Global Sourcing Survey 2010

Mar 22, 2010 – Is there a new career path available for today’s law graduates outside of pursuing jobs at traditional law firms?

Outsourcing consultancy firm Fronterion has carried out its first survey of the fast-growing onshore outsourcing industry, in which law firms and in-house legal departments send work to specialised delivery centres in the United Kingdom, rather than India or South Africa.

The survey, which polled executives from 17 of the largest global outsourcing providers, as well as 10 of the largest UK law firms, found that approximately 300 full-time lawyers and legal professionals are currently at work in delivery centres in Scotland, Wales and the Southwest of England. Of the top 17 global vendors, 10 per cent of their legal delivery staff is based in the UK.

The onshore industry remains a small part of a larger trend toward offshore outsourcing, but is expected to grow significantly as legal outsourcing continues to attract attention from law firms and large corporations. This change will lead to new opportunities for legal professionals in the UK.

Some 75 per cent of outsourcing vendor executives surveyed by Fronterion said at least some of their clients had expressed an interest in onshore delivery, while 24 per cent of vendor respondents reported a significant number of their clients were interested in onshore delivery. A further 82 per cent of outsourcers said their clients were interested in hybrid solutions – a combination of onshore and offshore outsourcing – with over 41 per cent of outsourcers reporting a significant interest in the hybrid-shore delivery model.

Law firm leaders are also increasingly aware of the benefits of onshore delivery. Among the problems they cited with offshore outsourcing were proximity to their own lawyers, difficulty with different time zones and overseas regulations. Eighty per cent of law firm respondents said they would initially be more comfortable with onshore outsourcing.

It was an even split for law firms (50 per cent) regarding their perspective of whether onshore delivery of legal outsourcing represents a, “viable career path for domestic lawyers.” Vendors were slightly more supportive (65 per cent) of the career opportunities of the onshore delivery, but not unanimously in agreement.

Fronterion managing principal Michael Bell said, “What is clear from this study is that law firms and their clients are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of using outsourcing centres within the UK. The savings are still significant. Onshoring can save around 21 per cent per outsourced role compared to an average of 50 per cent in places like India and South Africa, but without many of the problems associated with sending legal work overseas.”

“While the industry is still in its infancy, onshore legal delivery may become a real alternative for legal professionals who have been laid off, cannot find work at major law firms or who prefer a different type of work setting.”

The survey also found that 88 per cent of the outsourcing providers have experienced increased interest from more qualified onshore candidates during the recent recession, which has caused thousands of layoffs at top law firms. These findings parallel the 41 per cent of the vendors projecting a significant increase in the number of qualified lawyers they employ onshore over the next three to five years.

The domestic outsourcing market is largely focused around business process outsourcing, but several providers have started to provide UK-based legal services and per the findings of the study, a significant number of legal outsourcing vendors are anticipating strong growth for onshore delivery.

 

Survey Administration/Fronterion Overview

The 2010 Global Sourcing: A Globalised Profession and Multi-Shore Delivery of Legal Services Study was administered by Fronterion. Fronterion is the premier international management consulting firm exclusively focused on advising law firms and corporate counsels on outsourced legal services. Fronterion clients, primarily based in the UK and US, include a variety of sizes and practice specialties.

As the first organisation to bring a highly structured approach to the assessment of offshore legal outsourcing vendors, Fronterion has helped clients overcome an array of outsourcing challenges and achieve transformational benefits through outsourced legal services. A strict adherence to independence from vendor firms ensures Fronterion’s objectivity in all client reporting.

For more information about Fronterion contact mediarelations@fronterion.com, +1 (312) 473 – 4887. Additional resources are available at www.fronterion.com

For full details of the 2010 Global Sourcing: A Globalised Profession and Multi-Shore Delivery of Legal Services Study see www.fronterion.com/globalsourcing2010/