It looks like clients may prefer lawyers in India over high-priced U.S. associates to conduct legal research and proofread documents. Legal outsourcing is on the rise according to Bloomberg’s article “Jones Day, Kirkland Send Work to India to Cut Costs” by Cynthia Cotts and Liane Kufchock:
Clients are pushing law firms like Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis to send basic legal tasks to India, where lawyers tag documents and investigate takeover targets for as little as $20 an hour. The firms are reacting to a trend that will move about 50,000 U.S. legal jobs overseas by 2015, according to Boston- based Forrester Research Inc.
Law firms contribute 45 percent to offshore revenue, while corporate law departments contribute 36 percent….
In India, legal education is based on common law, conducted in English, and requires two or three years of classes. The country produces about 80,000 law school graduates a year, according to ValueNotes, compared with about 44,000 in the U.S.
Offshore companies charge $10 to $25 an hour on low-end work and $25 to $90 an hour on advanced jobs. Junior Indian lawyers might earn as much as $8,160 a year, according to ValueNotes, compared with the $160,000 average salary for associates in major U.S. cities.
UPDATE: To learn more about the topic of outsourcing, visit Legal Process Outsourcing Blog by Mark Ross.