How to Approach Legal Process Outsourcing

The following list describes various services a hiring organization can expect to find in legal process outsourcing firms.

Legal research services: Outsourcing firms can perform legal research for a hiring organization on any area of law. The outsourcing firm will deliver research documents and analysis to hiring organizations based on the specified time and deadline. The attorneys of the outsourcing firm, who are knowledgeable on state and international law, conduct the research. Specific services are listed below:

  • Prepare legal briefs
  • Examine state, federal and international laws regarding the case of the hiring organization
  • Jury verdict & settlement research in addition to secondary source research
  • Legal analysis & writing, legal editing, and legal opinions
  • Seeking primary authority in a given jurisdiction
  • Legislative history research and Memoranda of Law
  • Multi-jurisdictional survey and foreign law research
  • Statutory law research and case law research

Document review: Outsourcing firms can provide assistance and services directed towards document review. These services typically include litigation, fraud, internal investigations, government investigations, and regulatory matters. Outsourcing firms can help hiring organizations to reduce costs, risks, and help lower the workload involved with document review.

Contract review and drafting: Outsourcing firms can assist any type of hiring organization in drafting and reviewing contracts and/or agreements. The drafting of contracts can be specified towards any legal task or situation. The outsourcing firms can ensure that the contracts are agreeable and fair to parties as well as protecting the hiring organization’s interests and reducing their risks. The contracts are drafted in accordance with the relationship between the two parties. The contracts are also written in simple language that both parties will be able to understand and follow. Other contract drafting services include drafting of wills, shareholder contracts, engagement contracts, purchase and sale agreements, and copyright and notices.

Transaction support services: Outsourcing firms can assist hiring organizations in transactions. Outsourcing companies can help with everything from document review to management of the deal and contracts/agreements. Ultimately, outsourcing firms can help hiring organizations with the little details that come with deals, giving the hiring organization time to focus on the big picture. The outsourcing firm will be able to reduce total transaction costs through increased efficiency.

How to decide if your firm should pursue legal process outsourcing

Companies should conduct legal process outsourcing only after they evaluate the risks and potential benefits from performing legal process outsourcing. Most importantly, they must conduct a realistic determination of whether the requested legal tasks and services can be outsourced to a firm without having to sacrifice the quality of the end product. If the outsourcing poses significant risks in having the final product having a sub-par quality, then the outsourcing may not be worth the risk because it may result in having to re-do the work which can result in more costs and unhappy clients.

Hiring companies should create a LPO (legal process outsourcing) agreement with the outsourcing company that has a realistic assessment of the hiring organization’s legal needs and requirements. The hiring organization should look at the agreement and how the outsourcing firm plans to handle the needs. After reviewing the agreement, then the hiring organization can make the final commitment to pursue an outsourcing relationship. The following questions are essential for an organization to consider when drafting an agreement and in making the final decision on legal process outsourcing:

  • Do the outsourced legal services occur on a non-recurring basis, on a recurring basis, or on an intermediate recurring basis?
  • What are the legal needs, requirements, and services necessary to fulfill the hiring organizations needs?
  • Are there factors that will make the transition of legal services and tasks impossible or not practical?
  • Do the legal services wanting to be outsourced consist of core or non-core activities of the hiring organization?
  • Who assumes the additional risk for the legal process outsourcing work and possible consequences for use of that work?

Legal process outsourcing risks

There are many risks for a hiring organization to consider when conducting legal process outsourcing with an outsourcing firm. The following list covers some of the risks that all hiring organizations should consider:

  • Release of confidential information by the outsourcing firm as a result of an insecure infrastructure or because of poor employee policies.
  • The outsourcing firm may neglect to get the hiring organizations consent when performing and conducting certain tasks. This neglect can result in work or results that may be harmful to the hiring organization.
  • The outsourcing firm may produce work or results that the hiring organization will ultimately be responsible and liable for.
  • The hiring organization may incidentally wave the attorney-client privilege.
  • There may be communication and compliance differences if the outsourcing is conducted from two different countries.
  • There may be some disagreement and conflict between the fee-sharing agreements. The hiring organization has a lack of control with monitoring how long work takes an outsourcing company.

How to avoid risks

There are many different ways in which hiring organizations can mitigate the risks posed by outsourcing legal processes. The first thing that hiring organizations can do is to hire reputable outsourcing firms. Reputable outsourcing firms will have a reputation to uphold and will most likely provide quality work or will have provisions in place to correct any work that does not meet quality standards. Companies can hire reputable outsourcing firms through recommendations or through conducting research. A second thing hiring firms can do is to establish service level agreements (SLA) with the outsourcing firm. A SLA will establish specific requirements and agreements for the whole project. The majority of risks can be addressed in a SLA.

Recommended legal process outsourcing companies

CPA Global:  CPA Global has offices located across the United States, Asia, Europe, and in Asia and the Pacific. CPA Global supports attorney firms and corporate clients with a large range of legal and Intellectual property support services. Legal process outsourcing services include contract solutions, document review, legal research services, and transaction support services. CPA Global can work as an extension to the hiring organizations team or as a new separate entity. Furthermore, CPA Global will continue to support the hiring organization even after the job is complete.

LegalTech: LegalTech was formed in 2003, and its Headquarters are located in Bangalore, India. LegalTech also has offices in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. LegalTech provides services for Law firms and for corporations. The legal process outsourcing services offered for law firms are contract management, e-Discovery, first draft services, strategic IP services, and Medico legal services. The legal process outsourcing offered for corporations are commercial documents drafting, contract management, due diligence services, document abstraction services, and maintenance of contract databases.

Xxon: Xxon is located in New Delhi, India with offices in the United States. Xxon services big and small law firms, solo and corporate attorneys, corporate organizations, trademark and patent specialists, and real estate services. Xxon provides hiring organizations with litigation support, document review, document management, and legal research. Xxon also provides paralegal services for attorneys or attorney firms. Some of Xxon paralegal services are legal billing, OCR conversion, database support, legal transcription, coding & indexing, pre-trial briefs, and others.

How to Approach Data Entry Outsourcing

The 5 steps of data entry outsourcing

Typically data entry outsourcing contains five steps or phases between the outsourcing firm and the hiring organization. The steps are requirement analysis, standardizing operations, execution, quality audit, and delivery.

In the first step, the outsourcing firm will gather requirements from the hiring organization. Once they have received and analyzed the requirements, then they will perform standardizing operations. In this phase, they will choose how to perform the data entry and on what file types or mediums should the data entry be outputted to. Next, the outsourcing firm will execute the data entry services. Once this is done, the outsourcing firm should audit the data entry in order to make sure there are no errors and that the data is correct with the original source. Finally, the outsourcing firm will deliver the data to the hiring organization in the specified format.

Types of data entry outsourcing services

Online data entry- Hiring companies outsource their data entry jobs while still maintaining control of the applications. Often, the outsourcing firm will manually type data into online, web-based applications/databases or will use remote access software. Examples of online data entry are data input for payroll, data entry from images, data entry of products from online or offline catalogs, legal document data entry, and index entries of written documents and books.

Offline data entry- Offline data entry deals with data entry from written input sources into the desired file format. These written input sources are often hand written or printed material, scanned images, or PDF files. The hiring organization can receive the data entry in almost any format from the outsourcing firm once the data has been entered. In addition, the outsourcing firm should be able to transfer the data through such methods as FTP, email, CD/DVD, hard drives, and online submission.

Excel data entry- The outsourcing firm will perform excel entries for a hiring organization. Often, outsourcing firms know excel shortcuts and tricks in order to optimize data entry.

MS Access data/ database entry- The hiring organization can send files to the outsourcing firm, which in turn will perform data entry into databases. The outsourcing firm should be able to create new records from input sources, format database fields with optimal standardization, update records through verification of a resource, form data processing, generate reports, and establish relationships between different databases.

Web data entry- Web data entry typically involves the outsourcing firm performing remote access data entry from the hiring organizations systems. For example, a hiring organization can use the outsourcing firm to complete data entry tasks during non-working hours in order to increase productivity. The hiring organization can specifically select which files the remote operators can access.

What to look for in choosing a good data entry outsourcing company

Good data entry outsourcing firms should have a technologically advanced infrastructure that assists with providing secure online and offline data entry services. The infrastructure should include firewalls for all the outsourcing firms devices, and anti-virus software with the latest patches for malware and adware. Furthermore, the hiring organizations should sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the outsourcing firm that denotes who is responsible for protecting information and the transit of the information. There should be penalties in the SLA if either side fails to do their part in securing and protecting data.

Data Entry OutsourcingSecondly, outsourcing firms should have a technologically advanced infrastructure that is fast. Firms should have high-bandwidth internet lines to provide quality online typing with zero downtime. Hiring organizations should check to see if the outsourcing firms utilize redundant systems in case their main communication lines fail. The hiring organization should establish an alternative procedure in case communicates go down for a period of time.

Lastly, the outsourcing firm should be reliable. The outsourcing firms should validate data entries by verifying various authenticated sources and information available in the public domain. This can include email, addresses, zip codes, names, and phone numbers. The outsourcing firm should also have the same set of data entry be done by two different operators and then compare the entries through computer software to test accuracy. This application will highlight errors in data entry and then will be verified with the original source. Finally, the outsourcing firm should have quality control personnel that can audit work.

How to effectively use data entry outsourcing firms:

The following list describes what hiring organizations should do in order to best utilize the outsourcing firm for data entry services:

Effective communication- The hiring organization should make sure to effectively and clearly communicate the data entry requirements by email, chat, or phone. If the hiring organization is using online and/or offline data entry requirements, they should send the outsourcing firm the input sources in a pre-agreed upon form and method. For example, the outsourcing firm may want to receive input sources in a .doc file. Similarly, the hiring organization should clearly state how they would like to receive the outputted forms of data entry from the outsourcing firm.

Request proposals- After a hiring organization sends an outsourcing firm requirements and details about the data entry services, then the outsourcing firm should analyze the requirements. Subsequently, the outsourcing firm can provide a test run or evidence of how they will perform the job and send results. This is essential for the hiring organization to know what they are getting and to see if any changes need to be made.

Accuracy- If the outsourcing firm is performing offline data entry from an input source, then the hiring organization should make sure the firm performs data entry in an offline application. After double-checking the data through quality control, the firm should submit it in an online database where it can be reviewed by the hiring organization. Similarly, if the outsourcing firm is performing data entry for online applications, then the firm should perform double verification of data entry for the same source. The hiring organization should enforce the outsourcing firm to rectify any mismatches in the data entry output.
Recommended data entry outsourcing companies

Axion Data Services- Axion specializes in data entry services and internet research for retail, direct marketing, not-for-profit, and services companies. Axion will develop a service plan for the specific data entry projects requested by hiring organizations. Axion contains a U.S. domestic work force in addition to a partnership with a firm in India for data entry projects that require cost-effectiveness and overnight turnaround.

RelyServices- RelyServices has over 450 staff members working 24/7. It is based in the U.S. and has offices located in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. RelyServices offers a variety of data entry-outsourcing services such as data conversion, data processing, and online/offline data entry. They also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with their work. RelyServices has a unique combination of onshore and offshore outsourcing, which helps them maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.

Cignus Web- Cignus Web is located in New Delhi, India with 50 plus employees. Cignus handles clients from various countries across the world. They offer 24/7 services for their customers. In addition to basic data entry services, they also offer data processing, catalog processing, and OCR/scanning. Cignus web claims to offer tailor-made services that are competitively priced yet maintain the highest level of quality.

Secrets to Sourcing from China

If you are considering sourcing from China, the following guide can help you avoid costly errors and make the process run much more smoothly. From finding a supplier to making payment and clearing customs, learn each step before making any commitments.

Types of suppliers
Some suppliers will pretend to represent a factory when they do not. The major types of suppliers include:

  • Trading companies: These companies will handle everything from finding the manufacturer to payment. While this is the easiest way and often best for small orders, the commissions taken on every order will increase costs.
  • Through a third party provider: For a onetime fee, this provider works for the buyer and will help find and screen suppliers.
  • Factory direct: This may not be an option for smaller orders and requires the most work to set up and monitor. However, it provides the greatest degree of control and lowest costs in the long run when done correctly.

Finding a supplier
Finding the right supplier is the first and most important step. Going directly to China or trade fairs are always options, but there are also a number of sites that connect Chinese suppliers with buyers. These websites offer numerous ways to evaluate the qualifications of suppliers before meeting with them or investing anything. Some of these sites include:

Selecting the right factory
There are number of factors to look at to ensure you have the right supplier.

  • References: Any good factory should be able to supply at least a few references from previous customers.
  • Communication skills: Although the general level of English ability leaves something to be desired in most parts of China, any good supplier with experience in the overseas market should have people that can communicate well in English.
  • Quality control: Ensuring quality is often the single biggest hurtle to successful sourcing from China. Make sure the supplier has an established system of ensuring quality control.
  • Product line: The supplier should have a product line of related products they can present.
  • Inspect factory: If at all possible, inspect the factory where the goods will be produced. Keep in mind that some factories will actually outsource what they do not have the knowhow or space to produce. Ask to see exactly where the production will take place to ensure the factory-direct price.

Labor costs have risen significantly in many areas of China, and the price advantage is not what it used to be. Still, China has the relatively low costs and the infrastructure that makes it the best place to manufacture many products. Keep in mind that manufacturers outside the more established areas will have lower costs. It is necessary to check with different suppliers to get a good idea of what the market price generally is. Negotiate for the best prices but be wary of suppliers who give significantly lower quotes than everyone else. There is a good chance anyone coming in much cheaper than the market average will not be reliable.

To get the most attention and best quotes from suppliers, present your organization and the order size to look as large as possible.

In addition, keep in mind the price effects of VAT and China Sourcing.

Start with a sampleSourcing from China
As is explained in sampling  it is crucial to make sure the factory proves it knows exactly what it needs to produce by first producing a good sample. The sample needs to be the baseline established before placing any orders.

Start with smaller orders
Although larger orders will have lower unit costs, this is discussed more in production runs, it is advisable to start with smaller production runs until the factory can demonstrate its abilities and trustworthiness.

Making the deal
Everything needs to be carefully spelled out in a contract. Some points that need to be covered are:

  • Quality control: Assuring quality control is arguably the single most important factor.  The specifications for the products need to be clearly spelled out in addition to how quality will be assured.
  • Defects: How defects are handled and replaced must be clearly laid out. This includes the time frames for replacements and how shipping will be handled and paid for. 
  • Arbitration: Specify how and where any disputes will be handled. 
  • Payment: A percentage is usually paid up front with the remainder paid when the goods are shipped or on arrival as is the case if a commercial letter of credit is taken out.

Some type of inspection needs to be performed before any goods are shipped. The surest, but most costly, way to ensure quality is to have someone at the factory inspecting products as they are made. At other times, the products are inspected before they are shipped from China. While this is cheaper and reduces the danger of the inspectors being bribed or compromised in some way since they are not at the factory, there may be problems with getting the supplier to replace the goods if production is already complete.

One good way to inspect goods at a lower cost is to find a professional third party inspection service.

If at all possible, order by full container load (FCL). This will significantly reduce the unit costs of shipping and lessen the likelihood of damage or other losses in shipment.  When this is not practical and your merchandise makes up a less than full container load (LCL), it will be combined with other shipments. This and other important points about transporting goods is explained in more detail in shipping.

If buying from a factory that does not have an export license, keep in mind that a third party will need to be paid to export the goods. The points laid out in the following articles on  tariffs, customs clearance, customs brokers and freight forwarders should be understood before the goods are ever shipped.

Doing business in China is a valuable reference to prepare anyone not familiar with Chinese business practices on how carry out any kind of business there.