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

A Queensland lawyer says a new way of offshoring work has reduced his firm’s costs by 75%, but could it be viable for other firms?

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.  

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