Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Israel as an LPO Destination

Israel may sure develop into a lucrative destination for legal offshoring but there may be scalability and geopolitical stability related concerns. I would think that a company offering both locations (India and Israel) as a part of its offshore presence stands much to gain. Having two locations of course sounds great from a Business Contigency Management perspective, which is definitely a concern of large clients. Second, it should be quite a differentiator for a company to be able to say that they have a better mix of team demographics comprising US/UK educated attorneys in supervisory roles with the heavy lifting being done by Common Law educated Indian attorneys. India-Israel ties have always been strong with a large number of Israelis travelling to India on a regular basis, though mostly after the completion of the military service. This relationship and familiarity could be leveraged by a creative company.

Legal Outsourcer's Checklist

The following is a checklist for, or rather a list of concerns related to, outsourcing of legal work prepared by Power Legal. Though the list is a bit biased towards Israel as a destination for legal outsourcing, companies and law firms considering outsourcing may consider the list useful:

Quality of training: How well-trained are the legal professionals employed by the outsourced services provider? While U.S. and U.K. law school programs provide relatively uniform training for the J.D. degree, law programs in other countries can vary widely from institution to institution. For example, coursework for the LL.B. degree in India may last from three to five years—a significant variance that signals a variety of different focuses and emphases in different programs.

Control over the team: Does the vendor provide resumes of each potential project team member, allowing the client to hand-select the staff working on a particular project?

Legal customs and business practices: Does the outsourcing services provider understand the nuances of U.S. legal culture? For instance, interpretations of attorney-client privilege vary widely across different legal systems. Misunderstandings can lead to inadvertent delivery of documents to the other side in the course of litigation—a potentially grievous error.

Cultural literacy and linguistic fluency: Legal professionals overseas typically are fluent in English—but does that mean in contemporary U.S. or British English? Due to the schooling of some countries, lawyers overseas in markets like India often lack an appreciation for and knowledge of contemporary U.S. business vernacular, which can slow or disrupt document review.

Data security: How can a company protect trade secrets and other highly privileged information when transitioning work overseas? How can a company ensure data’s protection once it gets there?

Costs: What are the true costs of offshore outsourcing—and how does a company know? Lower hourly rates for labor may not account for increased investments in managing outsourced providers; assessing each legal professional for legal, cultural and language proficiency; and monitoring for quality, especially for higher-level work.

Ability to oversee work: How can a client evaluate the productivity and effectiveness of its offshore legal services provider? Not all offshore companies have sophisticated monitoring “dashboards” where clients can check on the progress of their projects, nor do all have proficiency with leading electronic search and database management technologies.

LPO goes to Israel - PowerLegal Press Release

PowerLegal Support Offers Document Review and E-Discovery Services
Company relies on high-quality, U.S.-educated attorneys in Israel

NEWARK, NJ (Feb. 5, 2008) – Harvey Werblowsky, a former partner in the New York office of law firm McDermott, Will & Emery, has announced the formation of a new company, PowerLegal Support Inc.

PowerLegal Support provides electronic discovery and document review services to help corporations and their counsel control the rising costs of litigation and legal review while maintaining the quality of those services.

Based in Newark, N.J., PowerLegal Support offers the services of a pool of Israel-based attorneys, most of whom are American and were educated in U.S. law schools. PowerLegal manages the labor-intensive paper and electronic document reviews that arise during evidence discovery in litigation, government investigations, anti-trust actions and other document-intensive matters.

With the proliferation of electronic data and increased requirements for discovery, companies face dramatically rising costs for pre-trial document review, along with concern about offshore outsourcing providers. “U.S. companies have to rein in legal costs. But they still require the highest quality and efficiency in document review and e-discovery,” said Werblowsky, the company’s president.

“PowerLegal’s services are provided by highly educated professionals. Most of our attorneys have passed the bar and practiced law in the U.S.,” Werblowsky notes. “The vast majority of our attorneys are American, with the remainder admitted to the bar in the U.K. or Canada.”

PowerLegal’s attorneys are familiar with U.S. law and with the nuances of U.S. courts and procedures, ethics and protocols. The company’s attorneys are also trained on most major technology platforms.

PowerLegal helps corporate general counsel solve the chief problem they face in today’s budget-conscious environment, notes Maurice Bortz, senior vice president at PowerLegal. “PowerLegal provides a ‘virtual war room‘ for its corporate and law firm clients, and assembles a highly qualified, experienced team of attorneys. We focus on quality and efficiency, while providing a significant cost-benefit,” says Bortz.

“Our client chooses which attorneys will work on their case, reviewing their resumes and checking for any conflicts,” says Werblowsky. “Once the team is selected and confidentiality agreements are signed, the client’s attorney can introduce our attorneys to the subject matter of the case, using our video-conferencing capabilities, and follow-up calls.”

About PowerLegal Support Inc.
Based in Newark, New Jersey, PowerLegal Support provides strategic resources for document review, electronic discovery, and related review services to Fortune 1000 companies and their outside counsel. With a large, cross-disciplinary pool of experienced, U.S.-trained and native English-speaking attorneys available for a range of needs, PowerLegal provides the highest quality service in a timely and efficient way, while allowing clients to lower the costs of managing litigation. More information is at