In Downturn, Litigation Bonanza for Indian Legal Outsourcers

November 26th, 2008

New Delhi: Amid talk of job cuts and lower-than-expected results, legal offshorers based in India say they are bucking the trend.
If the first wave of work for legal process outsourcing companies earlier this year stemmed from the rise in US lawsuits related to the subprime mortgage meltdown, the latest wave builds on that, but is also tied even more directly to the crisis; Indian legal outsourcers are now processing American foreclosures, and valuing the toxic assets at the heart of the trouble.

The US treasury department’s $700 billion (Rs35 trillion now) plan to purchase troubled assets from the ailing financial institutions and directly take stakes in the banks is, as expected, a boon for attorneys. What wasn’t expected is just how much of it might move offshore.

“In the short to medium term, there is rising litigation, the valuation of assets in the bailout package, bankruptcy, and it’s coming from all sides,” says Anand Sharma, chief financial officer at the legal services provider, Computer Patent Annuities Ltd (CPA). “Forget about cost arbitrage, I don’t think the US is capable of handling this entire work.”

Indian firms are grabbing pieces of it.

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