Saturday, January 10, 2009

What do I need to join an LPO?

A visit last week, to the courts at Pune convinced me that there are dozens of lawyers out there, longing for a career change. As one of my previous posts mentioned, court corridors in India are not everyone's cup of tea . (Most law students have terrified, glazed expressions after the mandatory college court-visit.) Old lawyer friends, some with 15 and 20 years of experience in law, fledgling lawyers, gathered around wanting some inputs about legal process outsourcing. It's not possible to give impromptu lectures on outsourcing and I said so. The matter might have ended there, had not several telephone calls from lawyers I have never heard of convinced me that I must do something. I have decided therefore, to use this site to 'educate' people about how to go about building a career in outsourcing. This post addresses a couple of the very basic questions asked by some of them:

What special training do I need for getting into an LPO?- No special training is required. Your law degree ( the higher the degree and more the diplomas to your credit, the better,) and a basic knowledge of computers is essential. Some LPOs even function with a staff of mainly computer professionals with a few legal professionals thrown in. But let's not go into that. Essential also, is a good command over the English language.

This unfortunately, is what is most lacking in Indian lawyers. They know to read and write English but spoken English needs serious improvement. I suggest spoken English classes (e-mail me for details) and a continuous practice at reading, writing and speaking in English.

In a previous post, I have spoken about the Global Legal Professional Certification Test and provided the link. Look it up. To my knowledge no LPOs in Pune demand this test, but it would be good to have this under your belt, just to get an edge over the competition.

Generally, what most outsourcing firms look for while recruiting is a candidate with a degree in law, a basic knowledge of computers and a good command over English. If you have specializations in subjects like patents, taxation or cyber law etc. that would definitely be an added asset.

What sort of work would I get to do in an LPO?- This too is discussed in a previous post. At present it is mostly mundane, form-filling work that is available. Some of the older LPOs do have document review work and coding. While the work of filling in forms, (summons, warrants, bankruptcy forms), is easy and anyone can do it, it can get very monotonous.

Document review is more interesting. For this, you will need to be able to read a document, (here is why you need good English), and identify whether the document is relevant or not. Relevancy would be explained to you in the training provided by the Project Director before you begin the project. Your success at this job on how good you are at interpreting the language in a document. A little experience in the legal field, in reading legal documents, court depositions and the like is necessary. You need to have at least looked at a few patents, licenses, sale deeds, mortage documents and similar documents, so you know what you are looking at.

Coding also requires similar skills. Most professionals get adept at document review and coding work once they are through a project or two. So, unless you scraped through your law examinations you should be able to do both document review and coding work, provided of course, as I said you have a couple of years' experience in the legal field.

What about freshers? Many LPOs employ freshers for their coding jobs. Some coding jobs only require data entry type of operations, filling in dates, tagging documents which contain 'relevant' words or communications, which can easily be done by anyone with some knowledge of law and computers. Again a good command over English is essential.

There are other types of work done in LPOs, which will be discussed in my next post. Also discussed would be - what I would look for if I were recruiting a candidate. Wait for it. Until then practice your English.


satish ahire said...

I want to make my carrearin LPO because my life style should be high profile. Today i work as an Advocate but not satisfied either economically or mentally.there is very hard to earn money quickly in comparision to other field.i also want to improve my qualities.

Om Namay Shivay said...

Quite an informative posts...great work Rosemary!
On a separate note, my nicest feeling to stumble with you in the cyber world....:-)

Avish here....