On the ParalegalProfs blog, a report on law firms that outsource work to India:
As outsourcing becomes more commonplace and corporate counsel and law firms are under increasing pressure to reduce costs for clients, law firms such as Baker & McKenzie; Greenberg Traurig; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; and Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler are actually touting at conferences the benefits of outsourcing.
But despite projections that outsourcing legal work to India will be a $4 billion industry by 2015, the work is still controversial, and law firms and companies are still wrestling with such concerns as how to maintain quality control, keep client information confidential, supervise lawyers oceans away and weather new difficulties presented by recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Law firms began offshoring legal work to India and the Philippines about five years ago. “Legal Process Outsourcing” firms provide document review, legal research and writing, drafting of pleadings and briefs and patent services.
Outsourcing got a further boost from recent favorable bar ethics opinions, from the San Diego Bar Association in 2007, the Florida Bar in January 2008, the North Carolina State Bar in April 2008 and the American Bar Association in August 2008. All stated that outsourcing is allowed, provided certain requirements are met, including that the client is notified and the foreign lawyers are supervised by US lawyers.
“We’re hearing from our clients that, ‘We don’t know what we’re getting’ with an LPO,” said Robert Ruyak, managing partner and chief executive officer of [Washington DC’s] Howrey [LLP]. “They don’t have the same accountability and flexibility. Too many mistakes and errors can occur. We can’t train these people or supervise them. So we’d rather hire our own people and put them through a rigorous training process … and, if they don’t do well, we’d terminate them.”