It may still be a nascent industry in India but `legal process outsourcing'' or LPO could generate up to $ 20 billion by 2015. Several MNCs in the US and Europe are outsourcing their legal requirements to Indian law firms based in Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore and Mumbai.
Legal process outsourcing is one of the many new issues and trends that would come up for discussion at a three-day conference being jointly organised, under the aegis of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, by the US-based Centre for American and International and Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF). It is the first time that such a conference on law and legal framework is being held in India.
``At present, there are nearly 100 small and big law firms in India that are exclusively catering to their clients in the US, UK and other European countries. Many of them are dealing with patent applications. Indian firms go through patent applications, find out if they are in order and whether the applications conform to the country's law. Big litigations, especially those dealing with commercial disputes are also being referred to Indian firms which give suggestions and recommendations,'' SILF president, Lalit Bhasin, said, adding that such issues are more or less same everywhere.
Besides going through patent applications, Indian lawyers also preparing pleadings, transcribe documents and provide back-up support for litigation-related research. ``As far as competence is considered, Indian lawyers are second to none and it also works out cheaper for foreign firms,'' Bhasin added. Quoting NASSCOM, Bhasin said Indian LPOs could generate $ 20 billion in the next decade.
Bhasin said Indian firms act as ``sort of back-up'' for such voluminous jobs and it works out cheap by about a fourth for a foreign firm to get it done by a firm in India rather then, say, by a US law firm. ``The Services Export Promotion Council, set up by the Union Ministry of Commerce, is also looking into various issues related to LPOs,'' Bhasin said.
He added the conference would also address concerns of foreign companies including the aspect of protecting the confidentiality clause. Bhasin said that any firm or individual lawyer is permitted to do outsourced jobs as long as the firm or the lawyer is registered with the Bar Council of India.