BusinessWeek has a fascinating report on DuPont’s move to outsource millions of legal documents and services to an offshoring company called OfficeTiger. If it works, DuPont could cut its legal expenses in half, cut processing time by three months and digitize millions of old, paper-based records. The only thing standing in the way of success, reports BW, are the obvious language and cultural subtleties.
Legal services can be outsourced because they are still incredibly paper-based, says BW. So, while DuPont will still maintain a team of high-level attorneys in its Delaware headquarters, it can wipe out dozens of lower-level legal beagles if OfficeTiger comes through.
So, is PR next? Will clients soon be counting on low-cost Filipino, Pakistani and Indian publicists to pitch The Wall Street Journal any time soon? Highly unlikely. For one thing, clients like to have industry-specific agency partners (and, there can’t be too many Asian-based industry specialists who understand U.S. verticals). For another, clients like to have their agencies within arm’s length (not on the other side of the world). For another, the subtlety and sophistication needed to quickly understand a client’s business, the pain points keeping the client’s customers up at night and the client’s unique solution to that pain demands senior-level thinkers. As does the ability to translate the "problem-solution" into a quick, compelling media pitch.
So, while I’m intrigued by DuPont’s legal outsourcing model (and think it bodes ill for law firms everywhere), I’m not going to lose any sleep worrying that they’ll turn to PR next.