Thomson Reuters Acquires Indian Legal Outsourcing Co. Pangea3

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Legal information giant Thomson Reuters – owner of the storied brand West Publishing – is about to get into the business of providing legal services, according to the company.

Thomson announced Thursday evening that it is acquiring Indian legal process outsourcing company Pangea3 in a deal the Business Standard of India valued at between $35 million and $40 million.

Pangea3 is one of the largest legal outsourcing firms in India, with more than 650 employees and annual revenue in excess of $25 million, according to the Business Standard. A number of venture capitalists have invested in the company, including Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Capital which invested $7 million in 2007.

The company “offers services like patent analytics and patent prosecution services, legal research, business and competitive intelligence services, commercial contracting and licensing services among others,” the article said.

Thomson Reuters already has about 8,400 employees in India, but this would apparently be the first time the company would be providing legal services themselves, rather than just legal information and consulting services to law firms and other legal providers. The move into providing legal services – and, at least in a small way, competing with its own legal information clients – comes at an interesting time, as the United Kingdom readies to allow companies to invest in law firms next year.

The ABA Journal profiled Pangea3 in October 2007. At the time, newly minted lawyers who joined the company earned a mere $7,000, compared to $160,000 first-year lawyers earned at major U.S. law firms.

Earlier this year came reports that some U.S. lawyers, facing a struggling legal economy at home, were joining Indian legal outsourcing companies. The New York Times reported about Christopher Wheeler, a former assistant attorney general for New York state, who now manages a team of 110 Indian lawyers for Pangea3.

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