Today marks the first anniversary of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issuing of their Formal Opinion 08-451 Lawyerʼs Obligations When Outsourcing Legal and Nonlegal Support Services.
While we have not seen the tsunami flood of work sent offshore as some predicted, this past year has seen an increase of interest in and implementation of outsourcing. Firms may not be rushing to announce that they are outsourcing (particularly in a down market), but it is being done in increasing volumes. Outsourcing legal services is not part of the mainstream of common law practices yet, but it has gained considerable awareness and credibility in the legal community. Furthermore, we have noted great strides and increasing maturity of the vendors in the space, as well.
Due to quite a number of disruptive economic challenges and the proximity of core law firm functions, legal outsourcing is still in its early to mid-stages of development. Economics, client pressure, and changing dynamics in the legal industry will continue to drive outsourcing trends upward for this coming year and beyond.