Outsourcing to India makes no sense
By: Joel Irving
Why bypass the fact that there are highly qualified paralegals who would be more than willing to set up shop at home as independent contractors, performing such duties as: contract reviews, document review for due diligence, patent drafting, simple filings and legal research? All of these tasks can be done for the same or less than what is being paid to lawyers in India. (See, Wise Law Blog) What do you think? Isn't it about time that U.S. law firms woke up and smelled the coffee? Outsourcing hurts our economy and causes the unnecessary elimination of U.S. jobs.
Joel, I'm in complete agreement. It's an extremely disturbing trend, and attorneys and firms should be utilizing resources closer to home, such as freelance paralegals who are trained in the laws of that particular jurisdiction.ReplyDelete
Aren't any of them worried about the security of their data? Client confidentiality? Providing quality legal services?
It's even more disturbing that the ABA approves of outsourcing.
Dear Joel and Christine:ReplyDelete
I am in agreement that this is a trend that American paralegals should be concerned about.
I have not yet made a judgment about it, because it is very complex and I am trying to learn more.
I will share with you the impressions that I have received so far.
One concern that law firms might have is that many freelance paralegals are essentially solos, whereas the outsource organizations in India and the Philippines are -- at least to my perception -- fully-developed organizations, staffed, at least in India, mostly by lawyers.
With large document productions, I suspect that the inclination of law firms who outsource might be towards a lower-cost organization that can "manage" the sheer volume of production.
Is there any data or published interviews with law firms that do outsource that might provide information on this point?
Have U.S. freelance paralegals thought of forming networks that could compete with the outsourcing groups in India and the Philippines? That would be one positive response.
I read the discussions of the Indian outsouring entrepreneurs on Linkedin.com -- they are very courteous, quite entrepreneurial and appear concerned with providing any safeguards that U.S. firms might ask.
So far, I have not heard of any huge ethics lapses or client confidentiality breaches among the Indian LPOs (legal process outsourcing).
Now that does not mean that such lapses might not occur someday.
I read that Howrey & Simon established their own outsourcing office in India -- if I understood the article correctly, they sent U.S. Howrey & Simon lawyers to supervise non-lawyer Indian employees.
Howrey & Simon was not comfortable with an outsourcing solution in which their Indian counterparts assumed all control at their end, apparently because of the confidentiality factors Christine Parizo mentioned.
And it is not just legal work -- it is part of a general trend for work to be sent out of the U.S. in several fields to India and probably to other countries as well.
I don't have any answers to these trends one way or the other, so I am just learning as much as I can.
Robin Elizabeth Margolis
Director, E-Discovery Paralegals Network
One more thing --
In my online observations of the Indians who run the LPOs (legal process outsourcing) --
The LPOs exist, as far as I can tell, because Indian has produced too many lawyers and other paralegal type people for its court system to absorb.
The people running the Indian LPOs -- business M.B.A.s and lawyers, as far as I can tell, plus techies -- have attitudes closer to those of freelance paralegals and freelance attorneys than to those of lawyers in established law firms.
While their organizations may eventually develop into established corporations, they have a flexibility and relentless marketing outlook typical of paralegal freelancers.
Perhaps American freelance paralegals could form alliances with the Indian LPOs?
American freelance paralegals do have the advantages of knowing the courts rules and the "territory" better than any overseas entrepreneur.
I know these ideas may seem hopelessly naive or misguided, but I am just putting them out for discussion.
Robin Elizabeth Margolis
I have to agree that outsourcing is a horrible trend. There are competent resources here at home.ReplyDelete
Hello, all! Just came across your site, quite by accident.ReplyDelete
I'm a former NY paralegal, now retired and living elsewhere.
I totally agree about outsourcing, but am writing on a different subject, one which has always interested - and offended - me: UPL.
I serve presently as a director of an organization concerned with unlawful guardianships, on a national basis.
If you're not familiar with guardianship, or guardianship as presently practiced, check out our website - www.STOPG\GuardianAbuse.org -
and for particulars on NYS -
One of our members in Florida is precluded from filing pro se by a Florida Probate Rule which states that the Guardian of a ward must be represented by counsel.
I wrote to a number of members of the Rules Committee, seeking a rationale, and had not a single response.
The rule is clearly void on its face, and is apparently UPL-based.
As we grow, we are hoping to include independent paralegals as affiliate members, or staff, when we achieve nonprofit status.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
I think as India gets more and more organized with IT companies with compatible infrastructure mushrooming all around us, India’s future in the offshore outsourcing industry will become more towering than its competitors in the coming years.ReplyDelete
Legal process outsourcing(LPO)