Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Changing Face of Legal Process Outsourcing

(thanks to xsquare2)

The biggest media company in the world, Thomson Reuters, has bought the legal process outsourcer, Pangea3.

Jordan Furlong analyses the deal very carefully and demonstrates that this deal has the capability of changing the nature of the legal services market. (H/T to Peter Lederer) Is this to be the law firm of the future?

What astonished me is the list of firms contained within the Thomson Reuters stable. Jordan lays them out as follows:

  • WestLaw: Legal research, legislative and case law resources
  • West KM: Knowledge management services for lawyers
  • ProLaw: Law practice management software
  • Serengeti: Legal task management and workflow systems
  • Elite: Financial and practice management systems
  • FindLaw: Website development and online marketing
  • Hubbard One: Business development technology and solutions
  • Hildebrandt Baker Robbins: Law firm management and technology consulting
  • GRC Division: Governance, risk and compliance services
  • IP Services: Patent research and analysis, trademark research and protection
  • TrustLaw: Global hub for pro bono legal work
  • BAR-BRI: Bar training course
  • Pangea3: Legal process outsourcing services
No law firm can match the range of services on offer here, especially if they are combined in synergistic ways. And it comes close to my idea of Google becoming a law firm...sorry supplier of legal services. Who is going to match it?

One interesting aspect is that this could be the end of legal process outsourcing. Does that sound a little bizarre? Yes but what I mean is that LPOs have shown the way. Now they will become become components in the giant consulting firms--part of the service delivery chain, rather than being the service deliverer. Pure LPOs have served their purpose. A short but sweet life. It's their processes that are valuable not necessarily the companies themselves.

This then puts the new mega-LPOs on a different level and on a global level firms like Thomson Reuters are going to be hard to beat on price and quality. Watch out law firms....

PS. Disclaimer: I recently gave a talk for Hildebrandt Baker Robbins in London. Number 8 in the list.

PPS. The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has now issued a discussion document on outsourcing.
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