Nearshore Americas

Notice to Latam Providers: Are You Taking Advantage of the Tidal Wave of Legal Outsourcing Opportunities?

Years of new compliance requirements that force US companies to maintain strict standards around retention of corporate documents is creating a massive opportunity for legal outsourcing. The question is: Are Latin America outsourcing providers prepared to tackle this emerging  market?

India continues to lead the world as a legal sourcing destination, but the Philippines and South Africa are coming on strong. Part of the appeal with South Africa is the time zone suitability with UK companies who also have their hands full with regulations like Basel II. There is no question corporate legal teams would just love to be able to collaborate in real time with legal experts in the Western Hemisphere, but at the moment the Nearshore region has not made legal outsourcing a priority.

The practice of legal outsourcing is estimated to be a $2 billion market. According to this ComputerWorld article, offshore legal professionals charge hourly rates of about half of the $600 per hour a US legal expert might charge. The other symptom of the burdensome legal workload at US companies is that some key functions are being off-loaded to IT staffs who frequently don’t have the legal understanding of the core issues around E-discovery. Macro-level changes in the legal profession are also happening at a quicker pace, and 2010 is seen as a “watershed” year in the profession.

All of this adds up to a simple question: Are Latam providers seeing this opportunity? If I had to pick, I would say Panama may be one of the best poised nations to meet the need. The legal system in Panama closely resembles that of the US and the steady rise of its professional working class could be a key underpinning of a new services industry. Clearly, Chile with its robust KPO offerings has to be one of the stronger candidates in the region.

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What other countries have these capabilities, and for those IT providers in the audience, is your firm poised to expand into this niche? Share your thoughts, or send me an email:

Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.


  • Hi Kirk,

    I do share your feelings about this being a huge opportunity for outsourcing companies in the region. As I have read in your previous blog entries the IT outsourcing sector in Costa Rica is getting a little overcrowded and the country is loosing some of its low cost attractive.

    As this trends continues in Costa Rica I think it is important that we (the ticos) stress the importance of exploiting these other areas. There many popular stories in the streets of how doctors and lawyers here end up being taxi drivers. I find that companies such as Boston Scientific are doing just that. Another example is the company that I work for: They moved a senior citizen care giver talent search group from India to Costa Rica with great results. HR employees in Costa Rica are quite abundant still and the firm had little trouble in finding qualified bilingual head hunters.

    I see huge potential for the legal area but I know very little of any firms in Costa Rica or the region that do this kind of work. Do you know of any?

  • Omar, there is no question Costa Rica has done a tremendous job climbing up the value chain and enhancing its position as a knowledge-driven destination. Our team will take a closer look at the legal outsourcing upside for Costa Rica – and whose in a good position to act.