By Jeffrey Teso of CPA Global
In today's economy, many companies are
turning to Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) providers because of their ability
to offer fast, efficient legal services at a lower cost.
However there are a number of ethical
considerations that are unique to LPO companies, including risk of disclosure
of confidential information, inadvertent waiver of attorney-client privilege
and client consent requirements.
However, the primary issue has to do with the unauthorized practice of
law, since many of the individuals performing the work at the LPO firm may not
be licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction or may not be
lawyers at all.
Six bar associations, including the ABA
standing committee on ethics and professional responsibility have issued
opinions on this matter. All of them
have concluded that the lawyer may outsource legal work and at the same time
comply with his or her ethical obligations, providing certain conditions are
Collectively, the opinions issued to date
suggest that lawyers may ethically engage with an LPO company to outsource
legal services, provided he or she:
1. Properly supervises the work being
performed by the non-lawyer;
2. Ensures the client's
confidences/secrets are preserved;
3. Avoids conflicts of interest when
4. Bills the clients appropriately for
services performed by non-lawyers;
5. Informs the client of the outsourcing
arrangement when applicable.
Out of all these requirements, the most
important duty is to exercise proper supervision.
The key points are this- the supervision
needs to be direct and meaningful, and the lawyer must perform reasonable due
diligence to ensure the non-lawyer is sufficiently competent to perform the
Teso is Director of Operations
at CPA Global, a leading global
provider of outsourced legal services. Mr. Teso oversees CPA Global's U.S.‐based delivery operations,
and works with clients to help them manage the risks and costs associated with
discovery and document management in connection with complex civil litigations,
regulatory investigations and business transactions. Mr. Teso has over 10
years' experience managing and supervising delivery of multiple litigation and
regulatory matters the complex across various industries.
Teso was a featured speaker on the LexisNexis® Webinar: Bensen & Myers'
Best Practices for Litigation Management: Budgeting Tools, Settlement
Strategies, and Solving Ethical Dilemmas, on May 12, 2011, along with Eric E. Bensen and Rebecca Kelder Myers, co-authors of Bensen &
Myers on Litigation Management.
Lexis.com subscribers can search "Bensen & Myers on
Litigation Management." Non-subscribers can purchase "Bensen & Myers on
Litigation Management" at the LexisNexis Bookstore.
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