A Guide to Legal & Litigation Support Service Outsourcing

Legal outsourcing

The pandemic caused a wave of disruption throughout the legal system in 2020, and the ricocheting effects are still felt today. Initially, there was a substantial backlog of cases causing court dates to be continually pushed back—in fact, a review at the end of 2021 showed there was a 38% increase in case backlog at the state level.1

However, not all of the effects were inherently negative. For example, the legal system adopted virtual filings, depositions, hearings, and trials with a surprising degree of success.2 Additionally, it forced many firms to address the technology gap that had been growing over the past years.

In 2024, these remote technology trends are going to continue, with a larger emphasis placed on outsourced services, such as legal process outsourcing (LPO).

To that end, let’s break down what LPO is, how it works, and the ways in which it can help you boost efficiency without risking quality.

What is Legal Process Outsourcing?

Legal process outsourcing (LPO) is the process of transferring routine tasks to sources outside your law firm. The goal is to keep your costs low, while simultaneously freeing up your time and attention to focus on the most important, core aspects of your practice.3

Traditionally, firms would transfer these legal tasks to other professionals, such as attorneys for hire. However, automated technologies and AI tools are quickly improving and are able to handle low-priority tasks (like sending schedule reminders) and assisting with processes during remote depositions.

Is LPO Considered Outsourcing or Offshoring?

Both outsourcing and offshoring are often mentioned together when discussing maximizing profit and minimizing the time and effort you put into routine legal tasks. However, there’s a notable difference between the two.

  • Outsourcing – This involves the delegation of tasks to people or entities outside of your law firm. The actual running of your firm stays in-house, meaning you’re still in control of all branches.
  • Offshoring – This option involves outsourcing entire departments of your firm, like customer service or marketing, to another country. Generally, people rely on this as a way to reduce costs of labor, banking on the notion that out-of-country employees will be more cost effective.

Although both serve as a way to reduce pressure on your firm while reducing costs, outsourcing lets you maintain more control over your legal firm by ensuring higher quality services, while reserving your energy for the aspects of your firm and cases that matter most.

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The Benefits and Drawbacks

As with any service, there are pros and cons to legal or litigation support service outsourcing. Although it may feel like a catch-all, it boils down to your firm’s needs and how you plan to operate it.

Among the benefits, you have:

  • Cost and time savings
  • Increased productivity
  • More effective use of resources
  • Improved access to expert-level knowledge
  • Reduction of the hiring burden

On the other hand, when looking at drawbacks, you may experience:

  • Drops in quality depending on the partners you hire
  • Hidden fees and costs
  • Security concerns
  • Damage to your reputation if your outsourced partners misstep
  • A relinquishing of control

If you can find a strong partner to outsource specific parts of your legal work to, you can avoid most of these worries. 

The Range of Services in Legal Outsourcing

You can find a legal outsourcing service for just about any part of your business—but that doesn’t mean you should outsource without a practical plan in place. Always prioritize what’s best for your unique needs and what will benefit your business the most.

Before you get started, it’s good to understand some of the more popular options for outsourcing legal services.

Lead Generation

As with any self-run business, generating leads and finding new clients is often a challenge. Instead of dedicating a large amount of time to finding your clientele, loop in support from an outside party to help you.

Document Review

Document and contract management and subsequent review require diligence and a meticulous accounting of every page. Instead of handling this process on your own, you can get assistance from another party to process, filter, and analyze case-related documentation. This option is especially helpful to ensure your documents are organized and can be easily recalled later.

Virtual Legal Assistance

Legal research, marketing automation, document management, and scheduling are all tasks that must get done—yet these tasks are rarely aligned with the right skill set and salary. Having a virtual legal assistant can go a long way in giving you back more time that you can dedicate to other, more strategic areas of work, including billable tasks. 

Enhancing Efficiency in Your Legal Practice Through LPO

An increase in productivity is the driving factor that firms see when considering LPO. But just where should you expect to see returns in efficiency?

  • You can spend more time focusing on core legal matters
  • You can outsource to experts who know a subject inside and out
  • You can delegate lower-priority tasks to a team who can focus on it exclusively

By employing the help of others, you ensure that every area of your business is being treated with the utmost time and attention.

Cost-Effective Solutions in Legal Outsourcing

Of course, saving money is another major boon of outsourcing. When you try pouring all of your effort into each and every aspect of work, you’ll undoubtedly fail to master the ideal balance of resource distribution and profit.

To become more cost-effective, consider the following:

  • Use automation and technology where possible and ethical
  • Save on office space by considering remote work or a hybrid work model 
  • Research the best value and compare client references or case studies across multiple partners 

You’ll have some expenses with outsourcing in the form of hiring other parties, but many find that the time and energy investment they provide in return is well worth the upfront effort. 

Keeping Your Outsourcing Ethical

A major concern about outsourcing is the ethics involved. After all, when a client comes to you for a service, they expect you (not an outsourced company or individual) to assist on their matter.

There are ways for you to engage in outsourcing ethically and safely.4 Before hiring anyone for outsourcing work or engaging with clients after outsourcing parts of your process, ensure:

  • That you get informed consent from your client after alerting them to the fact that you outsource parts of your work
  • That outsourced workers sign confidentiality agreements and follow security protocol to keep client information safe
  • That those responsible for conflict checks understand the ethics behind them

Outsourcing shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, but hiding it might be. Discuss your use of outsourcing clearly, make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities, and train all outsourced workers in the ethics you uphold to keep things running smoothly. Ensure that all of the work is reviewed for accuracy to maintain a positive relationship with all clients. 

How to Outsource Effectively

If you want to outsource litigation services, there are ways you can ensure your success and avoid some of the most common pitfalls.5

  • Choose what to outsource carefully – To keep your legal firm operating at its highest quality and lowest costs, you want to think about non-core functions that put the biggest strain on your time and resources and start outsourcing there.
  • Take time to choose a partner – The person or firm you outsource legal work to will be responsible for maintaining your image and reputation, so always do your research. Does your partner have expertise and credentials? A good track record in the legal industry? Positive reviews and strong security? Ask these questions before jumping into a partnership.
  • Define your goals – Setting goals and metrics will let you measure the exact impact that outsourcing has on your firm and can help you decide whether outsourcing certain parts of work is or isn’t effective.
  • Understand your responsibilities – Everyone involved in this partnership needs to understand their role and the responsibilities they hold. Have a plan for clear communication, make sure everyone understands the system you set up, and be open and easy to reach when anyone has questions or concerns.
  • Know all the details – Read the fine print of any contract between you and any potential outsourcing partners. As someone who works in the legal field, you already know this well, but it’s always good to keep it in mind.

With the right strategy in place, you can have a smooth transfer of responsibility and duty management to your new outsourced team.

See related: Medical Records Retrieval Outsourcing

Streamline Your Firm With Strategic Outsourcing

Legal process outsourcing can be a boon to you and your practice. Through it, you can leave non-vital work to an outside party after thoroughly vetting them to ensure that they stack up to your safety and quality standards.

You can outsource litigation services of all kinds, including document and contract management, client outreach, and customer service. At the same time, you get to keep all of the most important services in your hands, leaving control entirely up to you.

You can also outsource other aspects of the litigation lifecycle to a litigation support services partner. For court reporting services, remote depositions, trial services, and more—choose U.S. Legal Support. With decades of experience, we deliver exceptional litigation support services and ensure every partner feels supported with a personalized approach.

Reach out to us today to outsource litigation support the right way.


  1. Thomson Reuters. The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on State & Local Courts Study 2021. https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/content/dam/ewp-m/documents/legal/en/pdf/white-papers/covid-court-report_final.pdf
  2. Knight Nicastro MacKay, LLC. How Backed Up Are The Courts? https://www.knightnicastro.com/blog/2022/10/how-backed-up-are-the-courts/
  3. The National Law Review. Legal Process Outsourcing 101. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/legal-process-outsourcing-101
  4. American Bar Association. 5 tips to avoid ethical landmines when outsourcing law office work. https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/publications/youraba/2018/july-2018/5-tips-to-avoid-ethical-landmines-when-outsourcing-law-office-wo/
  5. Forbes. The Future Of Outsourcing—And How To Outsource The Right Way. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/10/21/the-future-of-outsourcing-and-how-to-outsource-the-right-way/
Julie Feller
Julie Feller
Julie Feller is the Head of Marketing at U.S. Legal Support. Prior to U.S. Legal Support, Julie worked at Abacus Data Systems (now Caret Legal) providing legal technology platforms and services to legal professionals across the country.

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Content published on the U.S. Legal Support blog is reviewed by professionals in the legal and litigation support services field to help ensure accurate information.