“It’s not outsourcing” says Robert Ruyak, Howrey managing partner, of the firm’s new office in Pune, India. 

So reports “Howrey Vindaloo” (American Laywer, Feb 2008). Howrey, which has long operated a document review facility 15 minutes from downtown DC, has opened an office in Pune to handle client work.

Ruyak says clients don’t want to outsource. Howrey, like any other large firm, would have little business if that were true. BigLaw primarily serves as an outsourced service for corporate law departments.

He also says the Pune office is “just like if you had people working at home or in another location.” That seems right to me though I would take that thought further. I previously suggested that outsourcing and offshoring are extensions of a long tradition of lawyers delegating work. Ownership of the resources and infrastructure seems less important than the degree of control and supervision. One can imagine situations where resources are owned and operated but totally out of control and vice versa, outsourcing with very tight controls and QC.

With Seyfarth Shaw using an offshore legal process outsourcer, with Howrey opening its own offshore office, and with Lovells going public on its offshore document review (Lovells loves India, The Lawyer, 3 Dec 2007), the tipping point of firms going public about offshoring seems near.

Update (12 Feb 08): Howrey Opens Office in India, Gives Clients Lower-Cost Option is now available on the web. Note the change in title from print to web.

Update (2 Apr 08): Office openings signal drive to keep panel places (TheLawyer.com, 31 Mar 08) provides some additional context for Howrey’s India office.