Saturday, May 31, 2008

Apparently NSA Reviews Offshored Legal Work!

Apparently the National Security Agency can potentially provide an independent, albeit unsolicited, review of work done by LPO firms!

I first read about a federal suit filed by a Bethesda, MD firm against a legal offshoring firm at this post on legaltimes blog. This is where it gets interesting: a co-defendent in the lawsuit is President George W. Bush (yay, yay, yay!).

Joseph Hennessey, name partner at Newman McIntosh & Hennessey, turned to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 7 seeking a ruling on the outsourcing of privileged client data that may be subject to eavesdropping by the U.S. government.

Quick on the facts of the case is here. A blog response by Pangea3 is here.

A potential implication of the potential shortcoming of the Fourth Amendment as applicable to attorney-client confidentiality in any cross border transaction, not just outsourcing, is available as a comment here:

If the DC and MD bar follow Hennessey's recommendations, we should expect to see major fallout throughout the entire legal industry - not just the outsourcing industry. And given that the amount of money at stake in cross border transactions and in enforcing contractual rights or U.S. judgments overseas dwarfs the amount of money at stake with outsourcing, it will not just be outsourcing companies that lose out. It will be any law firm with a foreign office and any business in the U.S. that engages in foreign commerce.

Now, some fun facts:
Fact: US Elections are here and it is not necessary that everyone (in Bethesda, MD) likes President Bush.
Fact: Benford's law of controversy, that states "Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available."
Fact: The lawsuit is wonderful free marketing for the firm and the defendent(s).
Tip for LPOs: Bid for Hennessey's work on this case!

Simple recommendation: Obtain your clients' consent if you are considering using outsourcing on their matters. "Caveat Emptor" the client if they ask you to use outsourcing.

Finally, if the NSA does review offshored legal work, that can't be too bad!