Contributed by Andrew Goodman, Executive Director of Litigation Services, QuisLex, Inc. and Philip Algieri, Director of Litigation Services, QuisLex, Inc.
As the LPO industry has matured, the processes deployed by market leaders have developed an increasingly high degree of sophistication, enabling LPOs to begin to move from being merely "outsourcing" companies to being legal process management companies. Consequently, the core services they offer have shifted from solely commoditised tasks performed in "low-cost" jurisdictions to the development of significant process and technological enhancements for clients. This increased focus on process management allows LPOs to provide valuable insights based on hard data analytics, and to empower their clients to make better, more informed decisions that impact both legal and business strategy.
LPOs have also shown an increasing aptitude to develop, hone and implement their processes and deliver high-value services across core areas such as document review, related aspects of litigation support and contracts management and analysis. The following illustrates some of the ways in which LPOs manage key legal processes and provide significant value to their clients.
Clients increasingly involve LPOs earlier in their litigation and investigation life cycles. This allows LPOs to further tailor their processes to help clients meet their objectives, and also to gather and analyse data to derive insights that benefit clients. Providing clients with this enhanced view allows them to assess their litigation profile on a more granular level and often spurs additional, positive changes in the way clients approach their cases.
LPOs also routinely provide additional value to their litigation clients on individual projects through a variety of means, including:
• Deploying statistically-backed analytics and methodologies, along with the latest technology-assisted review tools, to decrease the number of documents requiring review in a defensible manner. This not only increases savings and efficiencies, but also serves to mitigate risks associated with over-production.
• Assisting clients and clients’ outside counsel in preparing for meet and confer sessions and, in general, by leveraging technology to make sure they identify important documents earlier in the process. This provides clients with an advantage in pursuing their litigation strategy and deciding whether to litigate or settle.
• Utilising highly-developed processes that are robust and nimble enough to enable clients and their outside counsel to respond to the distinct demands of certain situations, such as the last-minute addition of large volumes of documents or new custodians, by designing effective and defensible strategies to complete matters while maintaining a high level of quality. This process rigor and flexibility is particularly well-suited to meet extremely tight deadlines, especially on regulatory reviews involving high document counts and short time frames.
The use of technology has become an increasingly important component of the solutions LPOs design and implement for their corporate clients. Their ability to incorporate new technologies such as contract management tools into their processes is a natural complement to in-house counsel looking to optimise contract management functions by integrating their transactional workflows with software. This development has provided LPOs with opportunities to magnify the efficiencies they can bring to bear and has enabled them further to increase cost-savings and expand their support model. A vital component of their approach is to view contract management as a business solution and provide comprehensive legal support to their clients’ non-legal groups with a constant eye toward building efficiencies.
The following are examples of how LPOs are using process and technology to enhance their corporate service offerings and provide additional value to their clients:
• Assisting in the organisation-wide implementation of new contract management programs by leveraging technology to significantly reduce the effort required to track pending responses, monitor alerts and keep business stakeholders informed of the status of agreements. This use of technology benefits clients by allowing their provider to focus on core competencies, such as drafting and negotiating agreements, resolving queries and assessing workflows for on-going improvements.
• Strategically consulting with clients to seamlessly design, create and implement complex processes by drawing on past experience and strong process rigor. This applies not only in core applications, but also in highly-specialised areas such as compliance-related contracts, reformation efforts and complex corporate restructurings.
• Providing data analytics on legal and business terms across contracts and M&A projects by capturing operational metrics and contract content to explore the implementation of new efficiencies. This kind of data analysis arises from the provision of end-to-end support for contract review, negotiation and execution, which affords a unique viewpoint from which to evaluate clients’ contracting practices in real-time and creates a continual feedback loop to push for process improvements and enhance clients’ substantive positions such as updating templates or negotiation playbooks.
Clients’ appreciation of LPOs’ ability to manage key legal processes will likely grow in 2013 and beyond as clients continue to build long-term relationships with their providers and seek to maximise the value of those relationships. As technologies develop and allow for processes to be blended and integrated, LPOs will become efficient extensions of their clients’ legal departments, both by managing processes on an ongoing basis and by handling intermittent workflow changes, such as the increased resources required during periods of peak demand (e.g. the end of corporate reporting periods). This will drive further synergies between LPOs and clients, and speaks to the true value-add LPOs provide.
Legal Process Outsourcing - Global-wide
This company maintains its reputation as a world-class LPO provider. It has relationships with some of the world's leading law firms and Fortune 500 corporations, and draws on its network of onshore and offshore centres to conduct a range of large-scale projects. Key areas of expertise for the team include document review, e-discovery, contract management, due diligence and compliance support. The company has impressive global coverage and recently opened a new office in Bristol.
Sources say: "The quality is excellent and they are our choice for litigation."
Pangea3 is widely acclaimed for its strong relationships with top international companies and law firms, and is one of the largest LPO providers in the market. A major landmark in its development has been becoming part of Thomson Reuters in 2010. With headquarters in New York and Mumbai, and operations in Delhi and Texas, the firm offers clients a broad range of both onshore and offshore facilities. The team's expertise covers support with general corporate work, IP and litigation. It excels in document review, e-discovery, contract drafting and revision, and M&A due diligence.
Sources say: "We have a lot of respect for them. They are a strong offering and do high-level litigation."
This multi-shore provider excels in both litigation and corporate/M&A work, and acts for major law firms and corporates from diverse sectors, including financial services, insurance, manufacturing and technology. It conducts highly efficient, large-scale document reviews for litigation and for internal and regulatory investigations, with a particular specialism in antitrust investigations. On the corporate and M&A side, it is adept at carrying out due diligence on target companies. Contract review and contract management are other areas of expertise.
Sources say: "They really are fabulous. They have good communication and provide excellent value for money." "Their work has been outstanding. Their analysis is accurate and timely, and we would not have been able to complete this large project without their assistance."
With ten globally integrated work centres in the USA, the UK, India and Israel, UnitedLex is well placed to handle large-scale projects. Its litigation support covers a broad spectrum of processes, including e-discovery consulting, data collection and forensics, document processing, online data hosting and document production. The provider's technological prowess enables it to assist clients with the various stages of contract management and to conduct sophisticated IP work, for instance in relation to patent litigation. It has experience in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, technology, financial services, travel and leisure. Leading names on its impressive client list include BT, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Credit Suisse and various major US and UK law firms.
Sources say: "A well-respected team and a very strong competitor."
This provider has strong capabilities in complex, large-scale litigation, and also specialises in IP matters and financial services work such as corporate and securities law. It has recently experienced an upsurge in work related to contract management, database creation and management, and oil and gas title opinion drafting. It is also increasingly in demand for its niche expertise in white-collar crime matters. The group offers both an onshore delivery centre in the USA and an offshore facility in the Philippines, and its impressive client roster includes major law firms and Fortune 500 companies.
Clutch Group handles e-discovery, contract management, due diligence, compliance and legal research for a distinguished clientele that includes Fortune 200 and FTSE 250 companies and major US-based law firms. Its expertise makes it a top choice for clients in the financial services, healthcare, life sciences and high-end technology sectors. It is particularly popular with US and EU-based companies and their international subsidiaries. The group has considerable technological capabilities and develops tailored proprietary technology to meet users' needs. It has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, Bangalore and London.
Sources say: "They are very innovative and creative, have excellent time management, and the pricing is competitive."
Renowned for its wealth of experience in trade mark and patent work, this group also provides contract management, document review, legal research and due diligence services. Its IP outsourcing facility covers all aspects of the process, including research, filing and maintenance, as well as special projects. It provides both onshore and offshore services, and has offices across the USA, Europe and Asia.
This provider wins praise from clients for its creative problem-solving and responsiveness. Combining offshore operations in Sri Lanka with onshore offices in Europe and North America, the group supports clients in a range of areas, including banking and finance, competition and antitrust, corporate and commercial, IP and litigation. Its distinguished clientele includes law firms, boutique private equity houses and global consumer brands, such as Swarovski, Virgin Group and Victoria's Secret. It also has specialist expertise in meeting the outsourcing needs of small businesses. Work highlights include monitoring and taking enforcement action against domain names infringing Red Bull's trade mark, and handling the drafting, reviewing and negotiation of contracts for UK graduate recruitment company The Smarty Train.
Sources say: "I could not be happier with the exceptional level of service. The team is highly skilled and boasts wide-ranging international expertise. They adopt a fair billing practice, have a sound understanding of the needs of developing businesses and look for creative solutions to problems."
Mindcrest is headquartered in Chicago and has delivery centres in Salt Lake City and in Pune in India. It offers expertise in litigation, corporate legal services, and legal content and publishing. Services include e-discovery, contract management, regulatory compliance support, and reviews and summaries of case holdings and historical treatment of case decisions within specific legal areas. It has served clients in a broad array of areas, such as legal and media publishing, entertainment, technology, banking and credit reporting. Notable projects have included conducting a document review of more than two million documents for a consulting company and its law firm.
This provider has the distinction of being managed by a US law firm, Smith Dehn LLP. It has successfully acted on various high-profile litigations for prominent UK and US media and entertainment clients, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Twentieth Century Fox, HBO, Universal Pictures and Channel 4. Contract drafting, legal research and trade mark, title, patent and copyright work are other core areas of focus. The group's centre of operations is located in Mysore, and it also has offices in Bangalore, New York and London.