Outsourcing to India? Lawyers from India don’t like it anymore than lawyers from the U.S.

Apparently, not all lawyers in India are crazy about the outsourcing trend heating up in India and other lower-cost developing nations.  According to Merinews, written from India, Legal Process Outsourcing is the latest and hottest trend. Big corporations are reaping the benefits. New job opportunities are being created. LPOs (Legal Process Outsourcing) seem to have a bright future in India in the coming years.
Major corporations benefit from having work done at a quarter of the price, while the developing countries benefit from the huge influx of income and job creation. The latest industry to join the outsourcing rat race is the legal sector. Legal outsourcing has already created 12,000 job opportunities in India alone and this figure is expected to rise to as many as 79,000 by 2015.

But the response from young Indian lawyers seems to be less than positive. Ramneek Sidhu, from Delhi Law School says, “After investing three years in law school, I don’t want to be caught dead working as a clerk in an LPO.”
Nishita too agrees with this view and further adds, “A lawyer in an LPO is definitely earning good money but at the same time is not justifying his/her profession. There is no direct litigation involved which is the essence of being a lawyer.”
Brij, a young attorney working with an LPO feels quite differently to both Ramneek and Nishita. He believes that he is making a sound progress in his career graph by working with an LPO. He says, “Many lawyers nowadays, whether in India, the US or the UK rarely see the inside of a court room. Working within an LPO and not a law firm allows me to keep in sync with the latest developments in US law. The legal thought process that any young attorney must develop over time comes from studying, reading and writing legal briefs and memoranda. I hope that I demonstrate my passion and emotion for law in the arguments I raise in the legal motions and documents I prepare. "
Mark Ross from the outsourcing group Lawcribe, is quoted as saying, "we are only in the nascent stages of this exciting and emerging industry. He says, “In the course of the next two to three years, a vast number of qualified Indian attorneys will be working within the industry. I believe the Indian government and the Bar Association will be left with no alternative other than to formally open up the market to foreign law firms and allow Indian attorneys to practice US and UK law from within India’s borders."
From attorneys to paralegals, outsourcing is weathering opposition, controversy and still some success.  Lawscribe, a recent sponsor to one of our Paralegal SuperConferences addressed the audience on how clients and law firms will save money by outsourcing attorney and paralegal functions to India.  Unfortunately, the message the audience chose to hear was "The client will save money and the firm will make more.  Unfortunately, you will lose your job."  Needless to say, Lawscribe was not a big hit on the Paralegal circuit.
While the company was upset by the response of the audience, they say someone should have told them the audience would not be receptive.  My response was that they should have done their homework and chose another way to deliver the message.  I offered to help but they refused.  My opinion was that the approach they should have taken was to teach attorneys and paralegals how to outsource and at the same time bring up their own position another rung on the ladder by absorbing more sophisticated and diversified assignments.  It’s the only way that outsourcing will work.
This is not the first time outsourcing has reared its head.  Years ago, litigation support companies such as Quorum Litigation, outsourced coding to the Philippines.  This is not a new concept.  Fear ran amok attorneys and paralegals then.  But what happened was, clients saved money, firms made more and paralegals and attorneys dropped the lowest common tasks to the lowest competent level.  Rarely now, do you see paralegals coding.
It will be interesting to see if outsourcing to India takes off as predicted or flak from both countries prevents it from succeeding.

One Reply to “Outsourcing to India? Lawyers from India don’t like it anymore than lawyers from the U.S.”

  1. Don’t get me wrong, I am working in one of the Big IT companies in India, but now I am sick and tired of their hiring policies. Read on

    Software companies in India are recruiting “Lamers” who don’t have any experience…, wait a minute, they don’t even know a thing about computer science. Don’t believe me? Let me give you an example, a person hired straight from college as a software developer by a Big Indian IT Company (A Really Big One.. They have got the BT project… you know..!), he has been chosen as a developer on java, he came crying to me asking he can’t figure out how to create an ODBC connection (in windows). Can you believe this? I explained him the process with screen-shots from modemhelp.net( cause I was running Linux on my system so..). More surprises, he couln’t differentiate Linux from windows (it was obvious, he had never ever seen a non-windows system in his life so far), so when he saw my terminal (I had Open-suse with default KDE running on my system with a terminal/console open), he asked me to show him how to create the ODBC connection from the control panel… what a Lamer! People selected for .Net have no idea about what an web-server is and what is IIS.

    People are hired from non-IT background and sometimes non-computer background (students from civil, mechanical, or electronics engineering) on the basis of merit tests where they ask questions like in the banking jobs(??). This is done intentionally so that they can force these lamers to work for peanuts for almost 12 hours a day regularly. Most of the time, lamers are overworked and underpaid and they don’t have the skill to finish the job in an efficient manner. They are always frightened of losing their jobs and so they manage to finish their responsibility in every irresponsible way possible. You know what I mean, sorry, English is my second language!

    Companies prefer these novice people over trained professionals because they can pay a lot less.

    As far as IT and software is concerned, this is no easy job and definitely not for an average joe, we all know that. One has to be pretty strong technically to understand the specifications, leave out writing codes. We are at the edge of unparalalled complex business demand and increased complexity of software design getting more and more complex every day with standards like web2 and distributed architecture. Now how far do you think hires like these can go even with specialised training. They put an intense pressure on these employees forcing them to learn the technologies and they simply don’t have foundations to build on. It’s like pushing a business graduate to cram up Quantum Physics!

    If you happen to visit any of the Indian IT firms, you will come to know about an amazingly bad work culture where people always find their excuses for an unfinished job. Some companies are run like pumping stations where you come, you sit, you roam around, you have your lunch, you chat with the lady sitting in the next cubicle or on the Internet, ok it’s 4:30 in the evening, let’s go home half an hour early. The word “proactive” is not a part of their dictionary.

    Consequently, these Indian IT companies are losing quality of the service in the domestic market as well as in the international market. God only knows how they meet their deadlines even after hundreads of reviews of code and scary programming practices. Companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra are losing projects in india as well (they have got a very bad remarks from clients like SBI, Central Bank of India and many others and they are steadily losing projects even in Indian markets for hiring these lamers).

    Some US companies have taken back their projects to US after finding out the truth about Indian IT Companies A lot of them have found out they can manage to achieve a productivity 2 to 6 times greater than what it was when outsourced to India!


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