Apparently, not all lawyers in India are crazy about the outsourcing trend heating up in India and other lower-cost developing nations. According to Merinews, written from India, Legal Process Outsourcing is the latest and hottest trend. Big corporations are reaping the benefits. New job opportunities are being created. LPOs (Legal Process Outsourcing) seem to have a bright future in India in the coming years.
Major corporations benefit from having work done at a quarter of the price, while the developing countries benefit from the huge influx of income and job creation. The latest industry to join the outsourcing rat race is the legal sector. Legal outsourcing has already created 12,000 job opportunities in India alone and this figure is expected to rise to as many as 79,000 by 2015.
But the response from young Indian lawyers seems to be less than positive. Ramneek Sidhu, from Delhi Law School says, “After investing three years in law school, I don’t want to be caught dead working as a clerk in an LPO.”
Nishita too agrees with this view and further adds, “A lawyer in an LPO is definitely earning good money but at the same time is not justifying his/her profession. There is no direct litigation involved which is the essence of being a lawyer.”
Brij, a young attorney working with an LPO feels quite differently to both Ramneek and Nishita. He believes that he is making a sound progress in his career graph by working with an LPO. He says, “Many lawyers nowadays, whether in India, the US or the UK rarely see the inside of a court room. Working within an LPO and not a law firm allows me to keep in sync with the latest developments in US law. The legal thought process that any young attorney must develop over time comes from studying, reading and writing legal briefs and memoranda. I hope that I demonstrate my passion and emotion for law in the arguments I raise in the legal motions and documents I prepare. "
Mark Ross from the outsourcing group Lawcribe, is quoted as saying, "we are only in the nascent stages of this exciting and emerging industry. He says, “In the course of the next two to three years, a vast number of qualified Indian attorneys will be working within the industry. I believe the Indian government and the Bar Association will be left with no alternative other than to formally open up the market to foreign law firms and allow Indian attorneys to practice US and UK law from within India’s borders."
From attorneys to paralegals, outsourcing is weathering opposition, controversy and still some success. Lawscribe, a recent sponsor to one of our Paralegal SuperConferences addressed the audience on how clients and law firms will save money by outsourcing attorney and paralegal functions to India. Unfortunately, the message the audience chose to hear was "The client will save money and the firm will make more. Unfortunately, you will lose your job." Needless to say, Lawscribe was not a big hit on the Paralegal circuit.
While the company was upset by the response of the audience, they say someone should have told them the audience would not be receptive. My response was that they should have done their homework and chose another way to deliver the message. I offered to help but they refused. My opinion was that the approach they should have taken was to teach attorneys and paralegals how to outsource and at the same time bring up their own position another rung on the ladder by absorbing more sophisticated and diversified assignments. It's the only way that outsourcing will work.
This is not the first time outsourcing has reared its head. Years ago, litigation support companies such as Quorum Litigation, outsourced coding to the Philippines. This is not a new concept. Fear ran amok attorneys and paralegals then. But what happened was, clients saved money, firms made more and paralegals and attorneys dropped the lowest common tasks to the lowest competent level. Rarely now, do you see paralegals coding.
It will be interesting to see if outsourcing to India takes off as predicted or flak from both countries prevents it from succeeding.