The evolution of corporate legal process outsourcing

The growing maturity of the LPO marketplace gives corporations renewed incentive to assess its value.

This story is the second part in a four-part series. The third installment will discuss the LPO industrys response to several of the legal communitys concerns about LPO.

The legal process outsourcing (LPO) space has undergone several transformations in the decade since its inception:

  • Increased scalability and diversification of services. Many LPO providers have extended the geographic reach of their services and now support multiple languages. In addition, LPO providers today are more likely to offer end-to-end, ongoing legal services as opposed to one-off services.
  • Consolidation and collaboration. Over the past decade, many small LPO players in India were forced to shut down or consolidate with other LPO providers due to their inability to reach sufficient scale to operate profitably. The LPO market is becoming increasingly dominated by large business process outsourcing (BPO) players that are making large investments in the higher-margin LPO market. Capital investment in LPO is on the rise,[1] and a number of collaborations between law firms and service providers have recently been formed.[2]
  • Large multi-year contracts. An increase in the number of large outsourcing contracts with corporations has signaled the growing maturity of the LPO space. In 2010, for instance, Microsoft signed an agreement with Integreon Managed Solutions for legal support services, including contract review. It also has retained Integreon as its exclusive provider for offshore managed document review.[3]

As another example, in 2009, CPA Global contracted with mining giant Rio Tinto to provide legal outsourcing work.[4] Although these are just two examples of recent corporate LPO deals, various sources have projected overall growth in the LPO market by approximately 26% between 2011 and 2014 alone.[5]

The growing maturity of the LPO marketplace has given corporations renewed incentive to assess the value of a balanced insourced and outsourced legal support business model. Considering the options available today, companies that take a thoughtful approach to LPO have the opportunity to potentially achieve significant cost savings, improve service levels, focus their in-house legal workforce on higher-value activities, and create additional capacity for unanticipated legal needs.  

To learn more about the legal process outsourcing business model, click here.


[1] Barbara Rose, “Law, the Investment: Entrepreneurs attract major cash to draw legal services away from law firms,” ABA Journal, Sept. 1, 2010. Available online at http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/law_the_investment/.
[2] Sanket Purani, “’LPO’ should stand for Legal ‘Partner’ Outsourcing,” LPOSavvy.info, Jan. 12, 2011. Available online at http://lposavvy.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=332:-lpo-should-really-stand-for-legal-partner-outsourcing&catid=1:public&Itemid=32.
[3] Hodges, Jeremy, “Microsoft signs up to new outsourcing deal with Integreon,” Legal Week, April 7, 2010. Available online at http://www.legalweek.com/legal-week/news/1600014/microsoft-signs-outsourcing-deal-integreon.
[4] “Rio Tinto Signs Legal Services Outsourcing Agreement With CPA Global,” PR Newswire, June 18, 2009. Available online at http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/release?id=259609.
[5] “Legal Process Outsourcing: Crisis Creates New Opportunities for LPOs,” ValueNotes, 2009.

Contributing Author

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Nikhil Lala

Nikhil Lala is a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting and part of Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations practice, in the areas of business process outsourcing, legal...

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Contributing Author

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Michael Caplan

Michael Caplan is a senior consultant at Deloitte Consulting and part of Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations practice, in the areas of outsourcing advisory services,...

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