, can prove fatal to an LPO. Sadly, it is difficult to identify these traits during the interview process. If you have such staff – it is important to "press the delete button", before it is too late.

    On the positive side, there is a growing trend among exceptionally talented lawyers and law graduates, including US qualified attorneys, who view the LPO industry as "the next big thing". Though they are still a minority, these lawyers recognise that off-shoring of legal work is here to stay, despite the never ending debate whether legal outsourcing of work to India is politically correct or not.

    It is surprising, and indeed heartening, to learn that many Western lawyers are willing to give up well-paying jobs and relocate to India to be a part of the LPO revolution. With the infusion of such talent in the industry, the nay-sayers' lament about the lack of quality in the LPO industry may soon be disproved. Having a mix of exceptional Indian and Western attorneys, in a ratio of 10:1 or lower is almost certain to put your LPO on the road to success.

    Learning on the job?

    To my knowledge, no Indian law school teaches the intricacies of US law. In fact, no Indian law school teaches even the basics of US law. It is a fallacy to believe that hiring a work force with a good academic record will suffice to cater to the US legal market. It will not.

    On a macro level, LPO employees, other than most document coders, need to have an in-depth knowledge of the US legal system, its court hierarchy, the procedural aspects involved, and the basics of US law, before even venturing into almost any type of work for US clientèle. Such knowledge can only be imparted through training.

    At a micro level, training may also be required to cater to a specific client or project requirements. Many LPOs prefer the clients themselves to impart any client-specific training, at least initially. For an LPO to succeed, it needs a structured in-house training program.

    Even the best employees need to be constantly trained, because invariably the best within a company are selected to handle additional responsibilities as the organization grows. An LPO that has a structured training program is also likely to attract top talent, because many career minded professionals, who are new to the profession, place a premium on learning.

    Such candidates realise that law is a profession, and that a mere law degree is not enough to be a legal professional. Rather, the degree is only a passport for a journey in that direction. Those good candidates also realize that the intrinsic value of what they can learn during the formative stages of their career is more important than the monetary value. You are likely to get talented staff on board if they see the growth potential in your organisation.

    Four eyes

    Even the best lawyers need supervision. No matter how good the Indian team is, more often than not, there is still a gap to be bridged between the quality of work delivered, and the quality of work expected. If the LPO has US qualified lawyers supervising that goes a long way in ensuring quality. Having work reviewed by US qualified attorneys before it is sent to the client also inspires confidence on the part of clients, who are often circumspect (sometimes unjustifiably so) about the quality of off-shored legal work.

    Setting up failure?

    As stated earlier, US (and UK) clients are shrewd and place a high premium on quality. Merely having an impressive website and a well-designed office in a posh location will not attract such clients.

    Be prepared for uncomfortable questions before being instructed: "What are your credentials in the LPO industry?"; "How many attorneys do you have?"; "Which law school did they attend?"; "How trained are they?"; "Does the senior management comprise of lawyers, or are they non-lawyers?"; "Is your staff adequately trained in U.S. laws, and if so, how?"; "What databases do you have access to?"; "Do you have client references?"; "Do you have writing samples?"; "How do you differentiate yourself from the rest in the LPO industry?"; "What quality control measures do you have in place?"; "Do you have US qualified attorneys training and supervising your team?"

    These, and many other questions, are asked by almost any significant potential client before choosing an LPO service provider.

    If you can equip yourself well enough to answer these questions convincingly, you might actually succeed.

    If you cannot, you are probably wasting your time and resources.

    Sanjay Bhatia is head of operations at SDD Global Solutions and is based in Mysore.
  • 08 July 2010

    Clifford Chance makes another 'exceptional' hire from Indian legal offshoring unit OSC

    CliffordChance-London-officeCliffordChance-London-officeClifford Chance has again hired a legal "consultant" from its Gurgaon-based captive legal process outsourcing (LPO) centre OSC Export Services as a lawyer into the main firm.
    CliffordChance-London-officeCliffordChance-London-officeClifford Chance has again hired a legal "consultant" from its Gurgaon-based captive legal process outsourcing (LPO) centre OSC Export Services as a lawyer into the main firm.

    "The role of a consultant at OSC is very different from that of a practising lawyer and the transition is not easy.  However, in exceptional circumstances, it has been possible to offer opportunities for OSC employees to move into a career at Clifford Chance," said a Clifford Chance spokesperson.

    In November 2009, Clifford Chance hired two OSC lawyers into the main firm as newly qualified lawyers.

    At the time Clifford Chance knowledge centre director Mark Ford told The Lawyer magazine that despite lawyers' individual success the Indian offshore centre was totally separate from the firm and should not be seen as "a conveyor belt into Clifford Chance - it's a separate function".

    This year OSC, which is a wholly owned India-based subsidiary of Clifford Chance, recruited four students from NLU Jodhpur this financial year and one student from NLIU Bhopal.

    OSC handles back-office work for Clifford Chance's international office as well as legal support work, having billed around 12,000 hours of work in the 2008-09 financial year, which is rougly the equivalent of the hours billed by seven London associates.

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