Bangalore: As one out of every 10 lawyers in the U.S. is said to have been laid off due to the recession, many American and British law professionals are increasingly joining Indian law firms and legal process outsourcing outfits, reported The Times of India.
This trend was prompted by the practice by many corporations of discontinuing their contracts with external law firms, and outsourcing a substantial portion of their legal engagements to countries like India.
Mumbai-based legal process outsourcing (LPO) firm Mindcrest recently hired five senior U.S. lawyers. It's planning to hire another 10 American lawyers this year. Pangea3, another Mumbaibased LPO firm, recently hired 3 American legal professionals, while another two lawyers are expected to join the company within a month. SDD Global Solutions, a Mysore-based legal practices outsourcer, is also hiring many foreign lawyers.
"Besides having India on their CV that will give a multi-culture dimension which could help them in future, it is also good for Indian lawyers as they get global mentoring and guidelines," said Mindcrest MD Rohan Dalal.
Mindcrest, which specialises in litigation documentation, litigation support, corporate law, contracts drafting, due deligence, compliance of laws, business analytics and case analysis, plans to employ 1,000 lawyers by the end of the year, up from the current 616.
Pangea3 co-CEO Sanjay Kamlani said a large number of U.S. lawyers have been getting in touch with them. "Some are personally coming to India and meeting us to explore options." Russel Smith, president of SDD Global Solutions, said outsourcing to India is enormously cost effective because U.S. lawyers are very expensive. "They are paid $300/900 an hour while it is less than 1/10 of that in India. Globally, the traditional hour-based working style of law firms are changing. Companies today prefer smaller firms who believe in flat rates," said Smith.
Foreign lawyers are not allowed to practice in India, however they are allowed to join domestic law firms and indirectly advise clients.