In the much-publicized deal of the summer (2009), the Rio Tinto legal outsourcing engagement continues to pick up steam. With what has been noted as a successful endeavor with an Indian legal outsourcing vendor is now potentially being expanded to another vendor located in South Africa. This strategy is called a multi-sourcing outsourcing engagement.
Firms seek the benefits of a multi-sourcing engagement when looking to access niche vendor expertise (known as “best-of-breed” sourcing), leverage around the clock service delivery (known as “follow-the-sun” sourcing) and secure great business continuity through multiple vendors.
A multi-sourcing strategy presents challenges to legal professionals such as greater management and governance costs, increased complexity when forming tight vendor relationships and in work flow difficulties when service deliverables are co-dependent on a more than one vendor. While all of these challenges can be overcome, they must be appraised and planned for appropriately.
Without delving too much into detail here, you can read in greater depth the benefits and challenges associated with single versus multi-sourcing in our upcoming publication Implementing a Successful Legal Outsourcing Engagement.
Another important point made by the unnamed source in the article is that firms use their offshore vendor to better support, not replace, their domestic legal team. “This is not about taking quality legal work away from the UK. It’s about cost efficiency and outsourcing clerical work that can be done elsewhere,” stated the source in The Lawyer article.
At Fronterion, we have always been firm believers that slashing headcount for short-term financial gain is neither advantageous to the long-term competitiveness of the firm nor financial viability of such a legal outsourcing engagement.