BusinessCareersGlobalizationOutsourcing

Outsourcing the Legal Research

OK, guys here we are talking of jobs that are creme-de-la-creme in the US!! Lawyers are well paid and part of their job is to do good research. So, is the future of US law grads to be in just doing litigation in courts? Thinking of it.. what stops an Indian law grad to even advise the US clients – if he has passed the CA bar exam? He surely can over the internet!! Important Story!

High-end legal services are likely to lead the next wave of offshoring with about 35,000 lawyers’ jobs likely to move from US to countries like India by 2010.

In its latest study, prepared in July, Nasscom says that MNCs, international law firms, publishing and legal research firms are now increasingly sourcing specialised legal services from India. This is a substantial shift from the existing outsourcing assignments such as credit cards and online technical support.

Forrester Inc has found that at least 12,000 legal jobs have been outsourced from US to offshore locations till 2004. The firm projected that of the 35,000 US lawyer jobs expected to be shipped out, 60 to 70% could be headed India’s way. By 2015, the total number of outsourced jobs from the US could touch 79,000.

“Reports indicate that billing by Indian lawyers to US firms for in-house work alone ranged from $5 million to $15 million in 2004,”says Sunil Mehta, V-P, Nasscom. He says, about 700 employees are estimated to be engaged in providing legal BPO services from India.

The global spending on legal services is estimated to be at least $250 billion and Nasscom says that the future looks brighter. “For a country which churns out close to three lakh law graduates every year, and job market still largely supply-driven, this certainly is good news,”says Amit Bhagat, legal consultant, Ernst & Young.

“We are especially happy with the quality of jobs being outsourced to us,”says Shailesh Vikram Singh of Indianlegal.net. All the staff engaged at Singh’s firm are lawyers who are “executing assignments involving high-end legal research.”

Foreign law firms like Eversheds, Baker & McKenzie are affiliated with Indian firms working as third party service providers. New Jersey law firm Sills, Cummins, Epstein & Gross are considering outsourcing to India the coding and organising documents for major litigation cases.

Louisville-based Stites & Harbison has outsourced legal research and pieces of M&A transaction to India and is currently considering forming an alliance with outsourcing vendors. Three other US firms, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Chad-bourne & Park and White & Case, are talking to Indian BPOs to offshore some of their back-office functions to India.

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Desh Kapoor

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