Outsourcing does not equal offshoring

By contributing author Brad Blickstein, Blickstein Group, on legal service providers:

It’s become clear that more and more legal work in areas such as document review is going to be outsourced. The economics are too good for routine legal work. There are a number of legal service providers set up to do this type of work in India (NovusLaw, Office Tiger), the Philippines (SPi) and now Israel (PowerLegal).

One important distinction is the difference between outsourcing and offshoring. Offshoring means “moving business processes or services to another country to reduce costs.” Outsourcing is obtaining “services from an outside supplier or source”. (Both definitions from dictionary.com.) They are not synonymous. Technically, most legal work is already outsourced—to law firms.

Law departments who want a fraction of the economic benefits of offshoring, but are not yet comfortable overseas, may want to consider outsourcing the work to a non-law firm service provider that manages routine legal work in the United States, such as Barrasso Consulting, Huron Consulting Group or IE Discovery. The economic benefits might not be as great as off shore, but they still exist from better management and personnel costs in certain domestic geographies.

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