Business Week writes about the emerging practice of offshoring some legal services to low wage countries:
On the seventh floor of an old office building on the outskirts of Manila, 30 Filipino attorneys, including three who have passed U.S. bar exams, are seated elbow—to—elbow with 50 other staff at long tables crammed with PCs. Working in three shifts seven days a week, they read, analyze, and annotate digital images of memos, payroll and medical records, old engineering specs, and other documents that might be used as evidence in DuPont legal cases.
The operation is part of a tieup between DuPont and offshoring shop OfficeTiger (RRD ) that is testing the limits of how far legal services outsourcing can go. Attorneys and others in OfficeTiger's Philippines and India offices are helping out on more than a dozen projects, from monitoring old contracts and licensing agreements to managing documentary evidence for product—liability cases. "We want to be the center of excellence for this whole area of offshore document management," says DuPont assistant general counsel Thomas L. Sager.
The most important project is processing 2 million pages of documents vital to a DuPont case against 10 insurers. DuPont aims to recover more than $100 million in payouts to thousands of former pipefitters, insulators, mechanics, and other workers who claimed their illnesses came from exposure to asbestos in DuPont facilities. Much of the work is tedious: digitizing and indexing decades—old paperwork. But some requires judgment normally provided by U.S. lawyers, such as determining whether documents are relevant to a case or violate
Ed Lasky: If only this would hurt the Lawyers who support Democrats....
Thomas Lifson: I fear the worst. The big time class action lawyers and other tort magnates will rake in even more money if they can outsource the grunt work. In fact, by lowering the back office costs of litigation, it will lower the threshold and enable even more suits to be brought.
Needless to say, the Democrats will continue to earn their rake—off by opposing tort reform, enabling the entire "industry" to flourish at the expense of the productive sector.
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