Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Outsourcing A-Okay, Says ABA

"Though lawyers, they are as vociferous in their opposition to outsourcing as union members. After Perla compared the skills of U.S. contract lawyers unfavorably with those of Pangea3 lawyers in an interview with the Law Journal earlier this year, he was vilified in online message boards and blogs frequented by contract lawyers. The blog "Temporary Attorney: the Sweatshop Edition" called Perla an "anti-American traitor."

Scott Bullock, a contract lawyer who has blogged about the woeful economics of non-big-firm practice, said, "It's just preposterous that we have to go to an American law school and pass a bar exam and then see our jobs shipped overseas. Why even require people to go to law school?"

But Bullock said he was not surprised to see the ABA back outsourcing. He said the bar group is widely perceived among contract lawyers as representing the interests of wealthy partners at large law firms."


http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202424085117

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Top India Law Salary: $7K + Stock Options

Posted Oct 1, 2007, 04:51 pm CDT
By Martha Neil

The starting annual salary for a graduate of one of India's top law schools working in an outsourced position for a major U.S. law firm is less than an American counterpart earns in a single month if employed by the firm directly.

But the job has some nice benefits, at least potentially—stock options and servers to freshen up your coffee at your desk, for instance. And those who work there say they are happy to have the job, reports the ABA Journal in a feature article, "Manhattan Work at Mumbai Prices."

Take Aditi Tulpule, for instance. The 32-year-old has degrees both from a top Indian law school and an institution in Great Britain. She is licensed to practice in both countries. And, in an arrangement that is becoming increasingly commonplace, she works in India doing work for American lawyers such as abstracting leases, drafting contracts and document review. While she won't say what she makes, a source tells the magazine that $6,000 to $7,000 is a good starting salary for a newly minted lawyer there.

Read more about Tulpule's work at the Mumbai office of Pangea3, one of India's hottest legal outsourcing companies.

Anonymous said...

The Feds need to criminalize the outsourcing of legal work to India since its a treasonous act.

First offense: up to 10 years in Federal prison. Subsequent offenses, up to 40 years.

Anonymous said...

JDU is also discussing this:

http://www.jdunderground.com/thread.php?threadId=19986

-pincheguero

PoppaSquat said...

Scott is absolutely right. Continue to open TTTs all over the country and take away the only viable option that most of these grads have to make a decent wage after they have been duped into the fallacy that lawyers all make tons of cash and have wonderfully fulfilling lives.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if we have standing to sue the ABA and all the law schools jointly on a misreprentation theory. They continue the fallacy that this is a lucrative profession.

Anonymous said...

Don't our discovery laws require that documents be reviewed, verified, whatever, bya licensed attorney? Doesn't that mean an licensed US attorney? Are the firms using outsourced attorneys for document review and relying on their review breaking the law?

Anonymous said...

Don't try to rationalize it. It makes no sense. The bottom line is that it saves biglaw and corporations money, hence it is deemed as being ethical, whatever that means.

Anonymous said...

The best part is that the ABA just backed outsourcing U.S. legal work to India, while India prevents foreign firms from practicing in India. Way to go!

http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11090513

Anonymous said...

This is why there is a sub-prime crisis in this country. Mandate that people attend expensive ABA schools and undertake mountains of non-dischargeable loans, and when they get out shift all their jobs overseas.

Anonymous said...

Just a disgrace. At this pace, I am better off seeking a union doorman's job in a Manhattan coop building. These jerks need to be bitch slapped for ruining the profession.

Anonymous said...

2:34: There will be no standing granted while there are still intelligent students coming out of law school into Big law and industrious attorneys that find a way to make money or keep themselves fulfilled without resorting to spewing self-entitled rants on a blog, while they should be working.

2:58: there has not yet been a test-case regarding your question. Basically, I would assume that there are no firms willing to test this practice knowing that they may one day be resorting to out-sourcing.

Anonymous said...

The ABA has balls. I graduated a U.S. law school and passed a state bar. Shortly thereafter they allowed more graduates and schools to flood the market. Now they sanction outsourcing. So we have an over-supply of JD's here, and outsourced work going to India. Screw them and their turbins.

Education will be outsourced next. Classes will be taught via video conferencing. There will be a dot head on a wide screen teaching math. A teacher's aid from the U.S. will protor the exams and forward the tests via the internet to Mumbai.

Anonymous said...

The only hope for the outsourcing fiasco is what has been happening in IT outsourcing for years, the quality of work is so fucking bad, the big businesses get pissed off and pull out. This happened (But in Slovakia) recently, a whole operation was shut down because they kept fucking up; and ask any Wall Street investment banker about the work product of Indians, its dismal.

Anonymous said...

I see it as, either you're a lawyer (attorney) or you're not; and I object almost as much to non-lawyers in the U.S. (i.e. not yet called to the bar) doing document review as those overseas doing it. Or to put it another way, if it's okay to have non-lawyers in the U.S. working on document review, it's okay to have non-lawyers overseas (aside from concerns of privilege, confidentiality, oversight, etc.).

A summary on the ABA website is at:

http://www.abanet.org/abanet/media/release/news_release.cfm?releaseid=435

The summary notes that "Regarding fees, the opinion says outsourcing lawyers may pass along to the client the costs of using the service provider, including a reasonable allocation of associated overhead expenses, but “no markup is permitted.” The committee also acknowledges it lacks authority to express an opinion about whether any particular service provider is engaging in unauthorized practice of law, but cautions that if the service provider is found to be not authorized to practice law, and the outsourcing lawyer facilitated that violation, the outsourcing lawyer will have violated ethical rules."

Which suggests that law firms may actually have an incentive to use lawyers (i.e. called to a U.S. bar), because then they can "mark up" their fees as they do with associates, whereas if they use non-lawyers, overseas or not, it's more like a disbursement...

Mr. Itchypants said...

5:17

I think our educational system would benefit from what you describe.

I bet the Indians don't complain as much as entitled Americans lawyers do. Do you think they went to lawschool for a pipedream like all of the disgruntled lawyers on this website did?

I wouldn't put up with a bunch of lazy, entitled whiners either.

Anonymous said...

The Indians don't complain because they weren't required by the ABA to pay an insane amount of money to attend law school. This is totally unfair and nothing short of thievery.

Anonymous said...

Yep, just another dismissive slap in the face to the TTT attorneys who were able to survive on doc review, but have no voice, aside from occasional rants. The partners will still stick their feet up on the desk, greedily snap their suspenders all the while bullshitting clients about "cost savings" by shipping jobs held by hard working, licensed attorneys to some unqualified clicker in India. Any hint of status or stability in doc review is now immoliated.

Time to leave the law asap. I don't care anymore about the lemmings in law school, we've tried in vain to stem the flow, but alas, they are greedy lemmings and they somehow deserve the grim, jobless fate for which the bulk of them headed.

Now the rates will continue to plummet as the green light has be given for the sleazy David Perla's of the world, shipping American jobs overseas.

Just one more hideous of out of control greed run amok.

Anonymous said...

If the Indians really are better at doing this king of work, let them do it. The problem is why is the ABA unfairly discriminating against Americans by forcing them to attend expensive law schools, making them pass rigorous licensing exams, and making them pay outrageous biannual licensing fees?

Anonymous said...

If I refuse to pay for expensive CLE's (money which once again goes mainly into the pockets of biglaw) and I refuse to pay the state money to upkeep my license, I guarantee no one will be calling me for one of these jobs. Meanwhile, Indian lawyers that bypass all of these required mandates will be hired. Why I am being discriminated against just because I am an American?

Anonymous said...

I'd also move my doc review out of here. At least the foreign attorneys don't show up drunk and high to work.

Best of all is this 3 years of complaining about temping, and now crying that the jobs you whine over are leaving you altogether!

And for those of you that thought FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS that this POS blog was going to "do something", joke is on you!

HAHAHAHA

Anonymous said...

May all the bloated ABA bastards be impotent and drop dead from heart attacks. They have ruined so many others' lives.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, 7:35 is correct, even roach boy gets one right every so often.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that a lot of crying about every other project being a sweatshop was total bs, even if we all said that doc review was the best thing to happen since sliced bread, there would still be a push to outsource.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 5:17. You're a racist piece of shit. Dotheads? Turbans? Fuck you, asshole. Also, learn to spell, idiot. It's "turbans," not "turbins."

Anonymous said...

Why do you folks seem so shocked?

Don't you realize by now that "globalization" is one of the tacks of "The New World Order?"

Read up on it. Google "New World Order."

Anonymous said...

I understand some of you feeling threatened, but is it necessary to make comments (and incorrectly spelled with extremely poor grammar) such as:

"Screw them and their turbins" (TURBANS is the correct spelling)

"A dot head" - how on earth can this website justify allowing comments such as that to be published? - I invite the website owner to respond.

Frankly with all the grammatical mistakes, some of the so basic it beggars belief "David Perla's" is NOT A PLURAL - I'm not surprised at all that major law firms and corporations are looking for an alternative.

Here is a thought: Stop complaining, work harder, learn new skills relevant to the global economy that we now operate in, brush up on your spelling, and perhaps, just perhaps, one of these extremely gracious and kind Indian businessmen or attorneys at some point in the future will forgive you for your vile, racist, beliefs and employ you as a janitor.

Anonymous said...

9:06, sorry about the mispelling of "turban." However, it doesn't change the plain facts of this situation. We might all have to wear turbans soon to stay employed.

Anonymous said...

I hope you all fucking die of cancer.

Anonymous said...

10:19, you must be a genius. What are you doing on such an awlful site? Slumming it?

Anonymous said...

I'm not standing up for Indians (dot heads) like these other retards. Indians are the most despicable race on the planet; they are lazy, immoral, corrupt, dirty, they stink of curry, and are always willing to break the rules. I worked with Indian vermin for years and I despise them.

Anonymous said...

Since it appears a JD is no longer required to do U.S. legal work anymore, doesn't that mean that the ABA's accredidation job is now superfluous?

Anonymous said...

7:08 ... Great point.

Anonymous said...

The ABA should be abolished...they are too rich and out of touch with the rank and file attorneys.

trollop said...

7:35

Yes, even roach boy gets one right. It's important to note that the clickers were pretty much just high in lawschool--they were always looking for weed and only drank when they couldn't get anything. As docreviewers, they "party" just as much, it's just at home all alone.

And they laughed at the law review "losers" because they were so "square."

Anonymous said...

"Here is a thought: Stop complaining, work harder, learn new skills relevant to the global economy that we now operate in, brush up on your spelling, and perhaps, just perhaps, one of these extremely gracious and kind Indian businessmen or attorneys at some point in the future will forgive you for your vile, racist, beliefs and employ you as a janitor."

At $7k + Stock Options.

Anonymous said...

10:19 must have many skills relevant to the new global economy. That is why he is reading a blog for temp attorneys. This site is full of great minds.

What he fails to understand is we are unfortunately exercising the skills relevant to the new global economy....pointing and clicking in a basement. The new global economy exports law jobs to India over to the internet. When he discovers the work is going to dot heads wearing turbans, he will understand what the new global economy is all about.

Anonymous said...

What's up with that Trollop? Why's he on Roach Boy's nuts? Maybe he IS Roach Boy.

Click. Click. Click. (Go to the bathroom and masturbate for the fourth consecutive hour, grab a smoke) Click. Click. Click.

Anonymous said...

"...ask any Wall Street investment banker about the work product of Indians, its dismal.

5:22 PM"

When I worked as a Computer Programmer, I was constantly having to "fix" Indian workproduct. The software would not run or worked incorrectly, e.g. Windows Vista. I ask a VP why we are contracting out for software that didn't work. He said simply "they're cheap!" It's like the Chinese junk at Wal MArt. It's cheap crap made by cheap labor. Nothing more nothing less.

Anonymous said...

The global economy is about the race to the bottom for large organizations rather than prosperity for many. The race to the bottom means finding the nation with the lowest pay, benefits, labor laws and environmental standards, and moving business operations there. Then pressure domestic policies and industries, including white collar positions such as engineering and now the legal industry, so that one can replicate those conditions in the domestic market. If you can do this with tax benefits passed off as tax cuts for all, even better. The only people who don't understand this are Americans. The rest of the world understands the games and plans accordingly. We simply leave it up to the invidual to nagivate in a market that's not built in favor of individualism. It favors large companies able to move and use labor cheaply. Not individual works who aren't able to do the same or bargain on an even playing field. Welcome to America.

Anonymous said...

Re New Skills

This, of course, is a joke. Not because learning new skills is a bad thing, but because new skills are irrelevant to the process that's occuring. Whatever new skills you learn will quickly be taught to the labor that is the cheapest, again in large part due to low standard of living in host countries, uneven labor practices that favor real sweat shops (versus contract attorney versions), non-existent environmental and OSHA laws, etc. There is no way to educate yourself out of this mess. It's the intended structure of the market approach that Americans, in their ignorance, have adopted. there are other models for capitalism, but we choose this one and choose instead to hold up to fantasy about it being better than the rest of the world. That may have been true once, but our time is quickly passing because the real way in which Americans aren't adapting is to accept the reality of what's occuring, and instead burying our heads. This isn't again the Indians fault or Chinese or whoever esle want to blame. It's ours for fall ing for delusion.

Anonymous said...

The quality of the work is irrelevant. Besides, the largely foreign trained doc reviewers in NYC do most of the doc review anyway. The Nigerians and others that overwhelm the temp projects there are further delivering the death knell. The associates and staff attorneys will clean up any work that foreigners have screwed up, as they do now. I don't think there will be much difference, ultimately. The doc review system as developed is just a billing scheme and anyone can do the work. Young, fresh and hungy graduates from emerging nations are good candidates.

Firms and their clients will flee in droves to India now. Do you really think they want TTT attorneys or people that barely speak English babbling into their cell phones in firm hallways and vacant offices?

No, they don't. Bigfirms are elitist by nature and will be very, very happy to unload this huge problem to India, where they won't have to see the unfortunates and outcasts that populate these projects. Now they have the greenlight, so time for US doc reviewers to find another way to make a living.

Many already conduct their reviews offsite, why not just move it to India?

Clever Nigerians and others will not return to their homelands to open up outsource firms.

Anonymous said...

I think this blog should be changed to hypocrites anonymous. First you guys bitch about how deplorable the temping situation is, call people names, and whine about how law schools held you up at gun point, made you take the LSAT, pay them thousands of dollars, and threw you on the streets. Then you guys bitch about how those crappy jobs are being outsourced. You guys said it yourselves...you don't even need to have a JD to do the stuff your doing and all you do is point and click on the computer all day. Why should a firm pay a bunch of whiners $50/hour when they can get the same work product for much less (and more content employees I might add)? If the Indian firms fail, then good for y'all...the firms will come running back to you. But you guys are not making a good case for keeping those jobs here in the states when all you do is bitch and moan. Suck it up, it's a down economy. Don't act entitled to a job just because 25% of law students were smart or lucky enough to get those jobs. If you are in a continual rut, move from NYC. I don't get why everyone wants to move to NYC when they dont have the law school stats to make it as a biglaw associate or whatever dream job you want. Move to a smaller job market.

Before you blast me, I am also unemployed waiting for bar results. I am contract at a firm getting paid $10/hour. It sucks but I'm dealing with it. Chill out, go to work, and be thankful you don't live in India.

Anonymous said...

2:24

One of the best things to ever happen in this country was to brainwash folks like you. How anyone can go into a rant over personal choice when structural changes to the entire market is the topic is beyond me. You also do not characterize the situation correctly. Here's a dirty little secret- most jobs, including those of partners at large law firms could be taught and done by non-attorneys. The question is whether or not the standards the ABA requires of attorneys domestically are indeed necessary to doing the job. If not, then why do they require them of us? Why the additional cost to not just us, but future American lawyers, of going to a three year school? If not, then , why the bar exam? If not, then why the CLE requirements? Are you such as sheep that you aren't curious why they required you to be admitted into the bar, but not the outsourced attorneys? Does it mean you are irrelevant and obsolete before you even start? If that's the case, who is the position to have let you know that these structural changes were going to be decided- the people planning to make those changes or you, some naive law school graduate. As a future lawyer, I hope you understand the concepts I am describing because your clients will want a higher level of thinking.

Anonymous said...

Yes things change, but I don't hear anyone championing the cause against the change for manufacturers, telecommunications and the like. I also agree that taking an exam like the bar is pointless and that the ABA would be better off reducing the number of crappy law schools to protect the practice of law. The jobs being outsourced do not require a law license so long as someone who is licensed is doing some oversight. This is the same thing as having a firm full of summer associates doing projects being signed off by an associate or a contract project that is open to people who do not have a bar license yet. I wouldn't be surprised if a major case fails because of this outsourcing and the ABA eventually changing its position. Until then just be freaking thankful that you have a job in the meantime, even though it's mindnumbingly boring.

I think the people on this blog would bitch and complain no matter what their circumstance is. I can guarantee you that if the people here did have biglaw jobs right out of law school, they would be the same whiners who were complaining about being paid $145K before it changed to $160K and will still complain about how their salaries should be $190K. Or complain that firm A has a better partnership track or firm B has better billable hours or firm C gets multi-colored highlighters and your firm doesn't. I had a job offer at a firm paying six figures before graduation - the market changed and I got laid off. Yeah I'm pissed and I am struggling at a job paying $10/hour, but I am not going to let it consume my life and blame everyone else in the world for my problems. If you guys will stop complaining, be proactive, and start acting like a lawyer, maybe people will treat you as one.

Anonymous said...

2:55

The problem with your thought process is you don't know how to separate out what individual and shared responsibility. We are all responsible for o ur own actions, but we aren't islands. We live in a greater society. if that greater society changes the rules, it doesn't mean we lack responsibility for our actions, it means the greater society changed the rules. The chief problem with your post is the continued brainwashing of America. For example, you point out that this is occuring other industries. Yeah, it is. That's the point. This is a continuation of a process that's destroying the American middle class. This outsourcing is just another among many examples. That's why your reliance on individual behaviors misses the point entirely. Or, in other words, it doesn't matter whether people here are 'whining"- they aren't the point. The loss of the American m iddle class is, and this is just more fodder toward that. It was once argued that services job, and high end white collar jobs wouldn't be affected. That the only jobs that would be affected would be blue collar jobs. But that's now proving to be a lie.

Anonymous said...

Follow up

You may want to one day pick your head up enough to ask yourself why you are earning what you are earning, and why that is less than your father made before you.

Anonymous said...

In all seriousness, if you are only making 10 an hour than I feel for you. What sucks when you make that kind of money is you really have to work for it. I know you think we doc reviewers are whiners, but you really need to think of joining the club for your financial health.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Labor Day is a good day to strike? You know, because the agencies owe us labor and work and stuff...

How's about it?

Anonymous said...

fuk u. Entertain us

Anonymous said...

Happy Labor Day to contract attorneys and toileteers everywhere!

Luong Dong said...

Happy Labor Day Clickers. Slutty temps work overtime.

Anonymous said...

Are we still at war with the agencies? I think some of you mentioned this and I wasn't sure. Should we wear our fatigues to work tomorrow? Please advise.

Anonymous said...

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The Joker said...

You know what I noticed? Nobody ever panics when things go "according to plan", no matter how horrifying the plan really is. I could tell the press tomorrow that like, a Cooley grad will make $25,000 a year as a lawyer, or that a document reviewer will get carpal tunnel syndrome from clicking, yet not get any health insurance coverage, nobody panics, because _it's all part of the plan_. But when I say that one little Bar Association has to actually represent the interests of 70% of its members, well then everyone LOSES THEIR MINDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, losing one's mind is part of being a POW. That's what we all are. POWs!!!!!!!

We are at war and the agencies have us prisoner! And the firms too!

Anonymous said...

The ABA's top echelon is comprised of partners from firms such as Skadden. These firms represent multinationals who went a foothold in markets such as India and other emerging new markets. There probably are restrictions in these countries on these firms re satellite full service law firm satellite office, with EU, US, and Indian attorneys on staff. Certainly, trade barriers keeping out US law firm will be in place. A good way around this is to stealthly begin with outsourcing.....eventually, that will lay groundwork for other expansions.....the issue is that the ABA will go out of its way to assist U.S. law firms compete with EU and UK/FRG law firms, in addition to firms in Singapore and PRC......this is about trade, this is not about law school grads' problems. Over time, many of these emerging markets will contract and face their own inflationary pressures, and the tide will turn the other way....alot of hoopla about nothing. It is pure international trade, and the ABA is helping the U.S. law firms and attorneys compete - with great costs to people like us....there is only so much you can do to fight the tide......spitting in the wind. Give it up.

Anonymous said...

Overtime? Look, who do you think your audience is here? Do you think we are all without knowlege of economic issues? My economics professor (who specialized in economic issues in developing countries) used to say that in the long run we are all dead. What he meant is that while we are waiting for your undefined "overtime" major damage could and will have occured. If you want to fight over understanding economic issues- I am more than happy to oblige- but don't come here with these insulting Econ 101 arguments.

Anonymous said...

re: 8:47 Blogger.....why is it that anytime someone contributes a comment reflecting deeper thought than what normally appears herein readers respond with hostility? Whoever wrote the blog pointing out "reality" to us just isn't towing the line of "victimization" that apparently most readers want to see.....I rarely check this blog, but what is far more insulting to me is 8:47's reaction....she/he just doesn't want to hear anything other than what she/he believes is the "x" factor creating their frustration....stick your head deeper under the sand....