Indian clients have typically shied away from the services of legal process outsourcers. Is this about to change? Rebecca Abraham reports
However, legal heads of Indian companies, unlike those in developed jurisdictions, rarely use the services of alternative legal services providers. So despite India being the breeding ground of the global legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry, Indian companies have rarely benefited from this industry.
Yet this is an area where the status quo may not last for much longer. There are signs that Indian companies may start seeking out the efficiencies achievable through outsourcing tasks that are routinely handled by the legal function, but do not need to be handled by a lawyer.
At Tata Sky, a joint venture between Tata Sons and 21st Century Fox, chief legal and regulatory affairs officer Himavat Chaudhuri has been looking for a suitable solution for management of the company’s standardized contracts. He says it’s mostly “fill in the blanks” kind of work with the added dimension that it needs to be handled with rigour and the contracts need to be stored carefully.
What benefits does he expect? Chaudhuri says that while achieving cost savings is important, the main reason for reassigning the task would be to gain efficiencies. “LPOs are very process driven. They have a very different mindset to that of a lawyer … I would expect them to do a better job [managing contracts] than an in-house counsel or business person.”While this task is currently handled by a legal or business team member, Chaudhuri has been exploring the possibility of outsourcing the work. “I thought it would be really helpful to not have a lawyer or someone from the business team do it.”