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Considering the ethics of legal outsourcing

Legal outsourcing, or legal process outsourcing (LPO) is becoming one of the fastest growing industries, and is the process of outsourcing legal work to lower costs and boost productivity.

Whilst many companies in the US for example will outsource across the globe, within the UK there are expert legal consultancy firms who offer legal consultancy and outsourcing to companies who need expert lawyers without hiring a full team.

Some of the benefits of legal outsourcing include:

  • Access to expert advice and advanced technology
  • Cost-Effective
  • Round-the-Clock Services
  • Increased Flexibility

Businesses opting to outsource work also benefit from not having to get worked up about employment law, holiday pay, sick pay, and other costs because the people performing the tasks are employed by an external employer.

Ethical considerations of legal outsourcing

When outsourcing legal work, the tasks that are required can range from basic tasks such as paperwork and filing, to reviewing records, and classifying the claims, and carrying out legal research.

When outsourcing, one of the main concerns ethically is over client data and the way that this is used, stored, and handled when outsourcing legal work. With onshore outsourcing generally the laws and processes will be the same, but if you are looking to partake in offshore outsourcing then you must ensure those assisting with work have specific rules in protecting and handling data. 

This comes to the question of whether you should inform your clients that work may be carried out by those not directly employed by your business/firm. In one sense, as long as the work is being completed then is it necessary?

However, on the other hand clients may have a right to know that people working either part time at a firm, or externally, have access to their files and personal data in order to assist the firm. They should also give consent in this case, which in America is now a rule adopted by the American Bar Association. Of course, it is the responsibility of a firm or business who are outsourcing legal work to carry out due diligence and to ensure those carrying out work for them have a good reputation and the require expertise to do a job to a high standard.