The legal process outsourcing market, valued at $8 billion in 2020, is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 22% from now until 2027, when it is expected to have swelled to $30 billion
According to a report highlighted in a recent (20 July 2022) article by Trudy Knockless on law.com (‘“High demand for precise legal assistance at affordable costs is likely to drive the industry growth,” according to a Global Market Insights study‘), the legal process outsourcing (LPO) market is back in vogue big time and India is – again – leading the way.
Knockless’s article is not, however – in my opinion – without some elements of controversy.
On the one hand,
Jason Winmill, managing partner of the legal consulting firm Argopoint, said the move to outsource legal work to India is motivated by the relentless ongoing pressure to reduce in-house legal spending.
Which, I have no doubt, is true.
On the other hand, however:
India is favored for its low labor costs and high availability of skilled lawyers who are proficient in English.
And, to be clear, when we’re talking about ‘low labour costs’ here, what we are talking about is:
…legal workers earn about $12,000 to $30,000 a year reviewing contracts, handling legal research, subpoena responses and document reviews and completing other tasks…
Which, when you consider
N.Y. law firms raise starting salaries to $215,000 as lawyer pay race continuessee here
Kind of doesn’t seem right.
But then, having said that “India is favored for its low labor costs and high availability of skilled lawyers who are proficient in English”, this is then qualified with:
Most of the work companies move to India involves record-keeping, compliance and document review—mainly nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements, low-level purchasing contracts and routine aspects of Intellectual property.
But hang on a second, isn’t that exactly what $215K a year first-year is doing?
Nope, looks like I might have got that totally wrong
The move reduces legal spending and frees up U.S.-lawyers for higher-value matters.
To be clear, I have no issue with new lawyers in the US/UK etc making as much money as they can – many have what must feel like life time debts. And I have no issue with businesses – whether that be in-house legal or private practice – making money out of outsourcing work to India.
But, are we doing right by those in the Indian middle?
As usual, comments are my own.
Photo credit Debashis RC Biswas on Unsplash