Business of Law

Are NY Law Firms Outsourcing Legal Work to India? One Admits It, One Denies It


Hughes Hubbard & Reed won’t do it. Kelley Drye & Warren will, but in limited circumstances.

The question is whether New York law firms are outsourcing legal work to India. Hughes Hubbard partner Kenneth Lefkowitz told the New York Times City Room blog that his firm doesn’t outsource legal work to India. “I think it’s too risky,” he told the Times.

“I don’t see how the real New York law firms would ever do that,” Lefkowitz added. “It’s not that we’re snobs. It’s because we couldn’t trust it. The reason clients pay us what they pay us is because they know we’re 100 percent quality control.”

But Kelley Drye partner Talat Ansari told the newspaper his firm sends some legal matters to India, although it is only basic work. An example: The firm hires lawyers in India to review e-mails to find relevant documents for discovery. “We have comparatively very competent lawyers who speak English there and have gone through rigorous law school training,” he said. And the rates are cheaper, although that could change in the future.

Top law firms are apparently reluctant to admit whether they are outsourcing, according to a survey released in July by the international legal outsourcing firm Fronterion. Twenty-five of the 30 responding law firms declined to participate in the survey. Four said they didn’t use outsourcing and one said it did to some extent.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “From New York to New Delhi: US Lawyers Look for Work in India’s Legal Outsourcing Companies”

ABAJournal.com: “Outsourcing Firms Hiring as More Complex Legal Work Goes to India”

ABA Journal: “Moving to Mumbai”

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