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Legal work outsourcing potential waiting to be tapped

RIGHT from filing patents to drafting transnational contracts to creating necessary information back-up for global corporations in litigations and providing support in contract management – - ,one can outsource a wide range of legal work, bringing in similar scale of economies that business process outsourcing brings to companies.

Indian companies have come of age offering legal outsourcing and making a difference. They are eyeing the $200 billion US market. Significantly, while there are different projections as to what is in store for the Indian market place, one estimate by Forrester puts this at about $3.9 billion by 2010.

Interestingly, this is not just about attorneys, law grads or practising professionals of law at the bar alone. A host of other professions such as engineers and technology experts would be part of this trend, bringing in different domains and pooling resources to provide the end product and service.

The co-founder, Chairman of Pangea3, a legal outsourcing services provider based in the US with operations in India, Mr Sanjay Kamlani, said, “a patent-related services can be offered from outsourced centres at a fraction of the cost needed to process it there.. That means for the same amount, a US company can file for more patents.”

Speaking to Business Line, Mr Kamlani, a co-founder of OfficeTiger and its general council and Chief Financial Officer then, said that Pangea3 has been seed funded by Mr Sunil Wadhwani, a co-founder of iGate and Mr Avinash Bajaj, former CEO of eBay India.

“There is lack of clarity in what constitutes legal services in the outsourced mode. This has created different assessment of the current market size and the future potential India holds in the international marketplace, given its advantages.

If you look at all major IT firms, and leading business process outsourcing companies, they all handle legal services in one form or the other. But when it comes to classifying them, they are clubbed with general BPO players. This brings in disparity,” he said.

If you analyse the market size from a different perspective, it clearly emerges that the market is now about $1.5 billion and is projected to grow to about $3.9 billion to $4 billion by the year 2010.

This is something which research firm Forrester also predicts.

They come to us

“If what can be offered under the ambit of legal services is analysed, we are just looking at the tip of the iceberg. This can be expanded to a range of related services including content and support services. It brings many advantages. This can be gauged from the fact that we don’t have to market our services. In fact, law firms approach us for services,” Mr Kamlani said.

“Often people believe that such services require different skills covering a range of services. It is not the case. What it needs is knowhow, and not just knowledge. Since the approach is more or less similar be it in the US, the UK or India, it is pretty easy to adjust to requirements,” he said.

V. Rishi Kumar
Hyderabad , Sept. 13