Remember the incriminating email correspondence among the top brass of Enron that finally did them in. In future it could be Indian law firms assisting US plaintiffs trawl electronic databases for evidence.
US law firms are looking at outsourcing electronic discovery to India. Kelley Drye & Warren LLP – a 165-year old US law firm with a client list that includes leading multinationals – is looking at outsourcing electronic searches to partners in India.
Speaking to Economic Times India, Mr. John Callagy, chairman, Kelley Drye said that the firm is waiting for a case that requires electronic discovery, where they can try out outsourcing to the firm’s Indian partner. The firm has a correspondent relationship with a Mumbai-based solicitors firm.
At present the job of electronic discovery is done by junior lawyers in the US. However, technology has made it possible for these searches to be outsourced to India. “Unlike in the past when notes were exchanged, these days most of the correspondence is electronic. But the good news is that they can be word searched”, said Mr. Callagy.
In the US, lawyers have to verify before the judge that they have completed a good faith search of their opponent’s records. Kelly Dyre has had a long-term relationship with India as it has been representing Indian banks such as State Bank of India and Bank of India in the US. The firm has indirectly increased its investments in India through partnerships as a large number of its multinational clients are present in India.
According to Shabbir Wakhairya, of Wakhairya & Wakhairya there is demand in India from multinationals for legal services in specialized practice lines such as intellectual property rights, telecommunications, and business process outsourcing and security laws. At the same time there is a demand for US legal services as many Indian companies are acquiring assets in the US and are doing business with both feet in the country, which exposes them to US legal liability.
Taken from “The Economic Times” Bangalore, November 8th, 2005