Opening Statements

DIY legal websites threaten to outsource Indian lawyers

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First there was the outsourcing of routine legal work by American firms to Indian subcontractors. Now Indian lawyers are getting outsourced by the new trend in their country: DIY legal businesses much like Legal Zoom or Nolo in the U.S.

These Indian businesses include VakilSearch and TM Guru, and they use technology and a back end staffed by lawyers to churn out lease agreements, intellectual property filings and other form-driven documents. For jobs that require the physical presence of a lawyer, the websites are happy to refer users to attorneys.

TM Guru promotes itself as a one-stop solution for intellectual property-rights registration and protection, and it offers registration of trademarks, copyrights, patents and designs in India. Users need only complete a form to start the process, which includes a free trademark search.

VakilSearch’s website is neatly divided into personal and business sides, and it offers consumers services for dealing with such matters as complaints against phone companies, leases, wills and “cheque bounce notices.” Business services include employment contracts, incorporations and shareholder agreements. Much like its American counterparts, VakilSearch requires filling out a box with name, email, phone and a description of the problem to be addressed.

The Indian market for DIY legal services is estimated to be upwards of $1 billion, according to

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