Monday, December 12, 2011

For 2012, expect to see technology replacing even more contract attorneys

That's one of several predictions from a consulting firm called Fronterion in its annual report on the Top 10 Trends for Legal Outsourcing. As the report tells us, it's inevitable that software will (very) soon replace even the lowest cost human alternative when it comes to performing many routine legal tasks.

As technology is increasingly paired with manpower, 2012 represents a year of both opportunity and challenge for LPOs [legal process outsourcing]. Advances in legal technology will create opportunities for greater legal service disaggregation, expanding the scope of LPO offerings. But in the long term, certain manual LPO services may become automated or eliminated altogether by computer programs which cost less than even the cheapest worker. In addition, LPOs still largely operate on a similar hourly model as law firms and traditional legal staffing firms. This hourly‐billing model is increasingly under threat from alternative billing methods and may give way to bundled technology‐service

Bundling LPO services with technology offerings will be an essential differentiator for outsourcers in 2012, but LPOs should be wary of over-committing to a single technology platform or deviating from their primary focus of delivering process driven legal support services, as opposed to technology development. Examples of technology applications LPOs might use include contract management repositories, document review platforms, or legal research technologies, which can trawl through thousands of documents for key themes and phrases.

Hat tip to the ABA Journal Blog.


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