Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mumbai Law: 1,000 City Staff 'Will Lose Jobs' as Legal Work Goes to India

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mumbai Law: 1,000 City Staff 'Will Lose Jobs' as Legal Work Goes to India

Article excerpt

Byline: Amar Singh and Richard Orange

MORE than a thousand London lawyers could be made redundant by the end of the year because their jobs will be outsourced to India, it was claimed today.

India's largest law firm, FoxMandal Little, said the amount of legal work being sent there would double this year.

Soumitro Chatterjee, head of FoxMandal Little's outsourcing arm, believes the boom could result in more than 3,000 corporate lawyers and administration staff in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi going on the pay roll of City firms and British companies by the start of next year.

Mr Chatterjee said he had met representatives from 10 City firms in recent weeks -- each looking to outsource up to 100 legal jobs.

He told the Standard: "Firms have been coming around and talking to many people. UK law firms are interested in outsourcing document review, contract drafting and legal research. All of them are thinking of creating between 50 to 100 seats [jobs]."

According to Value North, an Indian consultancy, there are about 10,000 people in the country -- 4,500 of whom are qualified lawyers -- doing outsourced legal work.

About 1,000 lawyers are working on London-based contracts, including for the 2012 Olympics, although most are assigned to American companies.

But Mr Chatterjee believes London's outsourcing could catch up with America's as British law firms come under pressure to provide cheaper services.

"By the end of this year we will see a lot of activity. I think the UK could be as big as the US," he said.

London-based Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, revealed last month that it had hired a team of 12 lawyers in Delhi, which it said would be seven times cheaper than in London. Leah Cooper, Rio Tinto's managing attorney, said: "We took a look at our internal costs and the amount we were spending on outside counsel and saw an opportunity to make significant changes."

Magic Circle firms including Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance send work to India and South Africa, as do other London firms such as Eversheds, Lovells and Simmons & Simmons. …

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