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Offshoring to India at 10% of the US law firm cost

The Wall Street Journal mentioned three law departments using lawyers in India: DuPont for drafting patent applications, Roamware for creating a contracts compliance database, and DirectoryM for researching litigation matters. For the last two, as compared to the costs US firms would have charged, the offshore lawyers’ costs were approximately 10 percent.

If much legal work where there are large volumes of documentation or repetitive activity, and the applicable documents can be emailed or faxed, can be done in India for one-tenth the cost, the de-leveraging of law firms and law departments will proceed apace. Even if law department lawyers cost 30-40 percent less per hour than the outside lawyers they retain, the cost in favor of Indian lawyers would be around 15 percent.

This shift of commodity work will proceed quickly since more than 200,000 Indians graduate law school every year – five times as many as graduate US law schools.