I spotted on Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites a reference to another example of the trend toward outsourcing legal work to India. Intellevate provides a range of intellectual property support services, including specialized support in India. 

Ambrogi’s blog posting alerted me to Law firm cuts rates by outsourcing to India in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, March 3, 2004. The article opens rather provocatively: “How about this deal? Get legal work typically billed at $200 an hour for just $50.” According to the article, Intellevate was founded last summer, is majority owned by “shareholder attorneys at Schwegman Lundberg Woessner & Kluth, a 55-lawyer patent firm in Minneapolis,” and has a dozen law firm customers and two corporate customers. The Schwegman firms says it can lower client costs and maintain quality by carefully managing what work the firm’s specialist performs and what work Intellevate performs for them in India.

Interestingly, a competing IP law firm has said it is not considering offshoring work because its client haven’t asked for it. Granted, the success of offshoring is still unclear and it does raise political issues. Yet law firms need to be careful about how they respond to changing markets and changing client perceptions. I recently switched to shopping at Safeway from Giant because Safeway re-modeled nicely and is better stocked – I’m not in the habit of asking my supermarket to make the aisles wider, the lighting better, or decreasing the number of out-of-stock items. The moral is that clients don’t always ask for what they want – sometimes they vote with their feet and their dollars and just move work to where the value is better.