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Another Indian Perspective on Outsourcing

Via Gerry Riskin, I discovered this fascinating article, Three myths about legal services offshoring (The Hindu, 9/07/07). The article makes some powerful and compelling arguments about why lawyers in India are equally, if not more qualified, to handle outsourced legal tasks.

First, the article tackles the argument that Indian lawyers aren't as well qualified as U.S. lawyers. The article points out that U.S. legal training isn't all it's cracked up to be; most young lawyers do not learn how to draft motions or contracts in American law schools. And most law firms do not provide this training in a systematic manner. By contrast, the article claims that many legal offshoring companies in India do provide this training to Indian lawyers. 

The article also attacks the value of passing the bar, citing professor Harold Subin, who claims that the bar tests nothing relevant and is merely "good PR for the legal profession." Thus, the article makes the point that there is no difference between a lawyer who has passed the bar and one who has not.   

Next, the article takes on another myth -- that the low cost of Indian lawyers equals low quality. The article describes that much of the lower cost of Indian lawyers is attributable to lower cost of living in India; so salaries and space are lower for similarly qualified lawyers.

Finally, the article addresses the ethics issues. It notes that most ethics panels have concluded that unlicensed lawyers may perform legal work so long as they are supervised by a licensed attorney. And the article describes the measures that offshore firms are taking to ensure confidentiality and data security.

When I read articles like this, I wonder why more large firms aren't offshoring to India. 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 7, 2007 at 07:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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