Legal process outsourcing (LPO) has become a hot topic in budget-tightening and quality assurance discussions among corporate counsel. One of the early pioneers of LPO is Pangea3, so The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel contacted David Perla, co-founder and co-CEO of Pangea3, to talk trends and gather some insight into the state of legal outsourcing for corporate counsel.
Editor: To get us started, David, tell us about Pangea3.
Perla: Pangea3 provides global legal process outsourcing services to corporations and law firms worldwide. Our nearly 700 employees - almost all of them attorneys - are based in New York City, New Delhi, and Mumbai. We use Six Sigma methodologies to offer high quality litigation, corporate transaction, intellectual property, and governance, risk and compliance services. We were recently acquired by Thomson Reuters, which has been a great fit. We complement their portfolio of information and workflow offerings and the Thomson Reuters investment in Pangea3 has enabled us grow and develop comprehensive solutions that our clients need.
Editor:When people say outsourcing, India comes to mind. Should it?
Perla: The key to success in outsourcing can't be solely based on lower labor costs in India, at least in our market. There are also structural advantages inherent in the outsourcing model - subject matter expertise, efficiency, project management, quality assurance, technology expertise and invocation, and scale - that can bring peace of mind to our customers that quality work is being done and allows them to focus on higher value activities.
So it is not where the work gets done, in our mind, but how it gets done.
Editor: Does legal outsourcing compete with law firms?
Perla: No. Outsourcing can be a great complement to the work of corporate legal departments and law firms, one that can help them support their clients in a more responsive and cost-effective manner. Pangea3 works with corporate counsel and many dozens of AmLaw 250 law firms. In fact, one of the benefits Thomson Reuters saw in acquiring Pangea3 was the ability to offer our services and solutions to the thousands of law firms that rely on Thomson Reuters as a trusted partner and provider.
When an issue arises, there's an expectation that corporate or outside counsel is going to respond to the business within 24 to 48 hours, if not sooner. While our clients sleep - wherever they're at - we're working on the solution. When they open their laptop first thing in the morning, they have the answers they need. They want to spend their time making a difference and providing strategic counsel and we help them do that.
Editor: How should you choose a legal outsourcing firm?
Perla: There are a number of factors to consider. Does the company have what we at Pangea3 like to call "legal DNA"?By that I mean does the company have lawyers at every level of the organization from the management team to the junior attorneys performing the work?Does the company recruit, retain and train the best and brightest lawyers?Will that company provide a dedicated team of attorneys that understands your legal department's strategic priorities, process improvement initiatives, technologies and legal costs to work on your projects? Does the company have demonstrated expertise and experience providing legal outsourcing services to the largest corporations and law firms?Does the company use process improvement methodologies to ensure accuracy and efficiency?Most importantly, does it know how to provide a solution that helps you improve your internal capacity and productivity in addition to providing cost savings and predictability?
Editor:So, what's next in legal process outsourcing?
Perla: We're seeing a real emphasis on efficiency and productivity and that will continue. Think about it. Even if the economy came roaring back to pre-recession levels, who would just abandon all the efficiency, cost containment benefits and technological investment that has come in the past few years? That's the silver lining in all of this.
In the coming years, we will see the continued evolution of this new dynamic in the C-suite, where conversation shifts from a company view of Legal as a cost center to one of Legal contributing in new and powerful ways towards business growth. I fully believe legal process outsourcing is a critical part of the equation to enable corporate legal departments to optimize their human and technology resources and spend more of their time and effort driving positive change and innovation across their organizations.