AH YOU MIGHT WANT TO RECONSIDER THAT $1,000 PER HOUR BILLING RATE OR FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT THE INTERNET IS CHANGING EVERYTHING
Thanks to law.com I stumbled onto the website AMAZING FIRMS, AMAZING PRACTICES www.gerryriskin.com A very recent post at this site concerns the outsourcing of legal services to India. The author of the site offers a link to an article that appeared in THE HINDU NEWS titled: Three Myths About Legal Services Offshoring. The newspaper's reporters "interviewed" Mr. Russell Smith the head of Smith Dornan Global the outsourcing subsidiary of a US law firm.
Although Mr. Smith can hardly be considered an objective source, he offers some persuasive counterpoint to the self serving criticism levelled at the concept of outsourcing.
Think that Indian lawyers are not able to handle complex US legal matters? Well think again Tonto. Citing a recent study by the Harvard Law School and Lexis/Nexis, Smith notes that 75% of US law school graduates admit that they don't have any of the skills necessary to actually practice law. That same study noted that 64% of young lawyers receive no organized OJT. Instead, these new lawyers learn by trial and error- an education paid for by clients.
And what about the notion that you get what you pay for otherwise known as low price equals low quality? What you really get is:
1. fixed costs many many times greater than those in in India
2. work done by people who admittedly lack the necessary legal skills but who are paid over 100K per year.
3. a bill that reflects the inefficiency and dishonesty that is directly linked to the hourly billing system
4. a high level of review by senior lawyers- at a cost of $300-$2000 per hour
(by comparison Indian rates are $25 to $90 an hour for the same review)
And the risk of ethical violations or breaches of confidentiality?
No ethical violation as long as a US lawyer reviews the work. Just like the work of first year associates whose billing rate often exceeds $250 per hour. As for confidentiality- the Indian firms employ hack proof servers and Cisco firewall protection- a much more robust system than the IT systems used by most US law firms.
Not surprisingly Mr. Russell predicts a bright future for the legal services offshoring industry in India. If he is correct this should cause a revolution in the delivery of legal services. Law firms will be forced to confront the "India Price"
Yesterday car parts. Today corporate legal instruments. Bye bye 1K per hour.