US legal firms cut LPO costs in India

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New Delhi, Nov 20: Leading law firms in the United States are providing lower cost legal services to their clients by outsourcing work to India and cutting their own costs by 60 per cent or more.

''Routine legal work, regularly costing clients 200- 300 dollars per hour in the US, can be done for 30-100 dollars when outsourced to India. Law firms, corporate legal departments, can achieve savings of 60 per cent by outsourcing their some of these tasks.'' LawScribe, Inc. President and CEO Kunoor Chopra told to the sources.

The Indian Legal Process Outsourcing industry is set to achieve significant growth from its current market-share to around six to seven per cent of the estimated 250 billion dollars global legal services market by 2010.

The advantages of time zone differential, labor cost, availability of English speaking attorneys and familiarity with the common law doctrine attracts foreign firms to outsource work here.

''India is the preferred outsourcing destination because of both the cost advantage and the huge availability of talented, English speaking legal professionals '' she said.

Incorporated in 2004, LawScribe, Inc has been recently ranked the number 4 Legal Process Outsourcing firm globally by the Brown-Wilson Group (authors of the highly acclaimed Black Book of Outsourcing) 2007 annual survey.

The company currently has 85 employees in their Indian offices.

The workforce is due to be scaled up to around 300 by the end of the next year, according to the LawScribe CEO.

''We are also looking at a number of sites across India, to set up similar offices to our state of the art Gurgaon facility, including Ludhiana, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Dehradun,'' she added.

''We will continue to strengthen our litigation and intellectual property departments to meet the growing demand in these areas as well as exploring further growth in our corporate group,'' the company's India Country Manager Vishal Aggarwal stated.

According to an industry body, more than 200 top US companies are looking to offshore locations to achieve cost savings.

The different types of legal work currently being outsourced to India include preparation of legal documents such as pleadings, proof-reading, transcription , litigation support and research, case studies, contract drafting, document and contract review, and IP related work.

India also has a large and increasing pool of talented engineering graduates, many of whom are being attracted to the patent services segment of legal BPO. Estimates report that by early 2006, there were over 400 professionals engaged in providing patent services including literature searches, prior-art searches, technology and patentability assessment, patent claim mapping and patent application drafting.

There are over 600 patent agents registered with the Indian Patent Office in India and about 300 non-registered Intellectual Property professionals.

About one-third of these 900 professionals currently provide patent services to European and American clients. The total number of IP professionals providing legal support to European and the US clients is likely to reach 1,800-2,000 by 2010.

The major countries making up the legal services market include the US, the UK, France, Australia, South Korea, Japan and China.

Despite the encouraging predictions regarding the legal process outsourcing industry, LPOs are subject to a number of external which include changing economics, marketplace maturation, earning brand, marketing expenditures and many more.

''Rupee appreciation has affected us but we are not overly concerned and we have no plans to increase the fees for our clients'' said Ms Chopra.

''We have been able to maintain a very low attrition rate as compared to the industry norm. We provide a variety of programs including continuing education for our employees to prevent the issue of attrition arising,'' added Mr Aggarwal ''I believe that India will continue to dominate the industry as the destination of choice for many years to come,'' Ms Chopra said.

According to a white paper published by Evalueserve, an Indian KPO company, the Indian KPO industry, is expected to generate employment for about 280,000 professionals and earn revenues of 11-12 billion dollars by 2010.


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