Client Concerns in the LPO Industry

Recession has been the cause of depression for a number of US companies. According to American Lawyer magazine, profits per partner at Top 100 law firms dipped by 4.3% and revenue per lawyer dipped by 1.2%. This has made offshoring almost unavoidable for the Law Firms looking to offset their increasing costs. Some of the major Law Firms including Clifford Chance and Eversheds are already operating from offshore locations.However, along with the huge savings on offer, Firms considering to offshore need to consider some serious threats attached to it. These include data security, conflict-of-interest, attorney-client privilege, compliance, and confidentiality. The Law Firms offshoring must perform a comprehensive background check of LPO Vendor including all the critical information like availability of IT infrastructure, security systems, guidelines regarding conflict-of-interest, and financial stability of the firm to run for considerable period of time. Some of the major issues arising while offshoring legal services include:Conflict-of -Interest-Law offshoring their work have an undisputed obligation to avoid conflicts of interest. The vendors must have a set of guidelines similar to the US Law Firms to track the issue of conflict-of-interest. They must have list of all the clients served by them in the past and present. Any vendor chosen for the legal services should satisfy the requirements under DR 5-105(E).Data Security Measures-Firms offshoring must evaluate the security measures implemented by LPO Vendors including IT, physical, and personnel security measures:

Secure web access including Proxy/ Firewall NAT and network monitoring
Biometrics access cards for employees; full time CCTV at workplace; and proper fencing
Availability of full-time security agents and training staff on the security measures
Attorney-Client Privilege-The protection of attorney-client privilege and attorney work is of great concerns. It is the obligation of the Law Firms to preserve attorney-client privilege. The principles that apply to the US Law Firms also apply to their vendors overseas. In most cases, vendors perform this work by uploading, scanning, and reviewing the documents on a secured Intranet site. Some of the security measures taken to protect attorney-client privilege issues include:

Controlled access of data by password protection
Implementation of firewalls and encryptions to keep out hackers
Use of VPNs for connecting services

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