November 01, 2012

Privacy and Legal Outsourcing

William L. Pfeifer Jr.

A growing trend in the legal profession is the outsourcing of legal work to third-party providers. Also known as legal process outsourcing, legal outsourcing has enabled law firms to increase profit margins while decreasing the costs to clients. However, legal outsourcing is not without risk. The privacy and security of client data, as well as issues of legal privilege, must be taken seriously when lawyers consider utilizing the services of a legal outsourcing firm.

Types of Work Being Outsourced

Law firms are outsourcing a variety of legal work to outside providers. Except for legal research, most of the work tends to involve tasks that are repetitive or time consuming. These are situations where the project will require more hours to perform than the firm can handle or the cost of doing it in-house is simply too high. For example, many bankruptcy and immigration lawyers utilize the services of paralegals in India to prepare the forms required to process their cases. Civil litigators outsource records review and e-discovery compliance, while personal injury firms in class action lawsuits outsource the collection of data, the classification of claims, sending notices, and distribution of client payments. Many transactional lawyers outsource the initial drafts of contracts and due diligence work.

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