My 1999 book, The Complete Internet Handbook for Lawyers, contained many predictions. I missed on a few, but was right on target for many. I am proud of one prediction in particular:
Legal work, including work normally performed by lawyers, will be outsourced to countries like India.
Outsourcing to India for non-legal work is not particularly controversial. For example, Galaxy Web Links (Twitter contact Erica Sadler) has developed many lawyer websites. They have a U.S. office, but most of the work is performed in India. More about Galaxy Web Links later.
On the other hand, my prediction about outsourcing legal work was quite controversial. It provoked widespread skepticism at the time, even ridicule, but it has been well vindicated.
Legal tech guru Ron Friedmann noted that by 2005 (6 years after my prediction), U.S law firms and law departments were indeed outsourcing legal work to India. Friedmann maintains an extensive list of law firms outsourcing work to India at his Strategic Legal Technology blog. This includes the following types of work:
- Document drafting by lawyers
- Legal research
- IP legal work, substantive or administrative
- Review of discovery documents
- Paralegal services
- Administrative and secretarial support services, excluding digital dictation
We’ll be discussing the implications of this trend in future posts.