Monday, September 12, 2011

The quality of work done by outsourced lawyers in India is better than domestic lawyers says Pangea3 founder

Check out this interview with co-founder and co-CEO of Thomson Reuter's recent acquisition, legal services outsourcing company Pangea3.  David Perla says that the quality of legal work coming out of India for some specialized tasks like e-discovery and due diligence is better than the far more expensive BigLaw counterparts here in the U.S.A. Well, sure, he's got a company to promote - what would you expect him to say? But there's no reason to think that eager-for-work foreign lawyers with proper training can't do as good, or better, job than domestic law firm associates in these tasks. And is there any doubt the trend toward outsourcing will continue to grow exponentially, especially if the ABA starts accrediting foreign law schools as has been suggested might happen.

Between domestic ventures like Rocket Lawyer and foreign ones like this, how long will it be before market forces drive the cost for routine legal service to zero? And how can newly minted domestic lawyers trapped by educational loan debts exceeding $100k hope to compete against the low cost alternatives? 

Here's a portion of the interview with Mr. Perla courtesy of the ABA Journal blog.

India, with its booming economy and wealth of young, educated lawyers eager for work, was at the forefront of David Perla’s mind the day he met with his good friend Sanjay Kamlani to hatch a plan that would turn the traditional law firm model inside out.

“We wanted to effect major change and become a disruptive force for law departments,” says Perla, 42, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of the Indian legal process outsourcing company Pangea3. “We knew the next professional change would come out of India. And we were the perfect guys in the 10th year of our careers to accelerate that change.”

. . . .

“The quality of work coming out of [legal process outsourcers] in electronic discovery and due diligence is better than what’s coming out of traditional associates because LPOs are enabling lawyers to become experts in those functions,” Perla says.

The company was purchased by Thomson Reuters, owner of the West legal publishing business, in November in a deal valued between $35 million and $40 million, according to media estimates.

Pangea recently opened an office in suburban Dallas that can house 400 employees and has begun staffing a document review facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. The U.S. expansion, which prompted the Thomson acquisition, is the next step in building a multishore, 24/7 operation. The company’s flagship facility in Mumbai and a remote office in Delhi employ more than 700 Indian lawyers.

[T]he real challenge was finding people with the right skills set in India,” particularly when Perla himself wasn’t sure what those skills needed to be. In the end, the set didn’t include substantial U.S. litigation experience.

“The best people were relatively junior who were trainable and had good core fundamentals,” Perla says. “They didn’t have to unlearn big-ticket U.S. practices. We hired huge volumes of very talented, bright lawyers willing to try things a new way and not wedded to the ‘This is the way I’ve always done things’ mindset.”

You can read the rest here.


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