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Why Staff-Up When You Can Staff Out? Ethical Considerations for the Use of Legal Process Outsourcing

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Solo and small firm practitioners are faced with tough choices as their practices grow. As demands increase, the traditional answer is to add a part time general assistant. The part time assistant becomes a fulltime employee, and more staff follow. With employees come huge responsibilities for the firm, including training, supervision, tax and regulatory compliance, and liability. So before turning reflexively to in-office staff, the contemporary practitioner should be sure to consider all her options.

The core principle at the heart of ethics issues concerning outsourcing is this: the attorney choosing to outsource work has ultimate responsibility for her work and this cannot be delegated. The remaining discussion amounts to details about how to ensure that the attorney remains at the helm in a representation.

This article offers practical advice for how an attorney may ethically utilize legal process outsourcing. Section II briefly explains some of the possible benefits of using LPO. Section III presents the many ethical issues that arise from LPO generally, and suggests steps to address each possible issue. Section IV identifies the additional ethical issues that arise from use of foreign LPO providers.

 

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