Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Despite tax sanctions and outsourcing restrictive measures that the US administration has in place, legal outsourcing has grown. Not perhaps the meteoric growth predicted by business gurus, but the scope and variety of the processes outsourced is amazing.
But are all small LPOs, ready to be taken over? Are they like our traditional Indian brides waiting hopefully, pretending to act coy, yet in reality eager to be acquired?
That I suppose depends much on what the firm sees its future to be. Cost considerations would be a major factor in taking the decision to merge with a larger firm. Even if the LPO is doing fairly well, the expense in maintaining the huge staff and infrastructure that is required for big document review projects, is considerable. Moreover, such projects especially large ones may not be as forthcoming as one would like them to be. While the firm may have lots of work, often it is not enough to justify holding on to the extensive staff and premises, required for carrying out larger document review projects. Firms handling only legal processes do not require large staff or impressive infrastructure which sounds good, but their climb up the financial ladder is slower. Document review projects are the ones that really bring home the dough!
When the LPO tide came in, several small LPOs sprang up with the sole intention of cashing in on the latest LPO craze. Most are now defunct. The few that have survived are the ones who did not hesitate to take on any sort of work that came their way. While some feel accepting any and every type of work dished out by law firms abroad, is not the right way to go about business, many start-ups prefer to knuckle down and accept whatever is offered merely in order to stay afloat and live to fight another day.
Personally, I think it’s better to have any kind of work than no work at all. Besides one never knows where a seemingly small project might lead to. One start up LPO in Pune that was affiliated to a large IT company was asked by a US law firm to design its website. It agreed very reluctantly but the decision proved a wise one because the law firm eventually became its biggest client.
Generally speaking, the outsourcing service provider with a strong IT team that can provide tech support and a production team that is not chary of multi-tasking and not afraid to take on work, even work that might be somewhat out of their scope, is on pretty strong ground. But where legal process outsourcing is concerned, LPOs find it difficult to get their legal staff to cooperate on processes that do not exactly involve “legal” work. Most Indian lawyers come with a chip on their shoulder. Freshers particularly, the ink on their degree certificates not dry yet, are quite determined to do only “real” legal work. That most of them ultimately prove woefully inadequate to do it, is another story.
It is definitely not economically viable for the small LPO to hire separate non-legal staff to do the non-legal work, just to humor its legal employees. The Indian lawyer who wishes to enter the legal outsourcing field would do well to learn to multi-task and do the work on hand rather than take the high road. Once the small firm finds success, then whether it decides to be a small fish in a big pond or vice versa, it’s going to be a win-win situation for not only its owners but also its employees.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Seriously, if an LPO can afford to have foreign attorneys working for it in that ratio, it is already a success.
However, I do agree that an LPO must have at least a couple of persons on the sales team whether they be a part of management or not, to wade into those foreign seas and fish for clients.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Friday, August 6, 2010
My fellow Maharashtrian lawyers, you do well to learn and preserve our mother tongue, but if you want to progress vertically and not have your options to work limited to municipal and local courts, it would behoove you to learn the global language.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Toxic leadership is the more difficult to spot because at first look such leaders come across as intelligent and very performance oriented. They project an attitude of confidence. On the job, they are often to be seen ordering, commanding, rushing around, their reprimands, praises, communications very public and visible; and their presence very much felt. They may not always be loud though. A toxic leader may be soft spoken and quiet too. But loud or not toxic leaders display a common characteristic. With the boss they are compliant. A toxic leader will never argue with the boss. They are the “yes bossers”, the essential “babus” the ones who are always assuring the boss “the job will be done.”
There is always a higher rate of attrition in an organization, with such a leader. Moreover, toxic leaders in the long run do not engender the level of confidence in their team that is necessary to lead to an esprit de corps. The team becomes dysfunctional because the members will seek every excuse to escape either out of the team or if that is not possible out of the organization itself.
An organization would do well to be on the watch for tell tale signs which betray the presence of a toxic leader-a general sense of dissatisfaction among the team members, a tendency for the more intelligent to leave the organization, a reluctance among the team members to speak out freely, signs of fear. The best way to spot toxic leadership is to get the team assessed by an independent manager. Invariably the team members whose qualities have been played down by the toxic leader will turn up trumps.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The Central Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum recently directed the Oriental Insurance Company to pay Rs. 64223/- that had been deducted from the hospital reimbursements made by it. The refusal to pay was based on the fact that the amounts for which reimbursement was claimed -the fees charged by the surgeon, the anesthetist and the operation theater; together with Rs.293/ -charged for cologne, blade and a blanket -were “too high. The company claimed that their policy promised to reimburse only “reasonable customary and necessary” expenses. Held that the company had not proved that the fees charged by the hospital were not reasonable, customary and necessary.