Some of us knew it already. Others denied it. Still more did not want to know about it and others closed their minds to it.
I am not talking about Legal Process Outsourcing, nor Smart e-Discovery. I am talking about a report I first heard early last Thursday morning on the Today programme about the discovery of more than 70 flint tools and chips unearthed in Happisburgh on the North East coast of Norfolk.
Happisburgh (hands up all of you who thought it was called Happy’s Berg, when it should be pronounced Hazeboro’!!) is a small village on the coast of Norfolk between Cromer and Great Yarmouth. Until last week it was remarkable for little more than a red and white painted lighthouse, a nearby garden owned and cultivated by one Alan Gray and a propensity for its houses nearest to the sea to fall off the cliffs into the waves below, a phenomenon common enough on the east coast of England and one which arouses huge controversy every time someone suggests that it would be a better use of taxpayers’ money NOT to shore up the ever crumbling cliffs against the encroaching sea but to pay proper compensation to the house owners to enable them to move elsewhere.
Freelance journalist Grania Langdon-Down has sent me an article entitled “Call for backup” published in the July edition of Solutions.
The article looks at how the process of forensic investigation works and how litigators go about finding the right firm for the job. Grania writes fluently on the subject and is kind enough to quote me in a couple of areas, so I will leave you to read the article at your leisure –
Call for backup, Solutions, July 2010 [as reproduced in The Law Society Gazette]
I make no apology for returning once again to the subject of Legal Process Outsourcing or LPO as it is colloquially known. The phenomenon is also known as Legal Services Outsourcing or LSO, making both sound like performances from the Royal Albert Hall rather than the relatively new process of instructing foreign lawyers to carry out legal tasks in a different country for a fraction of the price you would pay in this country.
LPO/LSO appears to be pretty high on the agenda of managing partners of law firms and others at present, presumably because the notion that you can use lawyers offshore to carry out tasks for a fraction of the cost of your own lawyers within the jurisdiction is irresistible in these straitened times. I am not sure what the army of paralegals and others who would have been engaged on the various tasks in this country think about it; they are surely going to be out of work if outsourcing increases, but for present purposes, I propose to leave consideration of that aspect of LPOs to one side.
In the June 24th edition of The Economist there appeared an article entitled “Passage to India”.
This was not a reference to the E M Forster story written in the 1920s, which uses the trial of Doctor Aziz accused of raping Adela Quested on a visit to the Marabar caves to produce a trenchant commentary on the sometimes awkward relations between India and the British Raj some quarter of a century before Independence. This was a story about the growth of legal outsourcing with a subsidiary strap line proclaiming “Companies and law firms are turning to India for cut price legal services”.
Much has been written recently about the growth of legal process outsourcing and in a piece entitled A cunning plan [7th April, 2010] I mentioned that, on the back of outsourcing legal work to Indian lawyers at CPA Global thereby saving 20% of its legal costs, Rio Tinto’s general counsel Leah Cooper had jumped ship to join CPA as its strategy director.