Outsourcing Law Firms

Seema Sharma, left, 23 of Kashmir and Leena Dixit, 42 of Maharashtra at their desks at Mindcrest Legal Outsourcing in Pune, India.
Michael Rubenstein / Redux for TIME

Fact:
Law-firm partners bill at a national average of $318 per hr. and at $550 per hr. at large New York City firms, according to a 2007 survey by Altman Weil, a legal-consulting company. Starting salaries for attorneys at some large firms now stand at $160,000.

Pros:
Atlas Legal Research, an outsourcing company based in Irving, Texas, uses lawyers in India to provide the service for $60 per hr.

Cons:
Outsourcing worries some experts because the ethical rules that bind U.S. attorneys have no force in India. “Lawyers are being seduced by the business end of outsourcing and are not being concerned enough with the ethical issues it’s raising. I’m deeply troubled that outsourcing companies do not understand the scope of a lawyer’s duty to confidentiality, nor are they familiar with conflict-of-interest rules,” says Mary C. Daly, dean of St. John’s University School of Law in New York City.

Source: Time Magazine. April 14, 2008