“Process” disparages the level of services that can be provided by LPO companies

The website of SDD Global sharply criticizes the “P” in LPO. The services provided by companies in that sector go beyond assembly-line repetition. Dare I say to the practice of law? I quote extensively because the point is well made and the appropriateness of other descriptive terminology compelling:

“The term, “LPO,” for “legal process outsourcing” … is apparently a media invention, first appearing in 2005. It derives from BPO, or business process outsourcing. But to the extent that the word, “process,” suggests standardized, commoditized, easy-to-replicate tasks that can be performed without a lot of education, much less professional training, it is a misnomer for the legal outsourcing or legal services KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) industry. Typing a medical transcription, or answering calls based on a script, is a “process.” On the other hand, legal research, legal analysis, or drafting complaints, contracts, patent applications, or legal briefs, is not a BPO-like, commoditized “process.” Those are legal services, even if they do not amount to “practicing law,” which can only be done by the supervising, licensed attorney (often in-house corporate counsel) who reviews the services that so-called LPO companies provide.

That is why many in this industry do not refer to themselves as “LPO” companies. One company uses the phrase, a “provider of global legal and patent outsourced services.” Another refers to itself as a “premium legal services company.” Others refer to their “Legal Knowledge Services” or “Offshore Legal Services.” Still another has adopted the label of “legal services organization.”

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