Extending the long arm of the Law

CAREER

 LPO has gained much ground in India, but finding experienced people is still a tough task. Dh File Photo

In the recent years, global spending on legal services has risen immensely and with such demand for legal services, law firms have to handle work keeping cost and profitability in mind. This is where legal process outsourcing gains significance. The advent of this dynamic domain of law has opened up a whole new world to the understanding of how legal services, coupled with technology, can be used to deliver excellent solutions globally.

Defining LPO

Legal Process Outsourcing involves legal work that companies outsource to more economical offshore destinations. This field has gained much ground in India as it has a large pool of talent in the form of legal professionals who can provide solutions to companies abroad.

Legal process outsourcing provides a wide gamut of services like Legal Transcription, Document Review, Legal Research, Litigation Support, Electronic Data Discovery and Intellectual Property Rights.

The work matrix

The work in this field involves three elements – the client, the vendor and the project. LPO transactions are project-based, and as the nature of work can be document reviewing or patent intelligence, legal professionals have to be well-armed with a host of skills and expertise. This is a knowledge-based work and calls for exploring and understanding the clients’ business objectives and then providing the solutions. The professionals should also have the ability to transfer learning and relate to other systems of common law such as the UK and US legal systems.

Aju John, who heads Knowledge Services at Rainmaker, a Mumbai-based legal training organisation, shares: “LPO professionals can enjoy attractive packages from Rs 8,000 a month to Rs 20,000 a month depending on their skills and legal qualifications.”

He further adds that team leaders at the leading LPOs can earn more than Rs 30,000 a month. So money is unquestionably good here.

Training law professionals for their work can help them understand the intricacies in this field. The Certified Legal Outsourcing Professional (CLOP) training programme designed by the Rainmaker organisation serves this purpose.

A journey of growth

LPO professionals can start from the low end of the value chain such as legal transcription and can grow to provide consulting services in the areas such as patent landscaping. “Patents is a very exciting area dealing with innovations and if the professionals learn sincerely, they can gain an insight into latest innovations in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals,” says Ketaki Pandit from the human resource department of Legasis, a Pune-based legal services company.

In addition to database expertise, the professionals can use their knowledge in information technology for the IT enabled legal technology solutions. This adds value in terms of cost benefit and time management.

Integrating IT and law

The integration of legal and IT knowledge helps the professionals to gain an edge over those who are into conventional legal practices.

This field helps the professionals to shape their communication, analytical thinking and decision-making skills. More importantly, the professionals get an opportunity to interact and discuss with the overseas corporate legal departments. So here value addition in terms of knowledge creation, awareness and multicultural sensitivity is unquestionable!

Challenges and new frontiers

LPO has gained much ground in India but finding experienced people is still a tough task. The cost of training is high and there is unpredictability in the flow of work. Jasbir Juneja, vice president, Business Development of Bangalore-based Manthan Legal services says: “LPO is still a budding industry and is growing more than 50 per cent every year and the biggest challenge is to develop the talent to meet the growing demand.”

This gap can be bridged by training and making the professionals gain insight into the difficult legal dimensions. There are challenges but LPO has the potential to change the way legal solutions are delivered.

So, it is crucial to understand how professionals can learn new skills through tools and processes and use their legal acumen to address the concerns more efficiently, effectively and innovatively. LPO is the kind of field involving development of multitude of skills which goes beyond the mere application of legal knowledge and that is what makes it an appealing and promising career avenue.

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