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Legal Outsourcing

BPOs are also beginning to spread their operations to the legal space. Trends reportedly indicate that international law firms, MNCs, legal publishing companies and legal research firms have begun Outsourcing to Indian BPOs. Outsourcing in the legal space initially commenced with legal transcription processes some years ago and has reportedly now grown in complexity and volume. The outsourced legal processes are usually classified on the basis of complexity and skill base required.

Studies indicate that English is spoken in India, the legal system is similar to the US/UK and that salaries and wage costs are significantly lower for Indian lawyers or paralegals. The other factors attributed for the growing outsourcing of legal work to India are:

  • India (like the US/UK), is a common-law jurisdiction rooted in British legal traditions and systems;
  • Indian legal training is conducted solely in English;
  • Appellate and Supreme Court proceedings in India are conducted exclusively in English; and
  • Indian legal opinions are written exclusively in English.

Analysts such as Forrester Research, reportedly forecast that by 2015; more than 489,000 legal jobs in the US (nearly eight per cent of the segment) could shift abroad. Like BPOs in other segments, there are captive units and third party service providers in the legal space. Captive BPO units of MNCs engage in higher-end outsourced legal work. For example, GE's BPO in India, GECIS, reportedly began hiring lawyers and paralegal staff in late 2001 and GE was able to save around USD 2 Million in costs in the first few months of outsourcing itself.

It is also reported that other MNCs like Oracle, Sun and Cisco have been outsourcing their patent research and documentation work to Indian BPOs or to their own captive centres in India.



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