SLAW Article Tackles Outsourcing In The Legal Publishing Industry

Gary P. Rodrigues writing for SLAW has published an article worth reading. It’s entitled..Outsourcing in legal publishing – anything (and possibly everything) goes

In the piece he provides an on the ball synopsis of the changes currently underway at the big database publishers as they scrabble to save costs .. and as he suggests they are all hoping that outsourcing is the magic bullet.

He writes:


Market conditions are now in the process of forcing a change in how legal information is produced for delivery online. A combination of increasingly intense competition in the market for online information combined with the downturn in the economy has forced the major commercial legal publishers to explore ways to significantly reduce their costs. They need to ensure that their profit margins are maintained at the same time as the commercial value of their primary law databases is declining.

The first big change underway is the scale of the outsourcing. The second is the movement of outsourcing off shore, not only to the United States, but also to India and other Southeast Asian countries. At this point, outsourcing by the major commercial publishers includes everything from housing databases on “global platforms” to the actual building and updating of legal databases. Following the current trend line, it will be just a matter of time before they are processing of all primary data and creating their value added content off shore.

Rodrigues sounds a note of caution though and says


There is a threat to the publishing company in excessive outsourcing. The dismantling of the publishing team and the loss of the institutional memory of the publishing company that accompanies outsourcing means the loss of the elements required to continue to be competitive in the publishing game. Successful legal publishing houses have traditionally been led by and operated with a strong team of in house lawyers that direct the publishing program and take it in new directions as circumstances require. It remains to be seen what happens when legal publishing companies are run by persons untrained in and largely unfamiliar with either the law or with legal publishing, who have outsourced the core business and the expertise with it.

Read the full article at: