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Will we see legal departments turn to offshore decision analysis?

Increased outsourcing of “decision analysis” is one of the breakthrough ideas for 2009 in Harv. Bus. Rev., Vol. 86, Feb. 2009 at 38. The authors predict that third-party providers will “structure decision alternatives, analyze data, and recommend or even take courses of action.” They give as examples assistance in significant issues, such as deciding where to build new stores, set insurance premiums, deploy salespeople and offer promotions.

It is not too farfetched to anticipate decision analysis for law departments in such areas as settlement practices, patenting patterns, choice of outside counsel, analysis of costs of matters handled by outside counsel, and development of knowledge management resources such as process guidelines and aids. Several offshore firms specialize in decision analysis, such as Mu Sigma, MarketRX, and Inductis, according to the article, and other offshore vendors (Cognizant, TCS and Infosys) “are beginning to develop an expertise in decision making.” Here is an opportunity for collective involvement by several law departments who could combine their data for an analytical exercise.

What decision analysts for law departments will need to do is to combine data, knowledge of in-house practices, visualization tools, and analytic disciplines. They should also subscribe to a ratio of something like the “4-1-1” staffing approach as outlined in the article. Four offshore analytic consultants, one consultant at the law department, and one senior lawyer in the law department would make up the team.

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