"Unlike previous recessions, during which lawsuit filings increased, litigation this time is down sharply because the credit crunch is forcing corporations to curtail their legal spending, experts said.
Law firms spend as much as $40 billion a year on document review, experts said.
Over the past six months, the work more and more has been outsourced to lawyers in such faraway places as India. Since 2006, the number of lawyers working at offshore firms doubled to 2,000, said Ron Friedmann, senior vice president for marketing at Arlington-based outsourcing company Integreon.
Five years ago, the companies mainly digitized legal documents for law firms. Now corporate legal departments are hiring the companies to save on spending by their outside firms. And the companies' staff lawyers are being called upon to review the documents, work previously done by the firms' associates and paralegals.
'We have 300 people in India. We've added 50 people' in recent months, said Michael J. Dolan, chief executive of the Tusker Group in Austin. Dolan said his lawyers charge $25 an hour, compared with $150 to $300 an hour billed by paralegals and associates doing the same work at law firms. 'We're in the process of adding another 30 people.'"