Outsourcing

Key Innovators

Julia Shapiro, Jules Miller, Alec Guettel, and Mark Harris

Others Working on This

Greg Garman, Talitha Gray Kozlowski, and Kristin Tyler


Outsourcing as a practice probably originated sometime in the 1970s as large corporations discovered that they could increase efficiency and profits by focusing on core strengths, hiring outside resources strategically. In other words, if a company’s core strength is developing widgets, they might choose to hire an accounting firm to manage the company’s accounts rather than maintain an internal accounting team.

Outsourcing as the label for this practice of “outside resourcing” emerged in the early 1980s.

Law firms of all sizes commonly outsource the same kinds of things other businesses do, like accounting, IT, reception, and marketing. However, sometime in the early 2000s law firms began outsourcing their legal talent. That is, hiring lawyers temporarily as a way to quickly “scale up” to handle extra work, or to bring on lawyers with expertise outside the firm’s core practice area. This practice has accelerated among small firms as marketplaces or networks like Hire an Esquire, Axiom, and LAWCLERK have made it much easier for law firms and legal departments to quickly add capacity or hire expertise.

Published on January 26th, 2021. Last updated on April 1st, 2021, by Sam Glover.