If I was in a Back Office function in any law firm I’d seriously be thinking about my future employment options. When you do benchmarking studies on law firm support functions, they always come out in the bottom quartile. There are many reasons for this, and, to be honest, I’ve also seen some cases of that work being carried out by incredibly low paid staff.
With mergers, transparency, external investors and increased competition, there is going to be no place to hide for inefficient back office activities. That is why I was reminded of Austin Powers when I saw the Pinsents news today. In his films he does parody the number of henchmen that get wiped out in films, and the new Bond film is no different. They all have homes and families too!
One of the areas of LPO that is going to boom in the coming year or so is Back Office Outsourcing. This is a great entry point for any Firm wishing to cut its costs and try the outsourcing model. It is easy because it is “Not Law” so less controversial – henchmen, not leading actors.
From a Supplier side, like the CMS Cameron McKenna deal, Back Office Outsourcing is an attractive entry point too. Prove you can deliver on “Not Law” outsourcing, and you are well positioned to win the real Legal Outsourcing work.
There never is one single answer; everything is client-specific. My only word of caution is that you will not have a competitive advantage or even a temporary differentiator by saying “We outsource our IT” (or Finance, or HR, or whatever). You are going to have a strong message if you say that you’ve got a world class, cost effective supplier who is going to provide a level of service, quality and transparency (that word again, transparency) that any of your competitors is going to struggle to compete with.
By Edward Brooks