Outsourcing to India goes beyond tech support

US law firms are outsourcing to India their legal writing and editing. Although they need training, Indian editors are more still less costly than Americans.

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Indian lawyers are in great demand in the United States – not for their arguing skills, but for their writing and editing skills. According to an article in the journal of the American Bar Association, attorneys in India have been correcting grammatical and other mistakes of partners and associates at some of the top 100 law firms in the US.

Navneet Chugh, managing partner at the California-based Chugh Firm, which outsources work to India, says the quality of Indian legal editors is pretty good, although “some of them write too much, going round and round the topic,” he says. “We tell them ... to write as if the reader is a fifth-grader; and not a law school teacher....”

Training Indian legal eagles to write the American way works out to be cost-effective for these law firms in the long run.

Kaviraj Singh, managing partner of Trustman Co., a New Delhi-based legal firm that deals with legal-process outsourcing, says that 70 percent of their work comes from the US. Mr. Singh says the high quality of writing and the cost savings are driving the trend.

The industry has grown from employing 1,800 in 2005 to around 32,000 today, according to a ValueNotes report, a consulting firm in Pune, India. The revenue from the industry is slated to grow from $146 million in 2006 to $640 million by the end of this year.

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