Offshoring legal services is a hot topic, covered by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Market researcher Forrester estimated (according to the Economist) that 12,000 legal jobs had moved to India by 2004. A new report, however, concludes that the trend is not so hot and the numbers not so big. 

Evalueserve, one of the bigger Indian companies that helps US companies with patent work, released a new study, Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) – Hype Vs. Reality (and reported on in Economic Times – India). It does not specify its survey method but I interviewed co-founder Alok Aggarwal recently and found him very credible. I’ll quote the key findings:

“only 1,300 professionals are currently providing legal services to the US from India; however, this number is expected to grow to 5,200 by December 2010 and to 16,000 by December 2015…. despite the seemingly large growth in offshoring of legal services, in actuality, only 1.2% of the legal and paralegal jobs would be offshored to India by 2015 and constitute only 0.2% of the total revenue” [emphasis added]

Quite a difference from the Forrester estimate! And numbers this low seem hardly a threat.

Beyond the numbers, the report analyzes the types of work that have moved offshore and estimates the number employed for each type. It goes on to explain four business models for providing offshore legal services, the benefits of using offshore resources, and impediments to offshoring.

All in all, this is a must read for anyone interested in legal offshoring.