In addition to the burgeoning LPO industry (which, with the Rio Tinto announcement, seems to have just crossed an important threshold), another threat to business-as-usual for BigLaw might turn out to be so-called “flyover” country.
Just as the legal industry will have to adjust to the growing role of outsourcing, some rural communities in the Midwest are vying for a piece of the legal services industry in the form of “insourcing.” One example: Ord, Nebraska (pop 2,269) which is actively trying to lure young professionals—including lawyers—to town In order to avoid the fate of so many rural communities in the Midwest (“a dearth of young people, a steady population decline, a hollowing of downtown, a flight of the professional and creative classes to the big city”), Ord is trying to turn a recession into an economic opportunity. The basic sales pitch is simplicity itself:
“[I]t's quite expensive to perform, for example, legal services in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, or other urban centers where the big firms cluster. The cost of real estate and the cost of living are many times higher than—to pick an example at random —Ord, Nebraska. What if a lawyer passed the New York bar, moved to Ord, did work remotely for New York City clients, and made as much discretionary income despite charging a third as much for his services. Obviously this wouldn't work for all legal services—court room appearances, most obviously -- but it sure would work for some.”
-posted by brian
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