Guidelines for outsourcing

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

Any law department considering outsourcing legal work overseas—and any vendor considering adding this to their slate of offerings—should check out “Guidelines for Outsourcing Growth” in the May 3, 2007 issue of National Law Journal, which discusses guidelines that have been issued by the LA County, City of New York and San Diego Bar Associations.

As is stated in the article and in the San Diego opinion, outsourcing of legal research and similar work is ok as long as local counsel (1) informs its client, if there’s a reasonable expectation that the work would be done by the firm itself, (2) supervise the outsourced work properly and (3) protect the client confidences and secrets.

Items 2 and 3 are worth paying attention to. Clients need to make sure there’s a mechanism to make sure overseas attorneys are not conflicted. Moreover, law firm attorneys are not exactly known for their management skills; it is important for clients to make sure that someone—either the firm or the vendor—is managing the project properly. Outsourcing vendors who have good processes in these areas should be able to make some headway by playing them up.

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