Friday, February 26, 2010

Outsourcing Redux

A law firm that decides to outsource some of its work is making a decision that is in step with the times. Although outsourcing is not right for every firm, there are factors that weigh heavily in favor of a considered approach. At least that's what Ron Friedman argues in this recent LLRX post - Law Firms Now Outsourcers? Friedman's short article draws together a number of sources that review the state of outsourcing today. Friedman makes two points to ponder:
  1. Using outsourcing can certainly save your clients money. Obviously, it costs less for legal talent from Cleveland than the same talent from New York.
  2. Ethical issues still abound. Friedman quotes Professor Stephen Gillers - "There is no problem with offshoring because even though the lawyer in India is not authorized by an American state to practice law, the review by American lawyers sanitizes the process." The answer may not be that simple. A more complete analysis is set out in Mark Ross' article on LLRX - Ethics of Legal Outsourcing White Paper.
This is a complicated issue. The fact that firms are seriously entertaining the idea of outsourcing - whether offshore or domestic - is a sign of the difficult economic times and maybe a harbinger of the change in the shifting paradigm of what it means to practice law.

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