I’ve taken a fair amount of heat for pointing out that ABA Formal Op. 08-451, which states (with some important caveats) that foreign legal outsourcing is ethical, is actually good news for independent US-based contract lawyers because the same principles that allow firms to send legal work overseas also allow law students and graduates awaiting admission to do actual legal work when they’re working at firms, and allow lawyers to work as contract attorneys in jurisdictions in which they are not admitted. However, I’ve never taken a position on whether foreign legal process outsourcing is a good idea for hiring lawyers—solos and small firms who need the assistance of a qualified contract lawyer. Until now.
Yesterday, I saw a post in a LinkedIn group to which I belong, called Legal Research & Writing. Here’s the post, by Jagriti Mishra, the head of business development at an Indian LPO company called Draft N Craft:
Bursting the 7 Myths behind Legal Process Outsourcing.
This article attempts to address 7 common myths associated with the LPO industry
1> Whether outsourcing is synonym to compromise in quality?
2> Outsourcing is a compromise with confidentiality
3> It is unethical to outsource
4> By outsourcing, the vendor takes away outsourcer country’s jobs.
5> Indian LPO vendors compete with foreign law firms.
6> LPO vendors need malpractice insurance
7> Legal outsourcing starts instant savings and has no obligations
Please refer the link below:-
Curious, I clicked through to the post, where I was immediately struck by Mishra’s discussion of the first “myth” behind legal process outsourcing:
Myth 1> LPO stands for PLPO (Para-Legal Process Outsourcing) and/or there is a compromise in quality.
The legal process outsourcing industry is at nascent state but is growing both monetarily and intellectually. Although it is true that High cost, more routine, lower risk legal works are easy to outsource, it in no way circumscribes the potentials of legal process outsourcing. The PLPO perception is a backlog, as the Legal outsourcing industry begun with routine work. Suffice it is to mention that various important player like (SDD and Lexadigm) have prepared Briefs and Motions to be filed in US courts. Our attorneys are trained for Multi jurisdictional research and assist:-
- US debt collection attorneys prepare Consumer Complaints, Briefs, and Motions for FDCPA, FCRA, FCBA and TILA violations.
- Social security attorneys in filing FIT, research on GRIDS, De novo appeal before ALJ.
- Bankruptcy attorney in intake form fill up and entering the information on Bankruptcy software.
- Foreclosure attorney in preparing complaints, motion and briefs to help the homeless.
- Contract review and management attorneys in contract Review including red lining and blue lining.
- Merger and Acquisition attorney for due diligence.
- For e-discovery solutions with cost advantage.
Quality is a term that takes new face with new situations. Clear guidelines, good teamwork and 100% quality check are the factors that coordinate in determining standards. It requires involvements from both the ends, keep a track of milestones and guidelines and the Outsourced service provider will ensure quality. We however, from our end add extra input to provide best quality deliverables. Had all vendors failed in providing quality this industry would have collapsed by now, the continuous growth reflects value.
Before other LPO companies get up in arms, I’ll concede that no doubt many of them have much better quality control than Draft N Craft (which I’d never heard of before reading Mr. Mishra’s post) appears to have. Nevertheless, the trainwreck of grammar and usage errors in Mr. Mishra’s post is a red flag. If the reading comprehension abilities of the foreign lawyers who work for a company like Draft N Craft is on par with the writing ability demonstrated in this post, any U.S. lawyer who hires a company like this will have to do quite a bit of due diligence to ensure that the work product meets the standards set forth by the disciplinary authorities (to say nothing of the courts).
Since I have never personally worked with a foreign LPO firm, I can’t comment on Mishra’s claims concerning security and confidentiality issues. And since I’m not an economist (heck, I didn’t even take Econ 101 in college), I won’t comment on Mishra’s analysis of the question of whether foreign outsourcing results in a net loss of jobs in the outsourcing country.
I agree with only two of Mishra’s arguments. An ethical foreign LPO company, like any ethical U.S.-based contract lawyer, will not compete with you for your clients. The foreign LPO company (or a US-based contract lawyer who is not admitted in your jurisdiction) simply can’t represent your clients directly. And even a U.S.-based contract lawyer who is providing services in a jurisdiction in which he or she is admitted to practice law won’t compete with you for your clients: simply put, we don’t want your clients—we want to work only for other lawyers.
I agree only to a point with Mishra’s analysis of the ethics decisions. Not a single bar association has determined that foreign legal outsourcing is per se unethical. However, Mishra gives short shrift to the caveats included in many of the opinions. You can find a more detailed discussion of the caveats in ABA Formal Op. 08-451 here.
The last thing that a busy solo or small firm lawyer wants to deal with when outsourcing substantive legal work is having to practically rewrite a brief to get it signature-ready. Sure, it costs more to outsource to a qualified, U.S.-based independent contract lawyer than to send work overseas. But remember: you get what you pay for.