Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO)

Global business international travel concept
Courtney Keating/E+/Getty Images

Legal Process Outsourcing

Legal process outsourcing or LPO is the exporting of legal services to low-wage markets overseas. An increasing number of companies, large and small, are outsourcing legal work to destinations across the globe.

A number of factors have fueled the legal process outsourcing trend, including:

  • Globalization
  • Economic changes and the rising cost of legal services
  • The growth of the Internet
  • Increased automation of legal processes
  • Developments in data security
  • New technology tools

Beyond cost savings, legal process outsourcing offers many advantages including access to outside talent, round-the-clock availability, and the ability to quickly scale up or cut back operations.

India is currently the largest LPO destination. Like the U.S. and the U.K., India's legal system is grounded in British common law. And, unlike China, which is emerging as an offshoring center, English is the language of instruction in Indian colleges and law schools. India also boasts one of the largest pools of English-speaking graduates in the world. Low labor cost is another major factor in sourcing work to India. In addition, India possesses a large, highly qualified labor pool. Many Indian legal service vendors require a college degree as a bare minimum to employment. Most employees - even data entry workers - possess a graduate degree and most legal employees possess a law degree.

Legal process outsourcing is occurring in nearly all sectors of the legal industry. The work of lawyers, paralegals, legal secretaries and litigation support personnel is increasingly being performed by legal service providers on the other side of the globe.

Legal process outsourcing is also known as offshoring, onshoring, LPO, legal process offshoring, and legal process onshoring.