E-Discovery Rule Changes Boost Legal Outsourcing to India

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Changes to federal rules governing the discovery of electronic documents have boosted legal outsourcing to India.

E-discovery is producing thousands of pages of documents in lawsuits that require a careful—and potentially expensive—review, Time Magazine reports. The cost of document review by lawyers is only about $1 a page in India but as high as $7 to $10 per page in the United States, the story says.

John Blenke, the general counsel for TransUnion in Chicago, told Time that lawyers in India are currently reviewing more than a million litigation e-mails for the company at a cost of less than $10 an hour. Here he would pay $60 to $85 an hour for the service.

DuPont also outsources document review, its chief litigation counsel Thomas Sager told Time. He said the company saved $500,000 in 2006 by outsourcing legal work to a Chicago company that used lawyers in India and the Philippines to review documents.

Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 2006 recognized that electronic information must be treated on equal footing with paper documents, the ABA Journal reported in its February 2007 article, “E-Discovery Gets Real.”

The rule changes create an obligation for attorneys to assess how digital information is stored, how it can be produced, and what kind of electronic evidence is relevant to a case.

An ABA Journal freelance reporter visited the Mumbai offices of a law firm that performs outsourced legal work and reported on what she learned in “Manhattan Work at Mumbai Prices,” published in October 2007. The author of that piece has firsthand experience with document review. She reported on her temporary job as an “attorney at blah” in a different article for another publication.

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