Another outpouring on offshoring (aka rightshoring)

Among the 16 tools for reducing costs I posted on recently were “rightshoring and outsourcing” (See my post of May 18, 2008: Oliver Wyman’s list.). Presuming that “rightshoring” means offshoring, I rummaged around and found a plethora of earlier posts on offshoring.

For me, outsourcing is a broader topic, having to do with law departments retaining an external provider to do something. Only when the law department hires people in a low-cost country to do the work should the department use use the sub-set of outsourcing, offshoring (See my post of April 27, 2007: outsourcing does not equal offshoring.). Others apply different terms, as in the quote below.

Legal process outsourcing [LPO], according to a provider in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, June 2008 at 20, “involves sending domestic legal work (e.g., litigation document review, contract drafting, legal research) abroad to be performed by foreign attorneys, who are billed at a much lower rates than their American counterparts. Most LPO providers … use India as their offshore hub, which offers additional advantages such as a surplus of legal talent, a legal system based on British common law, and a time differential with the U.S. that allows for a U.S./India round-the-clock legal operation.”

Regardless of terminology, here are my compiled posts to date.

Some posts consider the size of the rightshore market and providers in it (See my posts of February 20, 2005: some fire under all the smoke; June 15, 2005: offshoring legal work, $163 billion market; Jan. 6, 2006: offshore legal services from India — $61 million in 2005; Jan. 28, 2007: five vendors listed as well as an online compilation; Feb. 25, 2007: 16 additional LPO firms; and July 16, 2007: ranking of providers of “legal process outsourcing.”).

The services on offer are varied (See my posts of Nov. 14, 2005: Motorola and patent work; Dec. 12, 2007: IP work; Dec. 6, 2007: Sapient and offshore contact services; Jan. 27, 2008: offshore legal services for CIT: NDAs and email surveillance; May 3, 2008: American Express and patent services and discovery; Oct. 19, 2007: trademark services; and Jan. 27, 2006: law-related services handled in India for US companies: three variations.).

Cost savings from offshoring figures prominently (See my posts of Oct. 10, 2005: India at 10% of the US law firm cost; May 20, 2005: sharing savings with law departments; Sept. 27, 2005 comparative costs; and Feb. 17, 2008: firm gives choice of offshore or onshore staff.).

Many locations in addition to India offer offshore legal resources (See my posts of Jan. 27, 2006: Accenture and Mauritius; Nov. 27, 2007: Israeli offshoring; and April 13, 2008: Kuala Lumpur.).

Not everything is smooth sailing for the offshoring cottage industry (See my postsof Feb. 18, 2007: bar association approves offshore legal services; March 23, 2007: some drawbacks to offshoring; Nov. 4, 2007: challenges of so many recent entrants to the field; May 11, 2007: guidelines for ethical outsourcing; and Feb. 17, 2008 #2: low ratings on effectiveness.).

For an excellent compilation of information about offshoring, visit Ron Friedmann’s blog, PrismLegal.

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