Afro Leo has been promoting RSA as an IP outsourcing destination and this evening returns from a short trip to Europe where he visited a beauty packaging business in Paris for whom two firms in RSA do patent outsourcing work, and then addressed an audience at RSA High Commission in London on outsourcing IP services. The feedback he received was very encouraging. The Paris based business, lead by IP advisor Anca Condrea, enjoyed cost effective services and was impressed by the quality of work, whilst over 55 people RSVPed for the London event representing the who's who of the top 40 London law firms.
Opportunities exist for the big four law firms in RSA who are able to offer the highest economies of scale in a safe and reliable environment. However, boutique firms offering a bespoke skilled service are also well placed to take advantage of the recessionary pressure on law firms to look for creative ways of cutting costs (which may be more than 50% of their current spending). But there is some way to go.
In 2010 the recession is expected to ease and that means less pressure on firms. In addition those who have been laid off are offering cost effective services to their previous employers from their homes or are otherwise happy to accept a lower pay. Firms in RSA concerned about upsetting reciprocity relationships are also not keen to be visibly taking advantage of the opportunities, notwithstanding that outsourced services are capable of enhancing an overseas law firm's offering to its own clients. Perhaps the biggest driving factor though will be how the legal market reacts to Baker and Mckenzie and Clifford Chance's outsourcing moves. As explained to me by one management consultant "law firms will need to react". Afro Leo will be monitoring just how.