Ayear after business information giant Thomson Reuters acquired a leading legal services outsourcer, Pangea3, the deal continues to be talked about as the most important recent development in legal process outsourcing (LPO). While Sanjay Kamlani, co-chief executive of Pangea3, says it has enabled his company to deliver “unprecedented hybrid governance and compliance solutions”, others see it as conclusive evidence of the maturing of the LPO sector.

A more telling sign of the coming-of-age of the LPO sector is that the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Law Society of England and Wales are for the first time considering if the rules that govern lawyers need to be tweaked to take account of their increasing use of legal outsourcing.

A commission on ethics established by the ABA is currently drafting proposals on possible amendments to its model rules of professional conduct. This follows on from a formal opinion on outsourcing published in 2008 by the ABA, which had in general given the go-ahead for the outsourcing of legal and nonlegal services. In the UK, on 13 October the Law Society issued a practice note on regulatory issues that lawyers and practices need to consider while outsourcing legal tasks.

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