Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Considerations for short-listing of Vendors- Part 1

This post and the upcoming post shall concentrate on a few important considerations that usually weigh with the foreign law firm /corporation while short-listing vendors for the purpose of off-shoring legal work.

These are being specifically discussed here because different start- up companies more often than not seeks advice on these matters.

As an Indian LPO it is extremely important that you impress the foreign law firm about the fact that your small little management team does have adequate experience about setting up, operating and smoothly making go an off-shoring business. In case you can show that one of your managers has extensive experience of operating an offshore business in either the U.S. or UK, it shall build high confidence in the prospective customer. This and a little more, you need to establish in no uncertain terms that your management is also alive to the “off-shoring weather” as it prevails in India.

Next consideration would be your staff and the lawyers who would actually execute the work on the production floor. It is necessary to establish that your lawyers have the subject matter expertise to execute just the kind of assignment which you are pitching for. With a team having a subject matter expertise in contract management you could not have pitched in for legal research and vice versa. It would be relevant to mention at this point, that, just to show that your team is efficient in everything please do not clutter your website with a laundry list of all legal and paralegal activities.

Potential clients would also judge whether your lawyers have the technical expertise to handle the kind of work that is being offered to be off-shored. For example with a team which is specialized in handling document review software you could not have filled in a RFP for a US Personal Injury Case Management Project, to be executed through a case management software and vice versa.

Size does matter with the buyers. This is one reason why big law firms approach vendors which have a huge infrastructure. It is not that big LPOs always have a big team to start up a project. It is also not a fact that they always get projects which involve 50 or 75 lawyers at the very onset, but it is a fact that they have the capacity (read, manpower as well as finance) to scale up their operations almost overnight if the project so demands. To test the power of the vendor to scale up, the off-shore buyer looks into the financial capacities of the vendor, its investors and the board.

Though it might prove to be immensely expensive for small LPOs, but having a manager on board with a US or a UK law degree can prove to be immensely beneficial. The presence of such a person would hold out to the world at large that the vendor’s management team has direct knowledge of the foreign legal system.

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