‘Big Brother’ style outsourcing a 'game-changer'

Peter Godfrey
by |
An early adopter of legal process outsourcing believes that demand for a new kind of outsourcing model is on the increase as firms explore ways of becoming more cost-effective.

Robert Hynes, managing director of Queensland firm Hynes Legal, says that a more sophisticated and more hands-on type of offshoring work is allowing firms to vastly reduce costs and provide better value services locally.

“The last four to six month have seen a noticeable upturn in the kind of work,” Hynes told Australasian Lawyer.

Hynes described the new immersive model as a ‘game-changer,’ adding that demand for it had reached a tipping-point. 

“It’s a combination of various factors such as firms moving to cloud-based systems, shifting to paperless offices and allowing staff to work from home.  They’re the big enablers,” Hynes said. 

Hynes explained, that unlike the traditional approach to legal process outsourcing that would involve paying a third-party firm to complete work such as transcribing on an hourly basis, the newer model is based around direct involvement.

Firms can now directly engage with staff in countries such as the Philippines, going so far as having a constant live video link with the overseas offices.

“It may sound a lot like Big Brother, but it’s more like sitting directly besides them in a real office,” Hynes said.    

Hynes Legal employs a journalist, a search engine expert, a typist, a graphic designer and an accountant in the Philippines, and communicates with them multiple times a day via video link.

“The arrangement is ideal because we’re not actually replacing any staff in Australia.  This kind of offshoring is simply giving us a very cost effective way of expanding our business,” Hynes said. 

Hynes began outsourcing work to the Philippines five years ago and says the process had a steep learning curve.

“It was a lot more difficult than you’d think.  I was probably a bit naïve, but in terms of the regulatory environment, to how incorporated companies work, through to tax law and employment arrangements there was a lot to learn,” Hynes said

“We fumbled our way through the first few years.  Cultural issues in particular were a big thing we needed to learn about.”

According to Hynes the savings for his firm were substantial – the firm was able to reduce its costs by 75%.   

Do you think this new model is a 'game-changer'?  What other strategies can firms use to reduce their costs?  Tell us your thoughts below.  
  • Greg on 4/04/2014 12:29:21 PM

    I agree with Kate, Australians are effectively being bypassed for the work. How about outsourcing of the lawyer's work as well? I bet the (former) clients would save 75% on the professional fees as well.

  • Rudi on 4/04/2014 12:08:04 PM

    Sadly the consumer (read client) should not be paying a loading for work that is done in Australia by Australians. Legal knowledge is not a strategic resource. Clients will always pay a higher rate for valuable advice.

  • Kate on 4/04/2014 11:10:43 AM

    They may not be "replacing" any Australian staff, but they're also not employing any more.

  • Adam Akbulut on 4/04/2014 10:39:07 AM

    I'm a sole practitioner with one employed law clerk. I've been working from home for the past year. It has been one of my most enjoyable and productive years yet. I also use the following outsourcing services

    1- Virtual telephone receptionist, answering service at $95.00 to $180.00 per month depending on volume

    2- time sheet entries/dictation transcription from a Philippines based staff at $5.00 per hour.

    The trade off for cheaper services is quality and turn around time, which is not the same as standing next to a secretary and breathing down her throat to get work out. It's also impossible to train your staff by working from home. I find I still need an office space where I can work closely with my staff to formulate the week's work.

    I will be tweaking this model to work more efficiently as I grow bigger, including the continued transition to cloud.

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