Saturday, April 19, 2008

David Gelfand: Worst Person of the Week

Last week, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy laid off several attorneys in its staff attorney program. These jobs were good, stable, middle-class positions that provided benefits. When asked about the firings by Above the Law's David Lat, Gelfand stonewalled:

Let's not be too hard on David Gelfand, however. Maybe he was busy? Perhaps, he was attending outsourcing conferences, learning how to ship these very same jobs overseas:

"Full Detailed Agenda Can Be Viewed at

Weakening U.S. dollar!
Changing Ways of Doing Business!
Companies Going Global!

How Can Legal Outsourcing Help Your Company? Join Us in NYC on May 14 and 15 at the Harvard Club and find out.

Hear from industry experts and find out how your peers are maximizing the benefits of legal outsourcing!

Full Detailed Agenda Can Be Viewed at

Faculty Includes:
Patrick Hatfield, Esq.
Partner and Co-Chair of Technology Practice
Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP

Bodhi Global Services Ltd.
Computer Associates
Deutsche Bank AG
Equifax, Inc.
Home Depot
Kaye Scholer LLP
Legal Electronic Document Institute
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP
Outsourcing Today
Seyfarth, Shaw LLP
The Clutch Group

• Acquiring New Strategies on How Legal Outsourcing
Will Improve Productivity and Profitability
• Identifying the “Right” New Markets for Legal
• Learning from Experts' Discussions on the Benefits
and Limitations of Legal Outsourcing
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Channels Among Attorneys, Executives and Vendors
• Understanding the Mechanics of Negotiating
Legal Outsourcing Deals
• Gaining Insights into the Future of Legal Outsourcing
• Being Prepared for Upcoming Industry Changes

Thank you to our sponsors:

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Rob Hafiz 651.337.0411 / rhafiz@alm.comFor program information please contact:
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Anonymous said...

It's nice to see those sleazebags at Clutch exposing themselves as agents of outsourcing....nice try guys you pathetic phonies.

Anonymous said...

Kaye Scholer huh? That loser firm was paying serious bucks to some agency and the lawyers were making like 75/hr a few years back. Maybe their client was one of the slime who export or maybe the firm's idea? Anyone know? Anyone done work for them recently?

Anonymous said...

close the law schools... expose the truth....

sending my resume to this dude first thing on monday....

Anonymous said...

David Gelfand should have his job sent off to India. David Gelfand will not care about his fellow man till he feels the pain! Let him lose his job. One of the cosmic laws of management is: "You can't have an Indian Chief without any braves." What good is a managing partner, who does not litigate, with no staff attorneys to manage.

Anonymous said...

He really needs to wipe that asswipe grin off his face.

Anonymous said...

Serriously, someone explain this to me: How can someone in New Delhi who isn't barred in the US do this work for US law-firms? Isn't that unauthorized practice of law? And if it isn't unauthorized practice because doc review doesn't qualify as legal work, then why do the firms even need us stateside? Why wouldn't they pay paralegals 20$/hr to do doc review instead?

Anonymous said...

because a lot of this is client driven, too. The big clients have heard all the bs about companies are saving million$ by outsourcing and now they want to do it too. It's just a trend really, but too bad for us, all of the solid entry level type legal jobs are being assumed by foreigners. A lot of solo guys are also outsourcing research, and the other things that entry level or contract attorneys used to do. It's okay for them, because they already have their practice, but if you are in law school now or just starting out, it's just one more nail in the coffin. It's almost impossible to find a decent entry level attorney or paralegal job these days.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the 1970s. Manufacturing companies decided that it was "cheaper" for them to set-up shop in the Southern states which were non-union. Within a few years, they were relocating back north because they couldn't find the same skilled labor pool. They actually started losing money, bc/ there was no "added" value due to lack of high skills in certain older industries. But then, the tides turned again and those same states began offering more and more tax incentives, and ran PR campaigns to entice northerners with the skills to move south - unforunately, that worked. So, they ended up in the same place, the only thing eliminated was the union shop issue. They are still paying the higher wages they paid when north. Point, this will start out like a benefit and a "win" for the law firms, but then they will find the quality suffering. The first time there occurs leakage of confidential, privileged, and trade secret information - sold to their contemporaries in the host company, watch what results. Problem by then is the law firm will have no enforcement mechanism, and no ability to disbar someone under the U.S. system. So, let them try it, and see how many get fired by their clients when they learn they lost the case because of some doc reviewer who didn't understand it was a trade secret. Let them hang themselves, they are in for a rude and very very expensive awakening. By that time, most of us will be on to other things, including being on staff in-house or a GC and we will have already blacklisted their law firm, since we learned first hand "back int he days" just what poor lawyers they were - since we were doing their work on "ole doc review teams"....I've seen this trend before in other industries, it will fail.

Anonymous said...

"By that time, most of us will be on to other things, including being on staff in-house or a GC "

Hahahaha!! NO ONE hires basement doc reviewers for corporate in-house or GC positions. Attorneys will REAL jobs are competing for these few, prestigious spots. A roach swatter for JPMorgan GC? Get real. Maybe Bear Stearns!

I guess it doesn't hurt to dream.

Anonymous said...

Roach Boy, you're back. Now get back on the phone and find me some more temps....

Anonymous said...

10:32, aren't you too busy with your "in-house" job to be fooling around here?? The only in-house you'll see if of the basement. Or is it GC?

Anonymous said...

Actually "in-house" jobs afford more free time on weekends, so yes I currently do have the time.

Roach boy, back to the phones!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, there is no one to call. As previously mentioned, all the useless temps are now serving as General Counsel and in-house attorneys at top corporations across the US.

Bug killing temp attorney resume= Fortune 500 General Counsel.

Got it.

selling my jd said...

here is the question:

if a document reviewer is not a real lawyer, is it OK to wear white socks inside of black socks to work ????

Anonymous said...

Outsourcing white collar jobs to India is a fad which is already starting to fade.

Wages have been driven up and even though there are nearly a billion people in India, there is a shortage of skilled white collar labor. Cost savings are going down due to wage inflation and the quality of the work product is awful.

There are also security issues involved with highly confidential, privileged or sensitive documents.

Anonymous said...

From what I've seen, it's exploding in the other direction. There has been no real job growth in the US legal market for years. Instead, it's happening in India. Many of the large multinational corporations are on board.

I wish you were right, but alas take a look around you. The good legal jobs that we all went to law school for a few and far between. Many of them are being performed offshore for a fraction of the cost. Firms and corporations have figured out the confidentiality problems, it's quite clearly a non-issue.

Outsourcing is here for good, and if you think otherwise, you are deluding yourself. It's no longer a dirty secret, it's now coming out in the seems like pretty much everyone is doing it now. One more insult to the American many more can we take?

Anonymous said...

There is only one constant and there is only thing one can count on in life: Change.

Just as the trend is developing, something else will take its place. For those firms who do not trust outsourcing, they merely will hire to the firm a fleet of "Discovery Attorneys" as a career move. I know some firms already are doing it, and allegedly some firms have let that "fleet" free from its ranks d.g. Milbank, if true. But, trust me, the winds will blow in the opposite direction, and it will do so in the U.S. With do many greedy partners who can't relocate, do you really think they will stand back and accept this state of affairs. Do not underestimate the hoards of greedy, highly competitive senior associates and partners still around who aren't about to "lose". It is called competition.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, where are the facts supporting this? "trust you" - no thanks. Take a look at the latest statistics, outsourcing is booming and the US legal market is in a death spiral. There are thousands of recent grads from law schools all over the country that have zero hope of ever finding meaningful employment in their chosen field. No one cares, because as lawyers we are loathed.

Wake up now or it's going to be too late. Many would argue that it already is. If you don't land a bigfirm job, you are going to be fighting it out with the third world for your legal career. Get used to it. They have already trained thousands and new recruits are being enlisted daily. The ABA and state and city bars have done nothing and most likely never will.

If you are waiting for the trends and tides to "change" back in favor of toilet lawyers, you will be waiting a very, very long time. The "competition" going on is you versus the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

It's over. The race to the bottom has begun. Struggling everyday to pay student loans, overpriced mortgages, and shitty health insurance premiums isn't worth it anymore - it's an exercise in futility. Even if we make it to retirement (which let's be honest most us won't, as many of us will be checking out early due to alcoholism, heart attacks, and stress) the future looks grim. The baby boomers have bankrupted our generation with their sophisticated financial schemes and oil wars. As if they haven't screwed us enough, they are now sending our jobs to India. One generation has singlehandedly destroyed America.

Anonymous said...

The greatest generation had FDR, Clarence Darrow, and Felix Frankfurter.

This generation has George W. Bush, Scott Krowitz, and David Gelfand.

Anonymous said...

"slow" growth in India, lol. India - 9%, USA - 2%

India Says GDP May Cool,
Weighs More Export Bans
April 21, 2008 2:10 p.m.

NEW DELHI -- Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram signaled that the nation's growth rate could slow this financial year and that the government is prepared to ban exports in more industries in a bid to stanch rising inflation.

He said "anything between 8% and 9%" growth in gross domestic product in the year ending March 31, 2009, is "welcome and acceptable." Some economists forecast that India's economy, after averaging growth just shy of 9% for the past five years, may slow to about 7% this year because of the slowdown in the global economy.

Mr. Chidambaram said in an interview that it was too early to make a specific forecast because the direction of the economy would be clearer after the monsoon season and the subsequent harvest. India's monsoons start sweeping across the country about June and continues to about September. But he added, "We must aim at 9%, as I will, and we must be happy if it's between 8% and 9%." India's GDP rose by 9.6% in the year ended March 31, 2007, and is estimated to have grown by 8.7% in the year ended March 31.

"The distance between India and China is in fact increasing, not reducing, because China's growth rate is faster. We want to catch up with China, but that requires greater political consensus on the needed reforms." Read the transcript.

Mr. Chidambaram said soaring prices of rice and other basic food items are a worry. "It is a matter of concern in a developing country and in a country where a large number of people are poor and the bulk of household expenditure is for food," he said.

High food prices also are fueling rising inflation in India, as well as inflationary expectations. Wholesale-price inflation is running in excess of 7% on an annual basis. India's rising consumption also is driving inflation higher. The upper limit of the government and central bank's comfort zone for inflation is close to 5%.

"Inflationary expectation is driving prices," he said. "So we have to break this expectation by telling people that prices will moderate, they should not buy more than what they need to buy and they should not pay more if they think that the price rise is unjustified." Inflation also is being stoked by a mismatch of supply and demand, he added, and by cartel-like behavior in some sectors of the economy. The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, India's antitrust regulator, has begun inquiries in the rubber, cement and steel sectors, he said.

The government also has cut some exports and taken action to reduce food prices, such as banning the export of rice other than basmati and increasing the minimum export price of basmati rice, one of India's signature exports.

The government would consider further bans, Mr. Chidambaram said, even though he acknowledged that such moves go against the principles of free trade. "As a short term measure...we will consider such bans, too." India's ministries of steel and commerce have proposed some export bans in the steel sector, he pointed out. But further bans on food exports are less likely because "export of food items is virtually banned" already, he said. India's government has been making moves aimed at lowering food prices, both by banning exports and reducing import duties. For instance, it recently prohibited export of all edible oils.

Indian authorities have been moving to stem inflation. Last Thursday, India's central bank effectively restricted the amount of money banks can lend. Despite India's high inflation, the much needed build-out of the country's infrastructure isn't being hurt, Mr. Chidambaram said.

Despite an 18% drop in the country's benchmark stock-market index this year, Mr. Chidambaram said India still remains a good place to invest. He pointed out that in the year ended March 31, 2006, investor returns from the stock market were 40%, as they were for the following financial year. In the year to March 31, 2008, despite recent declines in the stock market, the overall annual return was about 27%, he said.

"This still remains one of the most attractive markets for any investor," the finance minister said. "The question is no longer, 'Shall I invest in India?' The question is, 'Can I afford not to invest in India?'"

The divergence between India's growth rate and that of China is a cause for concern, he said. China recently reported first-quarter GDP growth of 10.6%. "We want to catch up with China," said the finance minister, pointing out the distance between the two countries' growth paths was increasing. But catching up requires "greater political consensus on the needed reforms" in India.

Without opposition or the need to build consensus, China's nondemocratic government can be quicker in spurring economic growth, he said.

"They are in the position to take some decisions which we are not," said Mr. Chidambaram. "We have to follow a process that is more consultative, more deliberative and more amenable to judicial scrutiny."

Anonymous said...

"They are in the position to take some decisions which we are not."

Repressive, anti-democratic regimes are good for business. This whole free trade thing is working out great.

Anonymous said...

David Perla's Latest....

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The "R" Word: Further comments about recession's impact on LPO

The "R" Word - by David Perla, Co-CEO, Pangea3

Recession is on everyone's mind, but the word everyone is trying to avoid saying. For starters, let's acknowledge what we all know: The U.S. economy is in very bad shape, and it's going to either get worse or stay this way for the rest of 2008, and perhaps much longer. The question on everyone's mind in the legal process outsourcing industry, and in the outsourcing industry in general, is whether this will have a positive or negative impact on 2008 for LPO and for other outsourcing players. I just returned from India, and everyone on our team was talking, often softly but always inquisitively, about the U.S. economy. Not less than three of Pangea3's team members, one in each of our Patent, Litigation and Corporate channels, asked me largely the same question: "David - is the recession good for Pangea3 or bad for Pangea3? And what are our plans for continuing to grow in this recession?"

First, I'm always impressed that young professionals thousands of miles away appreciate and think about the global impact of the U.S. economy, both generally and on India outsourcing businesses specifically. Second, the question forces LPO players to think both about how we will be impacted and what we can do to make lemonade out of lemons.

In my humble opinion, the recession is going to be both bad and good for outsourcing and legal outsourcing businesses, depending on their size, market footprint, industry base and the amount that their clients spend on outsourcing as a proportion of the total amount spent on that function (such as finance, HR, legal, technology, etc.).

In short, I predict that the recession will have
(1) a positive impact on the LPO industry,
(2) a decidedly mixed-to-negative impact on the more developed areas of the outsourcing industry, such as technology and BPO and
(3) disastrous impacts for small players in all industries.

Here's why:
Cash is King: In a recession, cash is king, as companies undertake measures to bolster and protect the current assets portion of their balance sheets. In that environment, companies will cut spending in traditional areas, such as marketing, IT and R & D, but also look for ways to cut spending in more rarely touched cash-consuming cost centers, of which the corporate legal department is among the worst offenders. Moreover, because legal outsourcing is so new, most in-house legal departments have not yet taken advantage of the cash-preservation opportunities afforded by LPO. When those in-house legal departments get squeezed to spend less cash, as they surely will, legal outsourcing will offer them the opportunity.

Litigation: In this recession, everyone is looking for a culprit, and the litigation bloodbath is just beginning. Witness shareholder and related litigation on just the Bear Stearns debacle alone. Litigation activity related to the recession will increase, and the resulting litigations will be, not surprisingly, discovery heavy. Combine this increase in litigation with the need to preserve cash, and litigants will look to India as a discovery solution. It's happening already, as most of the top LPO providers have seen a marked increase in litigation business in the last six months.

Market Awareness: Coincidentally, this recession is hitting at exactly the same time that market awareness of LPO is exploding, along with the growing acceptance by law firms that they simply must find ways to help their clients reduce spending, especially on litigation. So the demand to cut legal costs, together with the increasingly widespread awareness and acceptance of outsourcing to India as a viable and desirable option, will move both in-house legal work and law firm work to India based legal outsourcing companies. Thus, I expect that legal outsourcing providers (at least the good/big ones) will see a spike in business in this economic environment. However, two types of outsourcing providers will suffer:
(1) small LPO providers and
(2) providers of outsourcing services where the client spend on that service is going to be cut, along with other expenses.

Small LPO's: Pangea3 and its peer LPO's are already seeing a massive influx of resumes from smaller LPO players - those same players that just last year were enthusiastically recruiting and creating wage inflation in the Indian legal services market. In a market like this, two dynamics work against a smaller/newer player. First, US and European companies flee to quality, because outsourcing legal services to India is no longer viewed as an experiment - it is a business imperative, for those companies going this route. Second, the market itself has delivered a double-whammy to LPO providers: (1) wage inflation, which was largely created by the new entrants themselves, and (2) a strong Indian Rupee. Combine those two factors with the relative glut of small players and an inability of those players to demonstrate true quality and staying power (both of which big law firms and in-house legal departments demand) and it's game over for many of them. All new and dislocative industries go through rapid growth followed by consolidation, and I think we're in the beginning of the consolidation phase. I lived through just this dynamic in the online recruitment industry while at, from 1999 through 2004, and history tends to repeat itself - as least economic history. I'm not suggesting that we will see acquisitions or mergers of legal outsourcing providers this year, but I submit that there will be fewer players at the end of 2008 than there are now, but that the leaders and high-quality providers will emerge bigger, faster and stronger. The same thing occurred during our last recession, with the winners in Indian IT and business process outsourcing emerging as major global companies. The blogosphere has a long memory, so let's re-visit this a year from now.

Other Outsourcing Companies: The story is going to be slightly different for outsourcing companies outside of legal services outsourcing. In certain other outsourcing industries, outsourcing to India, the Philippines and other global destinations has become the norm rather than the exception. In those cases, the budgets being spent on outsourcing will be cut alongside the budgets for that function in general, such as IT, marketing and HR, to name just a few. So the consumers of those outsourced services certainly prefer buying those services offshore to onshore - but they'll cut the entire budget, including the offshore component. Witness the cancellation of certain big outsourcing contracts already, and expect more such cancellations and modifications. The exception will be those outsourcing companies that are perceived as best-in-class, which companies will be able to land more new business from clients that have not yet offshored core cost center services, and who will do so in 2008 and 2009 as a way to . . . preserve cash. So the best players (not necessarily the biggest) should stand to gain, while the mammoths run the risk of being the victim of contract cancellations. That's a long answer to a difficult but important question. However this plays out, 2008 is going to be a very bumpy year, with a lot of pain for a lot of people. But ultimately, expect to see LPO much bigger, much stronger and much more mainstream come Spring 2009.

Anonymous said...

You guys can believe the sky is falling all you want. I know people who are involved in outsourcing projects. Wages in India are going up because there is a shortage of white collar labor. Not only that, but there is a capital investment associated with outsourcing, yet banks are less than willing to lend money for capital investments.

However, that doesn't mean other countries with even cheaper labor couldn't eventually fill the gap. It turns out that a global economy means a lower standard of living and flat to declining wages for those in the U.S. Who knew?

Anonymous said...

The person above who mocks my "trust me" comment misinterprets. I am aboslutely not implying wait around for the return of NYC temp work. Please. What I am saying is that Anerican law firms and lawyers will be forced by the market to develop a response to the "obvious". When Shearman and Sterling closed its FRG office (as announced today) it means that the EU law firms finally no longer "need" US law firms for their own business. They now have the US clients and the EU attorneys trained in both US and EU law, but who speak 5 languages. Merely competition. Cut out the U.S. now, since Uncle Shearman basically delivered the client base tot he FRG firm replacing them in the EU e.g. we were doing Shearman's work in FRG for US multinationals and essentially fee splitting. Since we've always been doing the work, cut them out e.g. sell the client on the fact we now have US trained EU attorneys in FRG, forget NYC. I know for a fact that NYC metro firms, somewhat smaller and somewhat larger than Shearman, are struggling. BUT, when it starts hitting that level - since they all are connected to the ABA types, don't you think they'll have other choice but to react. The question is "how". Unless the real issue is that this generation of business "leaders" and "leaders" in the law are so
"soft" that they don't know how to compete because they haven't ever been truly competively "hungry". Once "hungry", I put my bets on someone leading the charge to change. Whether or not their our real leaders is totally dependent on whether they have a world view, are critical thinkers,innovative, etc. Hence, what has the "dumbing down" and "equalization for the sake of even the less talented in U.S. education solely for the purposer of everyone feeling equallly entitled as the "gifted" gotten us? In Europe,legal and other professional training at what is our undergraduate level is open to everyone for free, but it is merit that keeps you there. They start with 800, and by the end of 3-4 years, there only 100-250 left who actually get the "degree", because those who didn't were "examed out" when didn't meet standards. Here, it seems anyone get can a legal degree, and it is unrelated to the reality of globalization and the need for lawyers trained in the legal systems of multiple jurisidictions, and who also have language skills.

Don't you think someone soon at the ABA and in law schools will finally "get it" and make the adjustment to return our market to one that is actually competitive in legal services. If theydon't, it dies. I say, Americans are competitive and creative. I don't give up in the face of long oddds.

Anonymous said...

fk you

Anonymous said...

Maybe you want to reconsider your last remark, by reading the below story from pertaining to Quinn Emanuel's new hire partner for the London office setting up a their litigation team in London - using UK attorneys for litigation in EU. It supports my comments. The litigation upon which many of us have worked over the years in NYC, now will be handled in London et al.......taking away not only general corporate business from firms in NYC. When the NYC firms' corporate and transaction revenues were hit in the past due to economic times such as now, they put emphasis on their litigation departments and staffed up. What Quinn is doing serves the purposes of by passing NYC, and giving it to UK attorneys, although working under the umbrella of a US firm's structure in London. Heh, you think times are tough now for contract attorneys, it is going to get worse. Here is one way American attorneys are reacting to the competition, but in this case it doesn't help NYC (U.S.)attorneys. London only holds so much of a pie....over time, that market will become saturated, and things will change in a new direction. I still think those American attorneys back home who have mouths to feed will still come up with a solution...but it will take time. There will be down side eventually, and I'll keep my bets someone will force a change. I prefer my point of view of optimism.

Anonymous said...

It will only get worse. The 'white collar' economy is going thru changes that the 'blue collar' economy went thru 30 years ago. It was ugly. Sue your law schools because it will be the only way you will ever get out of debt.

Anonymous said...

the contract, freelance jobs and freelance editing can be found at

Anonymous said...

@David Perla,

Things are going too well for your company any longer, are they? You recently laid off your entire batch of fresh engineer recruits in India.