Drawbacks to outsourcing subjective document review projects to India

Timothy Mahoney, executive director of Esquire Group, has a strong interest in deflating the Indian outsourcing bubble because his firm – part of Special Counsel – provides temporary litigation support staff from domestic US locations. Nonetheless, his article in Met. Corp. Counsel, March 2007 at 62, presents nine arguments contrary to the bandwagon.

Mahoney points out that “Indian lawyers do not undergo the same training as U.S. lawyers.” Further, “there is no nationally recognized law examination required to practice law in India.” Then too “Indian lawyers are unfamiliar with U.S. legal procedures and discovery mechanisms.” Three other challenges are specific to litigation support. In India, communications between clients and in-house counsel are not protected by privilege, “Indian lawyers are not accustomed to reviewing documents for privilege” and “Indian lawyers are not familiar with large-scale electronic discovery.” He also asserts that there may be higher ethical obligations regarding supervision of off-shore attorneys.

A couple of other points I have omitted, but in total these arguments should be considered in any decision to use offshore legal staff (See my post of Nov. 14, 2005 on offshoring and references cited.).

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