Archive for January 18th, 2010

Why pay £60,000+ to newly qualified solicitors in your City or BigLaw law firm for routine drudge work when you can pay far less to a law outsourcing operation in Mumbai where they pay highly qualified graduates from India’s best universities only  £4700 per annum?

The idea of outsourcing to an Indian ‘law call centre’ is very attractive… productivity rates will be high – The staff in Indian outsourcing factories are unlikely to be faffing about on the RollonFriday discussion board (Not criticising… I enjoyed it when I posted as Brigadier Grappa in the early days of the board), reporting for work hungover, muttering darkly in the photocopier room about being exploited etc etc etc.

British law firm managing partners, under the cosh from in-house counsel from some of the biggest credit-crunch hit PLCs,  have been falling over themselves to book tickets to Mumbai, to find a magic bullet to ensure partner PEP is maintained without sacking the entire junior drone workforce.  Of course, I am painting a grotesquely simplistic picture…. but if you want a really grotesque picture of where City or BigLaw law practice may be headed have a look at this remarkable and surreal article in the Times…

Brief for India’s outsourcing lawyers: keep it cheap

There isn’t a lot of ‘Rule of Law’ to be found in modern City practice…it is more a case of the ‘law of rule’.. Compliance is the buzzword…the new paradigm…  but this article could be enough to put some readers off practising ‘Law’ …or at least that type of law.  You can hide behind the sofa if you don’t wish to read it. There isn’t a lot of money, they say, to be made in many areas of law…so if you really want to spend your legal career making money… then a City career is probably the best place to look to get the foot on the rung of the long ladder to partnership… or not… in the modern era.   I don’t know… I am merely an observer… I am merely commenting on what I read and hear.

The lawyers got away with it. Public anger is so focused at the greedy bankers that no-one is really questioning why law firms are not being looked at more closely for their part in the credit-crunch.  Law firms, after all, provided the legal infra-structure, designed the legal foundation of the ‘magic apps’, the ‘documentation’, the ‘securitisation’… but, of course, they were not progenitors of the credit-crunch..they were merely following orders to provide a watertight infrastructure.  This, again, of course, is too simplistic… or is it?  No doubt the sayers of sooths and prognosticators of the legal world have flagged this up….and if they have I would be delighted to read their thoughts on the issue.

The Iraq Inquiry turns up the heat this week…

The Independent reports… The inquiry is set for its most riveting week yet, as three key figures appear to give evidence. Today it will hear from Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s head of staff, who is expected to be asked about his involvement in the notorious September 2002 dossier setting out the case for war in Iraq. Former Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, will appear tomorrow, while Mr Straw will give evidence on Thursday.

But the best bit from that piece in The Indy is this…Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, secretly warned Tony Blair that there were major legal obstacles to invading Iraq, it has been revealed.”

There do seem to be a lot of (possibly) unminuted handwritten or typed letters flying about in the run up to the Iraq War.

Brown had secret pot of cash to fund projects, book alleges

And so, to the mix between politics and law – and this story combines both in quite an important way

The Guardian reports…” Gordon Brown was yesterday asked to explain a secret Labour fund allegedly used to finance projects while his supporters were trying to unseat Tony Blair.As Brown lines Blair up to play a role in Labour’s general election campaign, the Tories challenged the prime minister to explain why the fund had not been declared in the register of MPs’ interests. The fund was revealed by the former Labour general secretary Peter Watt in the latest excerpt from his book published in the Mail on Sunday. Watt said Brown set up his “own personal pot of cash” while he was chancellor.”

The really important part of the Guardian article is… ” The Tories said that the fund should have been registered with the Commons authorities as a “personal benefit”. In a letter to the prime minister, the shadow treasury minister Greg Hands wrote: “I would like to know on what basis you judged it unnecessary to declare the fund. It is important that you clarify these issues urgently as I believe there may be grounds for investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.”


The Guardian did note…“A Labour spokesman said: “All donations received … are declared in accordance with the relevant rules and guidelines.”

We have heard that mantra before. So the story runs… and Brown appears to be bringing Tony Blair back to help with the election… to help capture the hearts and minds of the middle classes.. High comedy, indeed.

Part II of Monday Law Review will follow later in the day…


PS… I did comment on the Watt allegations in my Sunday edition of...Charon reports… from the front line…from Oldgitstan..

And finally… on a lighter note... if you want to learn more about a future (possibly) prime minister… DAVE… then this may be worth a look.


Blawg Review from Gideon on Martin Luther King Day is up….

Clever and understated… with some very subtle points…  a definite worth a read… won’t take too long.

As Gideon says… “Instead, read the Review as a free flowing conversation I’m having with myself (and you). It’ll make the experience less painful.”

Also… please note… this is an unusual BR…as Gideon says… “As always, I will update this post throughout the day on Monday to reflect the many MLK related posts around the blawgosphere, so keep coming back! If Twitter’s your thing, you can get in on the act there, too.”



I did a podcast with Gideon last night (not connected to his BR) but it was fun to do – as before!


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