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Opportunity knocks for roles in legal process outsourcing
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Opportunity knocks for roles in legal process outsourcing

Ever thought about working in a Legal Process Outsourcing centre? For some lawyers, such an environment can create the perfect work/life balance or the entry level experience they desire.

Ever thought about working in a Legal Process Outsourcing centre? For some lawyers, such an environment can create the perfect work/life balance or the entry level experience they desire.

GOING GLOBAL: Hubs of legal talent are being centralised in centres across India, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia
When we think of some of the largest employers of lawyers worldwide, firms like DLA Piper, Clifford Chance and Norton Rose come to mind.

However, with the solid growth of the global Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) market in recent years, hubs of legal talent are now being centralised in LPO centres across India, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Already, some such centres employ up to 1000 lawyers, a figure likely to grow significantly as more clients and law firms seek LPO solutions in the future.

For many Australian lawyers, dealing with legal tasks deemed simple enough to be outsourced may not be an ultimate career ambition.

But according to Nicola Stott, a director with LPO provider Exigent, which has centres in both

Rockingham Western Australia and Cape Town, South Africa, there's much a newly qualified solicitor or paralegal can gain by working in LPO.

"The range of talent we have is everything from the graduate lawyer, to paralegal to the four to seven year PQE level," says Stott. "It's a whole range of skills and experience that we have across different sectors and disciplines ... At the graduate level, there are plenty of candidates coming out of law school. They're easy to find."

Stott notes that in Cape Town, where unemployment is particularly high, the positions offered by Exigent are highly sought after. "It's partly the work/life balance, and it's partly the ability to jump up the ladder more quickly and to be able to work on the higher value work than they could in a [local] law firm ... And while their base salaries don't match a law firm, they have attractive bonus schemes."

Meanwhile, Indian-based LPO providers like Pangea3 frequently recruit senior lawyers from the United States, UK and Australian legal market to take on well-paid, supervisory and quality control-type positions.

Currently, Pangea3 is recruiting a US Litigator/Document Review Manager for their India base, a position paying up to $150,000 a year, plus benefits and equity.

In employing local lawyers in India, Pangea3 notes that lawyers can receive US law firm training in a US corporate-like culture and entrepreneurial environment with merit-based career advancement potential and equity participation.

Around 80,000 Indians graduate from law school every year, adding to the already 1 million plus number of lawyers already in India. It's a large market pool, but one constantly tapped to keep up with talent demands.

The New Zealand-based Latitude South, which takes on legal work from the UK, only hires lawyers with UK and international experience. At around 80 pounds ($122) an hour for legal services, the Latitude South rates are not cheap but reflect some high levels of experience - and new opportunities for lawyers who have recently returned home.

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