Harvard 3Ls visit India…

…& investigate outsourcing of work for attorneys & paralegals:

[F]or 3Ls Shaun Mathew and Vikram Thomas, the fact that legal offshoring is in its infancy makes this the right time to study it. And, as children of professionals who emigrated from India to the U.S., they have their own experience with an earlier chapter of globalization.

“’Our idea was to go to India and see firsthand what the industry looks like today,’ said Mathew.

“’Obviously, these firms are still in the client-building mode,’ said Thomas, ‘and there’s a lot of spin.’ One example is the claim that a firm hires only graduates of the national law schools—a pool of less than 1,000 law students out of tens of thousands matriculating in India each year. In fact, Thomas and Mathew found few top law school graduates working in the firms.

“The companies also claim they are focused on high-end legal work, says Mathew. In fact, although many of the firms they visited aspire to take on more complex tasks as they gain client confidence, right now most offer only document preparation and litigation support for corporations.”