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79,000 legal outsourcing jobs for India by 2015

Press Trust of India

Posted: Nov 12, 2005 at 1139 hrs IST

India has huge potential in legal outsourcing, with the number of jobs in the field increasing to 79,000 by 2015, a study by an American research firm has said.

Though India had earned over $6.7 billion in US-based outsourcing services such as software and call centres till march 2005, the field of legal outsourcing was largely untapped, the study conducted by Forrester said.

The study estimated that jobs in the field which was poised to increase dramatically from about $80 million annually to approximately $4 billion, would grow to 29,000 in 2008, 35,000 by 2010, and 79,000 by 2015.

At present the number of jobs in legal outsourcing in India stood less than 12,000, it said.

Outsourcing would reduce costs for US customers as the rates for Indian legal workers were about 10 to 20 per cent of their American counterparts.

"Indian outsourcing offers the following economic advantages: a significant wage differential with Indian firms report paying legal researchers around $12,000 per year. There are also savings in perks, overhead, and working conditions," the study said adding time zone differences allowed for overnight and 24X7 operations.

So far, the legal services work consisted of paralegal, secretarial, and litigation support. However, according to the financial consulting firm, fulcrum financial inquiry, Indian firms now offered more valuable services, including contract review and monitoring, document review for due diligence, patent drafting, simple filings and legal research.

However, the study said these advantages were not without challenges, but none insurmountable.

The most important challenges to legal outsourcing to India included concerns about data security, conflict of interest rules, and the need for Indian lawyers to pass US bar examinations.

Interestingly, the need for India-based lawyers was being addressed through American law schools and immigration policies.

Legal talent was being schooled in the US, but American education visas allowed these students to stay in the country for only a short time after graduation. Many who studied in the US came back to work for legal outsourcers, the study said.

It said more than 200,000 Indians graduate from law schools each year, five times more than in the US.

Participants in the study included law firms, in-house law departments of multinational firms like GE, Bayer and outsourcers having a legal group.

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