Prominently displayed today in the New York Times, Global Business section is an article about outsourcing legal services to India Outsourcing to India Draws Western Lawyers. My questions is simply, why? Why are we outsourcing our legal services to India or to any other country for that matter? According to Mr. David B. Wilkins, the Director of Harvard Law School’s program on the legal profession “There is an increasing pressure by clients to reduce costs and increase efficiency.” In my opinion, that is not a new concept. Clients have always put pressure on law firms to cut costs and increase efficiency. Granted, in today’s economy that pressure may be more intense but that is why we have paralegals. Paralegals can do the jobs that are currently being outsourced to these other countries for a fraction of the price of what a lawyer charges.
According to the article, the attorneys working for outsourcing firms outside of the country are not allowed to give legal advice to clients in the West and the jobs that are being outsourced are those same jobs that a paralegal is trained to do, such as document reviews and deposition summaries. Janine Dascenzo, associate general counsel at G.E., is quoted in the article as saying “You don’t need a $500-an-hour associate to do things like document review and basic due diligence,” with which I totally agree. You do not need a lawyer to review documents, request records, review deposition transcripts, organize files, visit accident sites, collect evidence, perform basic due diligence, etc.
I wonder if the client is being given all the facts. Is the client being given the choice of (1) having a paralegal, who has been trained in the West, trained to deal with our court system, who speaks the language and knows the culture and who is able to perform the same tasks being performed in India; or (2) does the client want to have his file and his information shipped to a foreign country where he does not know the culture nor person working on his/her file, the person working on file has no interest in him/her (the client) as a person, and perhaps no interest in the outcome of the case? I wonder how many clients are being told these facts? I wonder what choice they would make if they were being told these facts?
I don’t know about all of you. I am very much in favor of thinking outside the box and perhaps my thinking outside the box is the reason I became a paralegal. Efficient? You want to keep it efficient? Then I say you keep the work in the United States in the hands of a very competent paralegal who will perform the work very efficiently and cost effectively because he/she knows how to navigate the system and get answers for your clients. Give us a chance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what we can accomplish for you, your clients and the U.S. economy by allowing you to keep jobs in the US.
Just my thoughts. Thank you for reading.
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