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.”