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A “legal heat map” to identify offshorable legal services

A long article about management initiatives in the legal group at Rio Tinto, in Legal Strat. Rev., Summer 2009 at 13, describes a service provider’s tool called a “legal heat map.” The provider, CPA Global, a major LPO company, developed the heat map “to help it identify and filter legal work that would have been managed by internal lawyers or outside counsel but could instead by sent to the Indian team [of CPA Global]” (See my post of Aug. 3, 2009: Rio Tinto’s managing attorney and references cited to the company.).

The goal of the heat map was to flush out low-level work – “the sort of work that isn’t important enough to send to an external firm, but builds up on a day-to-day basis so that when the more strategic and rewarding work comes in, staff are too busy to take it on.” The tool of CPA Global sounds self-serving, but the construct it implies makes sense. Unusual, specialized assignments should go to outside counsel; core legal advice should stay with inside attorneys; and routine, commoditized work can go offshore or to alternative providers.