Legal trade press articles have quoted BigLaw partners about the parade of ethical horrors of offshoring. They should read The Association of the Bar of the City of New York Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, Formal Opinion 2006-3, which finds that it is ethically permissible to use offshore resources, including lawyers in other jurisdicitions. 

The opinion concludes that a “lawyer may ethically outsource legal support services overseas to a non-lawyer if the lawyer” supervises the work, preserves confidencs, avoids conflicts, bills appropriately, and (in some circumstances) obtains advance client consent. Please do not rely on this summary for legal guidance; read the opinion. In my view, this is good news for firms that want to send work offshore, including document review.

Hinshaw & Culbertson’s opinion summary states it does “not cover administrative legal support services.” I’m not a practicing lawyer, but my read is that the opinion does cover any work that a lawyer sends offshore, from clerical to substantive.

Thanks to fellow blogger Rob Hyndman for alerting me to the above.