The Australian Law Students’ Association has called for greater scrutiny of the impacts that Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) may have on the Australian legal market.
LPO typically involves outsourcing of legal tasks, such as document review, legal research, preparing advices, and drafting pleadings and briefs to external support companies.
As many of these tasks have traditionally been completed by law clerks, paralegals and graduate lawyers, ALSA believes that a LPO trend may reduce the number of junior roles available in the legal industry: “as LPO increases there will be fewer opportunities for law students to gain legal work experience and to gain entry into the profession”, the organisation predicted.
“While ALSA is sympathetic to the current market conditions we are also concerned about the widespread effect that this will have on graduating law students”, said ALSA Vice-President (Education) Molly Snaith.
ALSA has released a position paper outlining its concerns about the potential impact LPO will have on both law students’ employment prospects, and their training: “LPO will also have an effect on how law students become prepared for work in the legal industry. Pertinently, with less lower-level tasks for entry level lawyers to develop their skills on, lawyers will need to be prepared for a faster transition to ‘higher-level’ legal work”, the position paper explained, predicting that this may have a flow on effect for legal education.
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