Friday, October 6, 2006
Posted by Alan Childress
Clifford Chance is outsourcing 300 staff and IT positions to India over the next four years, the firm announced this week (as reported by the UK's Legal Week), following on its 2005 initiative to reroute much document production out-of-house to an Indian company. Some US law firms have also begun outsourcing document work, and the Orrick firm has already moved many of its staff and tech jobs to West Virginia since 2002. Although such cost-savings measures (CC estimates that the staff moves alone will save around $57 million) raise real issues of law firm economics and hands-on control over legal product by the profession, any such trend among US firms will also raise potential issues under bar rules of professional conduct and state laws governing the unauthorized practice of law.
A rather non-critical take on the trend--with the quick conclusion that the authorized-practice rules allow this--is found on a website by law marketing consultant Prism Legal. It quotes an opinion of a committee of the City of New York's bar association for approval of the trend and pronounces it as "good news for firms that want to send work offshore, including document review."
Next up: offshoring law professors?