Friday, March 14, 2008

Offshore legal outsourcing sparks concerns, and marketing strategies

There has recently been an emergence of legal outsourcing companies that send work traditionally done by associates and paralegals overseas. India seems to be a common home for these practices. The work reportedly outsourced includes legal research and writing, document review, and other tasks.

As a practicing attorney, I have always felt a little queasy about foreign outsourcing of legal work, but I hadn't ever sat down and listed out the potential concerns. However, I stumbled across a recent blog entry from someone who does not even appear to be part of the legal industry, that had an amazingly insightful list of concerns that law firms and clients should have about the practice. The most troubling concern raised was that of foreign nationals having access to highly sensitive client information that could easily be sold to the highest bidder, with absolutely no recourse for the U.S. client. Other concerns with the practice of course include the inability of the responsible attorney to adequately supervise subordinates in other countries, lowered ability to confirm qualifications, and possible problems with unauthorized practice of law.

As with rising associate salaries, increases in outsourcing of legal and paralegal work, but with simultaneous concerns about the practice, present a marketing opportunity for freelancers.

Marketing efforts can focus on education about legal outsourcing as well as offering your services. For example, prepare a brochure citing the rise in legal outsourcing by law firms wanting to reduce costs, then explain how local outsourcing (i.e. outsourcing work to you) provides the same cost-cutting benefits while avoiding the possible problems inherent in offshore outsourcing.

Welcome novice law firms into the concept of local legal outsourcing with an offer they cannot refuse – a money-back guarantee or a reduced rate on your first project. Then, and above all, DO QUALITY WORK. There is no better source of referrals than satisfied customers.

No comments: