Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Legal Outsourcing to India Expanding

Forrester Research estimates that 35,000 U.S. legal jobs will move offshore by 2010 and 79,000 by 2015, according to a November 26th article in The Wall Street Journal.

This is one way law firms can try to reduce expenses for clients in a challenging economy. Potential savings are significant, with U.S. temp lawyers billing more than double the going rate in India.

Kelley Drye & Warren in New York is reported to use lawyers in India to conduct litigation document review and for straightforward contract matters. Many other firms are being asked by clients to consider outsourcing.

Like many other businesses, the future may hold an operating model where U.S. offices of law firms focus on their core legal activities while outsourcing (here or abroad) the more repetitive aspects of legal services. Certainly this is already happening in many legal sectors as well as on the client side.

Managing Partners, Executive Committees and Law Firm Administrators will be challenged to manage complex production-type matters in a distributed economy, in addition to the myriad other responsibilities like client fulfillment, business development and talent management.

Read the full story: With Times Tight, Even Lawyers Get Outsourced.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

2009 Billing Plans Defy Market Conditions

Incisive Media's The American Lawyer reported yesterday that leaders of the nation's largest law firms are uncharacteristically uncertain about what 2009 holds for their organizations.

In its annual Law Firm Leaders Survey, an unprecedented 35 percent of managing partners predicted profits will decrease or stay flat next year. But, 98 percent of the 112 respondents at AmLaw 200 firm reported that they are still planning to raise billing rates in 2009 and 72 percent said that, despite layoffs, they expect a variety of factors to produce head count increases.

The Rainmaking Lady notes that it is interesting to contrast these results with the ACC Value Challenge covered in a previous post. Rather than blatantly raise hourly rates, perhaps this is a good time to further explore alternative billing approaches like success fees or retainers.

Read the full story.