The legal profession in the UK is experiencing a seismic shift in the way it conducts business today. Corporate legal departments are looking for more cost-effective, efficient and transparent legal service solutions. Law firms are rethinking their business models, offering alternative and fixed fees, and are forming strategic partnerships with legal process outsourcing (LPO) providers in order to meet client needs. In the midst of all this, sweeping legislative changes in the UK are also driving change. With law firms and in-house legal departments adopting a variety of strategies to carry out low-value legal work more cost-effectively, significant new LPO players are entering the market.
Scotland's Legal Sector is Thriving and Ripe for LPO
The legal sector is a major employer in Scotland, providing around 20,000 jobs, including 10,400 solicitor members, and contributing £1.2 billion to the Scottish economy.And, recent reports note that the reputation of Scotland's legal services industry is growing around the world.Generally, there are more qualified lawyers in Scotland than in Wales and Northern Ireland combined. The pace doesn't seem to be slowing as Scottish universities continue to provide many high-caliber law graduates each year. By contrast, in other countries the number of graduating law students is declining.
With its thriving legal industry, Scotland has great potential to become the onshore and near-shore LPO delivery center for legal support work from the UK and other EU countries. As the LPO sector evolves, Scotland offers an ideal location for high-value qualitative work such as portfolio management, corporate transactions, governance, risk management and compliance. Further, many Scottish lawyers are dual-qualified and can advise on the law in more than one country.
Successful History in the BPO Industry
Scotland is one of the world's leading international shared service centers and business process outsourcing (BPO) locations, and some of the world's largest companies rely on Scottish BPO providers. Much of the growth and success can be directly attributed to a talented workforce, critical mass, advanced infrastructure, competitive operational costs and an innovative outsourcing sector. Staffing costs are also very competitive. All of these factors contribute readily to the LPO market.
Government Programs Support LPO in Scotland
In 2012, Scottish Development International (SDI), which is the international economic development arm of Scotland's government,launched an initiative to encourage Legal Process Outsourcing providers to locate in Scotland. The SDI pointed to the country's high quality of legal education and the ability to handle complex outsourcing work. Law firms and other companies which decide to open support service operations in Scotland would be able to apply for funding and development grants.The Law Society of Scotland hasalso expressed its support of SDI’s plan to attract new LPO businesses into Scotland.
As the legal industry continues its march toward global change, outsourcing is likelyto play an increasing role in the re-engineered legal service model. And, Scotland has the potential to emerge as a leading example of what the next generation of LPO provider has to contribute.
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