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LPO boom coming

business Updated: Sep 05, 2010 23:13 IST
Vivek Sinha

The legal processes of rich countries promise the next outsourcing windfall for countries like India and the Philippines.

As corporations and legal firms in the US, Europe and Australia cut overhead costs, legal jobs, such as electronic document management, are expected to shift offshore. India, due to its sheer size, is set to grab a big part of the legal process outsourcing (LPO) pie that is expected to rise at 40 per cent annually.

"Over the next five years there could be close to 20,000 LPO jobs in the country," Alok Aggarwal, co-founder and chairman of research and analytics firm Evalueserve told HT. Aggarwal said almost all of the offshore outsourcing work at present is being sent from corporate counsels of UK and US. So far, law firms have been hesitant to offshore work but as they look towards cutting overhead costs more and more jobs would come to India, he said.

"Globally, the total addressable LPO market is around $20 billion and India is well set to grab a large portion of it," said Anand Sharma, CFO of CPA Global, a legal services firm. Sharma said the company, which employs around 500 people in legal processes, plans to quadruple its headcount by the end of December 2011 in view of the opportunity.

Another legal outsourcing firm, Pangea3, wants to double its headcount from the present 550 over the next one year.

"This is the beginning for LPO sector wherein in the first phase entry-level and mid-level LPO jobs will come to India. After five years, the country could attract higher-end consultancy and legal advisory jobs as well," said Kamal Karanth, MD of staffing firm Kelly Services.

In fact, during the '90s, even the BPO sector attracted lower rung clerical jobs that later evolved into higher-end analyst positions. The LPO sector now seems to be going through a similar cycle and with the success of its BPO sector to boast of, India could hasten the evolutionary process for LPOs.