India’s legal outsourcing industry has grown in recent years from an experimental endeavor to a small but mainstream part of the global business of law.
Cash-conscious Wall Street banks, mining giants, insurance firms and industrial conglomerates are hiring lawyers in India for document review, due diligence, contract management and more.
According to Valuenotes (a consulting firm in Pune, India):
- The number of legal outsourcing companies in India has mushroomed to more than 140 at the end of 2009, from 40 in 2005
- Revenue at India’s legal outsourcing firms is expected to grow to $440 million this year, up 38 percent from 2008, and should surpass $1 billion by 2014
David B. Wilkins, director of Harvard Law School’s program says:
- This is not a blip, this is a big historical movement
- There is an increasing pressure by clients to reduce costs and increase efficiency
- With companies already familiar with outsourcing tasks like information technology work to India, legal services is a natural next step
Thanks to India’s low wages and costs and a big pool of young, English-speaking lawyers, outsourcing firms charge from one-tenth to one-third what a Western law firm bills an hour.