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New Survey Sheds Light on How Corporate Legal Departments Handle Outsourcing – eDiscovery Trends

These days, it seems as though every company is outsourcing work overseas.  Are corporate legal departments following suit?

Only to a point, according to a new survey available from ALM Legal Intelligence and discussed on David Hechler’s article on Corporate Counsel (The 2013 Legal Process Outsourcing Survey).  According to the article, “The LPO industry is like sex: There’s plenty of talk about it, but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Vendors will tell you that it’s really taking off—or is about to. They cite numbers in the billions of dollars, but these always seem to be projections.”

So, as the author notes, “we decided to ask corporate law departments (but not their law firms) to tell us about their experiences. We created an online survey and sent it out to lots of departments. We also posted links on CorpCounsel.com and invited readers to click in. And we asked not only whether they’ve made the leap, but, for those who have, where they’re sending work, what kind of work they outsource, what motivated them, and how they feel about the results.”

Here are some of the published results:

  • 54 percent of the respondents have outsourced legal work at some point;
  • Of the respondents who have outsourced legal work, 26 percent were “very satisfied” with the results, 41 percent were “satisfied”, 29 percent were “somewhat satisfied” and only 3 percent were “not at all satisfied” – meaning that over 2/3 of the respondents were at least satisfied with the work performed;
  • 65 percent of the respondents who have outsourced legal work have only done so within the US, while 35 percent have outsourced abroad (64 percent of those have sent work to India);
  • Document review and electronic discovery were the most frequently cited types of work being outsourced;
  • Asked why they outsourced legal work, fully 35 percent said “to test the idea.” This was the third most common reason, behind “lowering costs” and “reducing the time required to complete the work.”

Based on the survey, it appears that, while more organizations outsource legal work than don’t, most still haven’t dipped their toe in overseas waters (at least yet).

The full survey is available from ALM Legal Intelligence here for $599.

So, what do you think?  Did you expect overseas outsourcing to be more prevalent?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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