I’ve spoken at and attended a number of webinars on legal process outsourcing (LPO) in the past 10 days. While Paul Revere did not really shout “The British are coming,” that phrase has come to mind when I’ve looked at some of the attendee lists for these events. For example, at one webinar, over 80% of the attendees were from corporate sourcing groups – not law firms or legal departments. So I’ve come to the conclusion that General Counsel – whether you’re already knee-deep in LPO relationships, you’re studying LPO closely, or you think LPO isn’t ready for prime-time or isn’t relevant to your legal services needs – should be mindful that your colleagues in procurement (in the spirit of “we have lots to offer Legal if they’ll let us”) may be hot on the LPO trail.
A speaker at one of the LPO programs made a statement to the effect that “LPO is different from business process outsourcing (BPO).” While I agree that legal is “different” (what current or former GC wouldn’t?), I think that the skills and methodologies developed over the past decade in HRO (human resources outsourcing), FAO (finance and accounting outsourcing) and other BPO categories have a great deal of application in the legal services environment. If you’re starting to look at LPO and you haven’t done a lot of outsourcing deals yourself, be sure to talk to your colleagues and acquaintances – procurement experts at your company, as well as consultants and lawyers who regularly work on these deals – for ideas, precedents, and tips.
Finally, if you want to learn more about LPO from the leading vendors, customers and other experts in the field, sign up for Global LPO Conference 2011 in June. If you’re interested in attending, contact me for details that can save you 20-40% on the registration fee.