Saturday, October 5, 2013
The EconomicTimes of India reports that it's no longer just BigLaw that's outsourcing legal work to India. Small domestic law firms as well middle class individuals are using the internet to engage foreign lawyers at rock bottom prices for everything from legal research, intellectual property advice, drafting divorce petitions and help with child custody matters. Lawyers based in India offer their services for rates as low as $7.00 to $20.00 per hour compared to $150.00 to $300.00 charged by lawyers here in the states for similar work. According to the India based financial blog, small firms and individuals now comprise 65% of the workload for some of these foreign legal practice outsourcing firms.
From the EconomicTimes:
BANGALORE: As legal help becomes exorbitantly expensive in the United States, an increasing number of middle-class Americans are reaching out over the internet to lawyers in India for advice and assistance.
A growing community of Indian lawyers is finding a business opportunity in helping Americans prepare legal documents. Compared with the $150-300 ( 9,150-18,450) per hour that US lawyers typically charge, enterprising Indian counterparts with online shops are offering their services for as little as $7-20 ( 400-1,200) an hour.
"This is proving to be lucrative as requests from US clients are increasing," says advocate Mitul Desai who runs a six-member, Ahmedabad-based outfit called Mitul Desai & Associates. Desai and his team of lawyers draft legal petitions, conduct legal research and dig out precedents for cases, ranging from child custody claims and divorce petitions to property disputes.
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The Indian arms of some of the US-based law firms are also seeing demands from individuals in the US who seek legal help, but cannot afford the rates charged by the US-lawyers.
"The client contacted me on email regarding research for drafting a divorce petition. The client wanted to present this by himself (without a lawyer's help) in court," said Vidya Devaiah, managing director of the Indian unit of New York-based law firm, SmithDehn. Her firm charges about $50/hour for such work, whereas in US that could cost up to $300 hour, she said.
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Cassandra Burke Robertson, professor of law at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio said there is an increasing number of litigants representing themselves in US courts. She cited the example of Maricopa County in Arizona state where litigants representing themselves have "virtually quadrupled" over the past 10 years.
"In a small but growing segment of cases, litigants have hired online attorneys from India and elsewhere to draft litigation documents and to guide them through the legal process," Robertson said. "In many areas, a client cannot find an attorney willing to accept less than $150 an hour-a rate that is simply unaffordable for most middle-class individuals," she wrote in her research paper to be published soon.
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Continue reading here.