The pressure on American and British salaries due to globalization is spreading. Law is joining the long list of occupations getting outsourced to India.
India’s legal outsourcing industry has grown in recent years from an experimental endeavor to a small but mainstream part of the global business of law. Cash-conscious Wall Street banks, mining giants, insurance firms and industrial conglomerates are hiring lawyers in India for document review, due diligence, contract management and more.
Now, to win new clients and take on more sophisticated work, legal outsourcing firms in India are actively recruiting experienced lawyers from the West. And American and British lawyers — who might once have turned up their noses at the idea of moving to India, or harbored an outright hostility to outsourcing legal work in principle — are re-evaluating the sector.
Since the worked that is outsourced was previously done by junior lawyers in law firms this trend is going to cut the flow of supply of people to become partners and senior lawyers who give advice to clients. This reminds me of trend in software development in the United States where older developers now manage Indians. Where is the next generation of US lawyers or software developers going to come from once the older workers retire?
Information technology outsourcing is of course extensive. Lots of legal work does not have to be done anywhere near clients either. The speedy internet makes information flow fast and cheap.
Even the medical profession isn't entirely immune to this trend. Already some radiological images get read in India, especially late at night. Imagine that you could buy a home microfluidic medical testing device (likely by 2020) that could do most common blood and urine tests and even measure breath gases. Then throw in some additional devices that can scan your skin, eyes, tongue at very high res across a wide range of frequencies. The data could be uploaded to a server as often as you test yourself and if anything triggered an alert on server software a doctor in India could look at the results and do a preliminary diagnosis.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2010 August 08 06:18 PM Economics Labor|