When outsourcing became the newest buzzword, everyone jumped on board including lawyers and law makers. LPO (Legal Process Outsourcing – also called LSO or Legal Services Outsourcing) is an emerging phenomenon and India has seen great expansion in the industry. Pangea3 is one such business that provides quality and cost-effective legal outsourcing solutions to Fortune 500 corporations and Am Law 200 law firms in the U.S.
Founded by David Perla and Sanjay Kamlani in 2004, Pangea3, which is headquartered in New York, outsources its legal services entirely to its India-based offices in Mumbai and Delhi. Intellectual Property (IP) as well as routine work like legal research, due diligence and document review is being done at Pangea3’s India offices at roughly half the cost as in the U.S, thereby offering their clients a substantial trim in legal hire charges. “Outsourcing legal paper work to us has seen our clients cut down their legal costs anywhere from 50 to 90 per cent,” opines Sanjay Kamlani, co-founder and chief executive of Pangea3. Pangea3 helps companies and law firms in the U.S. and U.K minimise business risks and reduce their legal costs. The company delivers quality LPO services using lawyers, engineers and technologists based out of India. Pangea3 has been credited as being the best Indian LPO provider by the Indian Business law journal, 2009.
Seeing the evidence
When Kamlani came to Mumbai to do the initial spade work, his first challenge was in recruiting talented lawyers for the business, as they were still unconvinced of LPO services. The fact that the job did not involve the routine client representation at courts did work as an impediment. “We did our preliminary recruiting process by interviewing nearly 200 lawyers both fresh talent and experienced lawyers and explained our business model to clear all doubts on the viability of an LPO,” says Kamlani. The firm recruited a group of 30 of the best brains from its resource pool and set sail from their Mumbai office in 2005.
At the other end of the spectrum Pangea3 had to convince and sell a new outsourcing concept to its U.S. clients, and the advantages LPO offered. The cost factor involved in LPO was a huge benefit as outsourcing legal paperwork to Indian lawyers was less than half the fees paid in the U.S. and Pangea3 promised efficient service delivery without compromise on competence. Pangea3 improves on the quality and efficiency of legal work done in U.S by incorporating process expertise with the best legal talent. “Although many U.S. law firms did have branches in developing countries, selling an LPO concept was evangelical mission of sorts, as it needed some convincing on the talent resource and optimum job delivery,” adds Kamlani. In the light of a weak economy and general lull in growth, the U.S. firms found it prudent to cut legal costs and Pangea3 gives its clients alternative ways to be more efficient by providing of corporate governance, contract compliance, mergers and acquisitions due diligence and risk management services. Pangea3 services almost 200 multinational law firms in the U.S. and U.K.
Along with LPO came questions on confidentiality issues. Explains Kamlani, “LPO was a trend that started much after other services were outsourced. And processes were already in place to keep information secure and confidential.”
“Although many U.S. law firms did have branches in developing countries, selling an LPO concept was evangelical mission of sorts, as it needed some convincing on the talent resource and optimum job delivery,” says Sanjay Kamlani.
The firm also stresses on the lawyer’s ability to draft a sound legal document rather than just having in-depth knowledge and compliance of global law. Pangea3 routinely trains its lawyers and IP professionals in detecting loopholes in documents and delivering foolproof contracts to their clients. Pangea3 today, employs more 350 able lawyers and professionals in their offices in Mumbai and Delhi. “It is not only about a lawyer’s knowledge about specific laws and updates, we train our lawyers on expert legal skills and their ability to draft a good contract and the skill to detect fraud,” says Kamlani while explaining the unique selling proposition of Pangea3.
Verticals and growth
In 2005, when setting up, Pangea3 was being privately funded, but in 2006 Glenrock Group invested U.S.$ 4 million that helped Pangea3 leverage its business options in Mumbai. In 2007, the company sought funding to expand its business verticals in India and Sequoia Capital invested U.S $ 7 million. In July 2007, the LPO expanded its Mumbai operations to a 16,000 square foot-facility in Andheri, Mumbai that boasts of a state-of-the-art facility, which would contain segregated and dedicated document review facilities. The company had set up a satellite facility in Delhi in 2008 that moved to a 165-seat state-of-the-art facility with plans to double its employee capacity in the next six months.
Pangea3 is well on target to doubling its revenue and size in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The company refrains from setting specific future plans and weighs its verticals with every new opportunity in the LPO segment. “As and when we identify a growth opportunity that adds as strategic benefit to the company, we will look for funding from our equity partners,” he concludes.