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08/16/06

Outsourcing legal work - a help or a threat?

The legal arena in North America and British Columbia is undergoing change, with a large amount of legal work being shifted from local firms towards the firms located outside the country, especially to India. India's laws prohibit firms from containing more than 20 partners, so the country's population includes nearly one million English-speaking lawyers who are looking outside their own borders. These attorneys offer work that ranges from patent searches, contract review and preparation, to legal research. The benefits for their employers are many, principal among them savings in cost and turnaround time, and satisfaction guarantees.

Outsourcing Legal Work – A Help or a Threat?


Perhaps inevitably, questions are being raised as to the quality of work done by Indian lawyers and whether they are eligible to offer services in B.C. The Law Society of British Columbia has ruled in favor of the latter, but only if the outsourced lawyers are personally qualified to practice in B.C. The quality aspect is to some extent subjective, though there are many speakers for both sides. Ultimately, the trend seems to be unstoppable, and North American firms should take note and plan for the future.

Florida town spends more than $400,000 a year on legal services
North Port, Florida pays more than $400,000 yearly for legal advice. The City of North Port holds a retainer on the services of Sarasota-based law firm Nelson Hesse, and pays additional annual charges of $270,000 for a variety of matters it handles as the city's legal counsel, as well as costs the firm incurs handling retainer-related business.

A division of Sun Coast Media Group Inc. reports that the City continues to pay the retainer fee of $160,000 to the firm for one of its partners, Robert K. Robinson, to attend commission meetings and advise the administration on city matters, drafts, reviews ordinances, and other standard legal matters for commissioners in the ordinary course of running North Port. Additionally, Robinson charges the city $175 per hour for litigation services. His expenses in these matters are paid.

Although the city does not have its own attorney, it has designated large offices on the new City Hall building for a future City attorney and his staff. Earlier, the City had mooted the idea of having an in-house attorney, which was rejected later. However, legal experts are in favor of this idea, which will ultimately reduce the cost and benefit the citizens of North Port.

Wood, Herron & Evans LLP hunt for law undergraduates for clerk jobs
For the first time in Wood, Herron & Evans LLP's history, fresh undergraduates are being accepted as law clerks to work in the firm. This initiative has given an opportunity to law undergraduates who will get hands on experience at the firm. The move will also boost the firm with fresh talent from colleges.

The Wood, Herron & Evans works with businesses, trade associations, universities, foundations, and individuals and helps them acquire, develop, protect, and defend their inventions, ideas, and information. This focus on technology demands lawyers who are well versed in both law and the technical fields, and it's hoped that the fresh talent will help supply this knowledge, while learning on the job.

The attorneys at the Wood, Herron & Evans focus on in-depth involvement with clients and legal issues that might threaten or compromise IP assets. All the patent attorneys hold undergraduate degrees in either engineering or science. They also work closely with clients to devise strategies for intellectual property acquisition, licensing, and protection to fit and enhance their business objectives.

Wood Herron & Evans, LLP

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