With President Obama giving a big thumbs down to outsourcing, and literally compelling all bailout beneficiaries to stop sending their work overseas, he has instilled fear in the minds of “over worked” and “underpaid” stressed skilled laborers (sic) here in India. Whilst some people believe that Indians will successfully ward of this threat through a back door entry, others believe that Obama or no Obama, outsourcing is here to stay; it is so very much cost effective… and so on and so forth and other such arguments I have heard a million times.
Now, the big question is whether the legal outsourcing industry will suffer if President Obama is able to halt the outsourcing phenomenon. I don’t think so… I don’t think so because it is not the policies that will affect the legal industry in as much as the quality of the work product delivered.
This brings us to the next question, are lawyers in India able to help American attorneys in their endeavor to serve the American public efficiently. Well… this is a very complicated question because lawyers everywhere are a different breed and it is not easy to please them. Legal outsourcing industry is waking up to the fact that there cannot be a fixed process to do the legal work and the only way to please lawyers is understand the requirements of every individual attorney they are catering to. There is however, a brighter side to this, when a young lawyer (working overseas) is confronted with complicated legal issues, and an individual requirement of every attorney, that young lawyer learns fast and improves his legal skills. This is so because that young lawyer is not restricting his interactions to one attorney in a law firm; he will be interacting with the best in that law firm, these interactions mean getting trained by the best. Therefore, the lawyers here not only learn to solve a legal issue, they also learn to write and present a brief. Even if you are good at interpreting law but if you don’t write well then your skills are irrelevant. It is not only the understanding of law, but also the presentation that matters. It is a very challenging job. I believe, Indian lawyers are able to meet expectations and will raise the bar soon.
Now the most important question of all, should legal work be outsourced to India, at the cost of an attorney’s job back in the US? This is a very emotional question; I don’t think any response would do justice to this question. I don’t believe that outsourcing legal work to India should cause any job losses in the US. No matter what lawyers in India do, they cannot be physically present to execute the work. It is important to understand how outsourcing works before condemning it. Lawyers work on a mandate given by the attorneys who in turn have been authorized by their clients to outsource work. The basic idea behind outsourcing is to reduce costs, and in times such as now, the best way to protect legal rights is cost effective legal advice. This can be achieved with outsourcing. The process is still at a nascent stage and it will have an exponential growth based on the quality of deliveries.
I would like to share some of the challenges that I have faced and my experiences of working in the legal outsourcing industry in my future posts.