In my posting of of 3 Sep 03 Allen & Overy Testing Outsourcing, I conveyed reports that Allen & Overy was pilot testing outsourcing document production to workers in India. In UK firm set for outsourcing deal in India, Legal Week reports that A&O has decided to move forward with this plan on a permanent basis. Legal Week reports that one-half of the 85 document production specialists of the firm will remain in London and that the firm has signed an agreement with outsourcing company Office Tiger for services in India.

Separately, Legal Week reports in Bakers relocates IT functions to Asia that Baker & McKenzie will outsource three IT functions to Asia: network operations, document support, and systems development. According to Legal Week, this includes a data center and call center.

I have written several posts about the potential of outsourcing legal work overseas: Power Outages and Outsourcing , 15 Aug 03; Technology Outsourcing Example – Document Management , 18 Jun 03; More on Off-Shore Outsourcing, 14 Jun 03; Central Back Offices and Outsourcing; 30 May 03.

It strikes me that the ingredients are increasingly in place to outsource some elements of legal work. First, law firms will now start gaining experience with managing offshore outsourced “back office” functions. Second, at least based on anecdotal evidence, it appears that more large firms use contract lawyers to review documents in complex litigation, antitrust second requests, or government/internal investigations. Why not put those two trends together and use lawyers in India to conduct such document reviews?