Outsourcing the Law to India

June 17, 2011
Jessica DuLong profile photo
Jessica DuLong

Check out Brandi Moore’s op-ed “Outsourcing the Law to India” from “Need to Know” on PBS.

She begins:

Memo to this year’s graduating law students: Your first job is already gone — to India.

The law firms of America, and their clients, have quietly decided that the work a first-year associate typically performs — such as document review, research and contract drafting — can be done more cheaply. And the cheaper team lives in India.

… and continues:

When the American Bar Association surveyed its membership last fall about the use of Indian outsourcers, 83 percent refused to answer. Instead, they offered evasive responses: “That is something that I don’t think we’ll be discussing” and “I don’t think that is something that we can comment on.”

Law firms aren’t talking, but Forrester Research estimates by 2015, legal process outsourcing in India will grow to $4 billion. What is most important about Forrester’s numbers is that they predict a shift in belief from rejecting the idea that legal work can be done in India, to relying on it. This started during the recession.

How interesting that law firms seem reticent to admit to this practice. I wonder why.

I also wonder if perhaps the REAL costs involved with offshoring will garner more attention now that “blue-collar work” is no longer the only kind being outsourced. Will the fact that the “professional classes” are suffering job losses too change the game?