For those who haven't seen it, check out the ABA's infamous "outsourcing" opinion:
Not only did the ABA give it the OK, they practically gushed about what a splendid idea it was: The outsourcing trend is a salutary one for our globalized economy
I was temping when this opinion came out, and as it made the rounds in the SullCrom basement we all knew the gig was up. No way was Biglaw gonna pay us a decent rate + OT to do this crap when the ABA practically begged them to send it to India.
Now, three years later, the temp jobs are mostly all gone and the few that remain pay 30-50% less than the same work did in 2007. Mostly all that remains in NYC are super short-term gigs where it wouldn't make sense to outsource (like a one week project).
No professional trade org. works as hard to screw it's own people as the ABA. It's one thing to accredit all comers, but to ENDORSE sending legal work offshore is quite another matter. Can you really imagine any other trade org. coming out with an opinion like this? Those temp jobs are the best that TTT losers like me could ever hope for. Those jobs paid my rent, my student loans, and still allowed Biglaw a pretty hefty profit margin on my work. But obviously the profit margin on outsourcing is even greater, since Indian doc reviewers earn less than 10 K a YEAR:http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1200996336809
I love this quote:
Price is not ultimately where Pangea3 wants to compete though. Perla is forthright in stating his belief that Pangea3 does better work.
The only lawyers who work for staffing agencies, said Perla, "are the ones who couldn't make it as real lawyers."
In his view, the temporary lawyers typically hired to perform document review on major litigation have minimal skills and zero motivation. In contrast, Pangea3 can attract the best and the brightest young lawyers in India, fluent in English and trained in English common law. Perla said clients have held "bake-offs" in which the Pangea3's Indian lawyers were asked to perform the same tasks as U.S. contract lawyers. He said the Indians soundly trounced the Americans.
I really can't understand how the ABA can set requirements for American law schools, yet at the same time green-light the wholesale outsourcing of legal work to people a world away who never even sat the LSAT, much less completed 3 years at an ABA school and passed a state bar. American lawyers also have to submit to intense background checks, pay bar dues and CLE fees, notify the bar of address changes, etc. The Indians endure NONE of these requirements. This may be the single biggest screw-job in the history of American labor relations. Right after this opnion came out, the jobs started drying up and the rates began to plunge.
The "adequete supervision" nonsense is a red herring and pure window dressing. A job like e-discovery requires one to look independently at 100s of thousands of individual documents and apply legal training/judgement calls as to whether they're responsive, priviledged, etc. Short of having an American check over every single one, there is no way you can really "supervise" this type of work. But hey, it increases Biglaw profits and screws an entire sub-class of worthless TTT grads like me out of one of the only jobs we could actually earn a living at, so who cares?