The Arizona State Journal will soon publish an article written by Cassandra Burke Robertson, Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Robertson’s article addresses the recent trend in transnational legal outsourcing.
International outsourcing has come to the legal profession. The ABA and other bar associations have given it their stamp of approval, and an ailing economy has pushed both clients and firms to consider sending more legal work abroad. This article integrates research from the fields of organizational behavior, social psychology, and economic theory to analyze the effectiveness of the legal outsourcing relationship. It identifies organizational pressures in the practice of law that affect how legal work is performed in a transnational context, and it examines how individuals on both sides of the outsourcing process influence the success or failure of a globalized practice. Ultimately, the article recommends that parties involved in legal offshoring should move away from a model of disaggregation and toward a model of collaboration. Unlike a disaggregation model that assumes outsourcing vendors will autonomously complete discrete legal tasks, a collaborative model would explicitly focus on cooperation, communication, and renegotiation of status and resources.