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US warming up to Indian legal outsourcing

US lawyers seem to finally accept the idea of fellow legal beagles on the other side of the world fighting on their side though not side by side. Has legal outsourcing to India finally gained a foothold in the US legal system? Attorneys in Grand Forks now turn to lawyers in Bangalore, Delhi, and Chennai for help in drafting legal briefs and research work for cases to be fought in American courts.

Experts in the Grand Forks area believe that the Indian lawyers have an edge over their Asian or African counterparts, just as their call center brothers in outsourced services lord it over in that sector. Rocky Dhir, among the first to recognize and tap India’s potential in legal outsourcing points out,

“This is because Indian lawyers are uniquely positioned to assist the US legal market.”

Fresh from the success of his outsourced legal services, Dhir is headed for Bangalore and Chennai to seek out a fresh supply of advocates for his company, Atlas Legal Research. Other law firm heads have followed suit and have taken to combing various Indian cities to recruit lawyers.

Criminal defense specialist and former Assistant United States Attorney Jay Ethington assures,

“There is no difference between Indian and American advocates. The quality of work is the same,”

He has expressed satisfaction over the quality of research and paperwork turned in by Indian advocates for about half-a-dozen cases.

The battles fought by these Indian lawyers do not take place in US courts but are set in the form of the research work, case analyses, and legal brief drafting for those in the thick of the American legal battlefield. This has resulted in saving time, energy, and money for American lawyers.

Despite initial reluctance to hire Indian lawyers for research work, Ethington has since found himself a convert and is actually a strong advocate of legal outsourcing to India,

“I am very much impressed by the work done by Indian lawyers to help fight cases in US courts.”

Larry Newman, author of Texas Corporation Law and corporate transaction specialist, is similarly impressed by the quality of work done by Indian lawyers. He cites them as being instrumental to getting favorable results in even the complex cases. He is partial to legal outsourcing to India for the cost efficiency, fast response, and good work quality – all of which explain why the practice is fast catching up.

“India, like the US, has a common law jurisdiction.” Dhir pointed out this advantage as well: the fact that the entire legal system, from studies to debate to court orders, is conducted in English.

Holding up his fast increasing list of clients as example, Dhir says that it is primarily because of the “fractional cost” at which they do service as compared to American counterparts. Salaries for top law graduates in India stand at one-tenth of US lawyers’.

Another advantage Dhir cited is the time difference between India and the US, “While our legal research associate are busy preparing the case, our rivals – US lawyers, sleep. As such our company works 24 hours.”

Experts believe that legal outsourcing just might be the key to considerably lowering cost of court cases. This also presents an advantage for the Indian companies doing business in the US: Infosys, Tata, Wipro.

“With the help of lawyers from India, these companies can very well compete with their rivals in courts here and that too at a fractional cost.”

V. Rishi Kumar
Hyderabad , Sept. 13