Software giant Microsoft will begin outsourcing general legal work to India after signing a deal with legal process outsourcing (LPO) company CPA Global. The news comes as CPA outlined plans to expand its Indian workforce from 600 to 1,000 by the end of 2011, and hinted at opening another outsourcing centre.

CPA said that it will be taking on ‘multi-jurisdictional legal research’ for Microsoft, but could not give further details, citing client confidentiality. Microsoft has outsourced intellectual property (IP) work to CPA since 2005, although no lawyers work on the IP team.

In June last year, Rio Tinto announced an outsourcing deal with CPA which the mining giant forecast would cut 20% from its annual legal spend. CPA lawyers review and draft contracts, undertake legal research and review documents on behalf of Rio Tinto. Leah Cooper, former managing attorney at Rio Tinto, joined CPA Global’s executive team this week. She will lead the strategy and development of CPA Global’s legal services outsourcing business.

CPA spokesman Venu Nair said that the south Indian cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai are being considered as locations for a new CPA office.

See next week’s Gazette for a view inside an Indian legal outsourcing centre.