Indian Lawyers Handling Outsourced Work Do More Than Document Review
Posted May 12, 2008 6:03 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The market for outsourced legal work is booming in India. While lawyers there are doing a lot of routine work, they are also handling some interesting legal matters, including work for the makers of movies and television shows.
The legal outsourcing industry has grown by about 60 percent a year in the last three years, the Washington Post writes. A lot of the work is going to India, boosted by e-discovery rules that produce thousands of pages of documents in lawsuits that require a careful—and potentially expensive—review, ABAJournal.com noted last month.
While Indian lawyers handle a lot of document review, they also do legal research and draft contracts, said Russell Smith of the Indian outsourcing company SDD Global Solutions. Indian lawyers even did legal work on Borat and drafted a motion for HBO's Da Ali G Show seeking the dismissal of a libel suit against the show’s producers, Smith said.
"My people in India can do everything from here, except sign the opinion letter and appear in an American court," Smith told the Post. Because of the low cost, the producers of Da Ali G Show opted to fight the lawsuit rather than settle, he said.
Kunoor Chopra of outsourcing firm LawScribe said his lawyers in India receive training in contract writing, review and research. They also get some writing instruction to help them change their writing style. "They write in flowery, British-style English," Chopra told the Post. "It is almost like an unlearning process. They have to be retrained to write in crisp, short sentences."
Srinivas Pingali, executive vice president at the legal outsourcing company Quatrro, said his firm is prospering despite the economic downturn in the United States. New work relating to bankruptcies is now providing new opportunities for Indian lawyers, he told the newspaper.
Indian lawyers may be happy to get U.S. legal business, but the bar there is not as amenable to U.S. law firms opening in the country. A 1961 rule bars foreign firms from practicing in India. Three foreign law firms, including the U.S. firms Chadbourne & Parke and White & Case, opened offices in the country and are challenging the rule, Legal Blog Watch notes. India's High Court heard final submissions in the case last month, the Economist reports.
ABAJournal.com: "Hollywood Outsourcing Higher-End Legal Work to India"