Are Biglaw firms outsourcing legal work, or not? We don’t know, because apparently firms don’t want clients to know. The ABA Journal reports that most firms declined to even answer an outsourcing questionnaire:
About 83 percent of the 30 responding law firms declined to participate in the survey, according to Fronterion, the Chicago-based outsourcing consulting firm that conducted the study. Fronterion managing principal Michael Bell believes a majority of top law firms are using legal outsourcing providers, at least on an ad hoc basis, but they are reluctant to admit it because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Apparently all that criticism of the quality of international LPOs has made firms afraid to talk about outsourcing.
But since we’re dealing with top law firms, not talking =/= not doing…
The survey Fronterion attempted to conduct was pretty straightforward:
Fronterion sent the survey to the nation’s top 50 law firms, but eliminated 20 of them from the results after they did not respond at all or “in a sufficiently definitive manner,” Bell tells the ABA Journal in an e-mail. Out of the 30 remaining firms, only one confirmed that it is outsourcing legal services to some degree. Four law firms said they do not use outsourcing.
Twenty-five other law firms—83.33 percent of the total—told Fronterion they wouldn’t participate in this particular survey.
They asked 50 top law firms and only one of them copped to outsourcing? To quote Vizzini: “inconceivable.”
In classic Biglaw fashion, firms would rather leave an information vacuum instead of just speaking truthfully. But if you really think that top firms are not outsourcing legal work — well, you’re just as naïve as the firms hope.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of outsourcing