New Survey Sheds Light on How Corporate Legal Departments Handle Outsourcing – eDiscovery Trends

By: Doug Austin

These days, it seems as though every company is outsourcing work overseas.  Are corporate legal departments following suit?

Only to a point, according to a new survey available from ALM Legal Intelligence and discussed on David Hechler’s article on Corporate Counsel (The 2013 Legal Process Outsourcing Survey).  According to the article, “The LPO industry is like sex: There’s plenty of talk about it, but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Vendors will tell you that it’s really taking off—or is about to. They cite numbers in the billions of dollars, but these always seem to be projections.”

So, as the author notes, “we decided to ask corporate law departments (but not their law firms) to tell us about their experiences. We created an online survey and sent it out to lots of departments. We also posted links on and invited readers to click in. And we asked not only whether they’ve made the leap, but, for those who have, where they’re sending work, what kind of work they outsource, what motivated them, and how they feel about the results.”

Here are some of the published results:

  • 54 percent of the respondents have outsourced legal work at some point;
  • Of the respondents who have outsourced legal work, 26 percent were “very satisfied” with the results, 41 percent were “satisfied”, 29 percent were “somewhat satisfied” and only 3 percent were “not at all satisfied” – meaning that over 2/3 of the respondents were at least satisfied with the work performed;
  • 65 percent of the respondents who have outsourced legal work have only done so within the US, while 35 percent have outsourced abroad (64 percent of those have sent work to India);
  • Document review and electronic discovery were the most frequently cited types of work being outsourced;
  • Asked why they outsourced legal work, fully 35 percent said “to test the idea.” This was the third most common reason, behind “lowering costs” and “reducing the time required to complete the work.”

Based on the survey, it appears that, while more organizations outsource legal work than don’t, most still haven’t dipped their toe in overseas waters (at least yet).

The full survey is available from ALM Legal Intelligence here for $599.

So, what do you think?  Did you expect overseas outsourcing to be more prevalent?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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About the Bloggers

Brad Jenkins

Brad Jenkins, President and CEO of CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years of experience leading customer focused companies in the litigation support arena. Brad has authored many articles on litigation support issues, and has spoken before national audiences on document management practices and solutions.

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Doug Austin

Doug Austin, Professional Services Manager for CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years experience providing legal technology consulting and technical project management services to numerous commercial and government clients. Doug has also authored several articles on eDiscovery best practices.

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Jane Gennarelli

Jane Gennarelli is a principal of Magellan’s Law Corporation and has been assisting litigators in effectively handling discovery materials for over 30 years. She authored the company’s Best Practices in a Box™ content product and assists firms in applying technology to document handling tasks. She is a known expert and often does webinars and presentations for litigation support professionals around the country. Jane can be reached by email at

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