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Jones Day, Kirkland Send Work To India To Cut Costs

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Offshore companies charge $10 to $25 an hour on low-end work and $25 to $90 an hour on advanced jobs. Junior Indian lawyers might earn as much as $8,160 a year, according to ValueNotes, compared with the $160,000 average salary for associates in major U.S. cities.

greed, seems like this way of thinking will hit the middle class hard.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206...refer=exclusive

now now middle class job is safe.

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greed, seems like this way of thinking will hit the middle class hard.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206...refer=exclusive

now now middle class job is safe.

See, I think news like this is very, very significant. I've been saying it for years, but the notion that there is a tier of jobs that is somehow immune to global levelling of wages is just wrong. It doesn't matter that you specialise in something traditionally relating only to your own country's laws and customs, or that you have to be physically present. In fact, often the more protected your job was under the old paradigms, the more inflated the wage will be for the true barrier to entry (rather than the artificial guild type protectionism), and so the harder you will fall. Your job WILL be outsource, unless you have to by physically present, in which case your job WILL be taken by an immigrant working for 20% of your salary. Welcome to the future.

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Almost every factoid in that article is BLOLLOCKs.

FYI, I have worked for one of those two firms. I also outsource legal work to local counsel all day long. 90 times in 100 if I use a firm that I don't know personally (on client's instructions), it's diabolically poor quality (professionally negligently so normally).

What you are forgetting is that an Indian lawyer can't properly do say, Illinois or Delaware law, they can have all the qualifications in the world in law, but they won't get the insurance cover for a start unless they hire Illinois/Delaware etc. qualified attorneys.

The pay is wrong too (far too low as an average for proper associates in the US) and if they think they can get a lawyer in India for those rates, they are p1ssing in the wind.

Believe me, this article is complete barry hollocks. Feel free to believe what you like, but this article is no more than a glorified advert and is full of un- and mistruths....

As for doing due diligence (which is what they are talking about) - outsourcing it, yeah right, I don't trust local counsel in Amsterdam or New York and I can guarantee you the banks who are lending the money don't either. As for the guy who asked for a standardised lease, we'll see how good it is when he gets sued on it. Then he may just regret getting Mr Hyderabad to do it and it will cost him his job.... - seriously, law is not law wherever you are - I would not even dream of picking up a residential tenancy agreement in the UK and putting my professional name to a review of it for a client to rely on and I am a fully English qualified senior lawyer at a large US law firm - you'd have to be an idiot to do that.

My own paralegals (contract attorneys) do monkey work (by their admission) and that's usually less than perfectly done too - and that's with me able to walk in their office and let them know/praise/have both barrels.

no sophisticated client of mine will entertain such shenanigans and I'd have to seriously consider the terms of my firm's engagement and the liability caps before I did too [i don't like working 'with' outside counsel on anything - they are almost always too detached and given the choice, I want my team in my firm....]

Edited by Rachman

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See, I think news like this is very, very significant. I've been saying it for years, but the notion that there is a tier of jobs that is somehow immune to global levelling of wages is just wrong. It doesn't matter that you specialise in something traditionally relating only to your own country's laws and customs, or that you have to be physically present. In fact, often the more protected your job was under the old paradigms, the more inflated the wage will be for the true barrier to entry (rather than the artificial guild type protectionism), and so the harder you will fall. Your job WILL be outsource, unless you have to by physically present, in which case your job WILL be taken by an immigrant working for 20% of your salary. Welcome to the future.

"You job will be outsource" - made me smile, you are even writing like an Indian Call Centre worker.

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Almost every factoid in that article is BLOLLOCKs.

FYI, I have worked for one of those two firms. I also outsource legal work to local counsel all day long. 90 times in 100 if I use a firm that I don't know personally (on client's instructions), it's diabolically poor quality (professionally negligently so normally).

What you are forgetting is that an Indian lawyer can't properly do say, Illinois or Delaware law, they can have all the qualifications in the world in law, but they won't get the insurance cover for a start unless they hire Illinois/Delaware etc. qualified attorneys.

The pay is wrong too (far too low as an average for proper associates in the US) and if they think they can get a lawyer in India for those rates, they are p1ssing in the wind.

Believe me, this article is complete barry hollocks. Feel free to believe what you like, but this article is no more than a glorified advert and is full of un- and mistruths....

As for doing due diligence (which is what they are talking about) - outsourcing it, yeah right, I don't trust local counsel in Amsterdam or New York and I can guarantee you the banks who are lending the money don't either. As for the guy who asked for a standardised lease, we'll see how good it is when he gets sued on it. Then he may just regret getting Mr Hyderabad to do it and it will cost him his job.... - seriously, law is not law wherever you are - I would not even dream of picking up a residential tenancy agreement in the UK and putting my professional name to a review of it for a client to rely on and I am a fully English qualified senior lawyer at a large US law firm - you'd have to be an idiot to do that.

My own paralegals (contract attorneys) do monkey work (by their admission) and that's usually less than perfectly done too - and that's with me able to walk in their office and let them know/praise/have both barrels.

no sophisticated client of mine will entertain such shenanigans and I'd have to seriously consider the terms of my firm's engagement and the liability caps before I did too [i don't like working 'with' outside counsel on anything - they are almost always too detached and given the choice, I want my team in my firm....]

Well, even if that's the state of play at the moment, it won't be long before there are ways to get qualified in Delaware law or whatever without having to live there and practice. And maybe the Indians won't work for as low rates as the article is talking about, but they'll undercut the westerners.

There's loads of stories in every type of outsourcing of the sort you're telling above, along the lines of "the quality was p1ss poor". It may be on a lot of occassions. But it won't be forever. There's a lot of smart hungry people out there, and they'll eventually raise their game to the point where those sort of complaints disappear.

Protectionism, and professional bodies can't keep the wolf from the door forever. And when it gets in, the fall in salary will be bigger than ever.

As globalisation takes hold, people won't have the luxury of paying 400K a year for that bit of extra security, and in house cosiness. They'll be lucky to find the 40K they need for entry level services.

Edited by Levy process

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Protectionism, and professional bodies can't keep the wolf from the door forever. And when it gets in, the fall in salary will be bigger than ever.

Well lawyers have done a fantastic job protecting their profession over the past 500 years as anyone who has ever had to hire one will know. As for the more mundane aspects of legal practice such as conveyancing the sheer hassle involved in off shoring the work would far outweigh any cost savings one might make. Anyway whenever I have moved house it was the Estate Agents not the solicitors who had the rip off fees . I personally would always want to use a solicitor who had some understanding of how my local housing market operated not some idiot sitting in front of a PC in Bangalore..

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I personally would always want to use a solicitor who had some understanding of how my local housing market operated not some idiot sitting in front of a PC in Bangalore..

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how a housing market operates, its simple, seller has a houses to sell, buyer likes it and makes an offer. Have I missed something. <_<

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It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how a housing market operates, its simple, seller has a houses to sell, buyer likes it and makes an offer. Have I missed something. <_<

How many house purchases have you made in your life ? Buyers and sellers like nothing better than to piss each other about. They renege on agreements. They make offers that they can follow through on because they lied about the state of their sale or they could not get a mortgage. People drop out right up to the day of completion causing whole chains to collapse. In was involved in a purchase where the seller strung us out up to the signing of contracts and then sold to someone else on the very day we were supposed to exchange. I have known people who have seen the whole process unravel after they have packed all their possessions into removal vans. When it gets as rough as that you will soon find out the difference between having a decent professional batting on your side and a crappy one.

Edited by up2nogood

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Almost every factoid in that article is BLOLLOCKs.

FYI, I have worked for one of those two firms. I also outsource legal work to local counsel all day long. 90 times in 100 if I use a firm that I don't know personally (on client's instructions), it's diabolically poor quality (professionally negligently so normally).

What you are forgetting is that an Indian lawyer can't properly do say, Illinois or Delaware law, they can have all the qualifications in the world in law, but they won't get the insurance cover for a start unless they hire Illinois/Delaware etc. qualified attorneys.

The pay is wrong too (far too low as an average for proper associates in the US) and if they think they can get a lawyer in India for those rates, they are p1ssing in the wind.

Believe me, this article is complete barry hollocks. Feel free to believe what you like, but this article is no more than a glorified advert and is full of un- and mistruths....

As for doing due diligence (which is what they are talking about) - outsourcing it, yeah right, I don't trust local counsel in Amsterdam or New York and I can guarantee you the banks who are lending the money don't either. As for the guy who asked for a standardised lease, we'll see how good it is when he gets sued on it. Then he may just regret getting Mr Hyderabad to do it and it will cost him his job.... - seriously, law is not law wherever you are - I would not even dream of picking up a residential tenancy agreement in the UK and putting my professional name to a review of it for a client to rely on and I am a fully English qualified senior lawyer at a large US law firm - you'd have to be an idiot to do that.

My own paralegals (contract attorneys) do monkey work (by their admission) and that's usually less than perfectly done too - and that's with me able to walk in their office and let them know/praise/have both barrels.

no sophisticated client of mine will entertain such shenanigans and I'd have to seriously consider the terms of my firm's engagement and the liability caps before I did too [i don't like working 'with' outside counsel on anything - they are almost always too detached and given the choice, I want my team in my firm....]

Sounds more like you are trying to convince yourself. Funny how outcourcing is lauded by yourself and other members of the I'm-alright-Jack brigade when it effects te proles. However it seems it is a different matter when the rarified air you breathe looks like it could become a bit thin.

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Pronlem is, I understand the market 100% on this one. It's what I do.

Convincing myself. If you want examples where it's been tried - Allen & Overy have a chunk of document production in India - secretarial support. The London lawyers refuse to use it because it's not competent product. Translate that to the legal product.

In the same way as you could say that you can get a conveyancing lawyer in Middlesbrough who is a qualified English solicitor to do what I do - in the real world, you can't. For a start, you don't know how the banks work if you think you can.

There could be a place for Indian outsourced legal work, but it's to do Indian legal work. You are all looking for value (and nothing wrong with that) , but you see value as low price. The problem is that money's talking - if you get local lawyers qualified in say Illinois law, those lawyers won't stay in Hyderabad, they will move to Illinois for 20 times the wages.... - once you get to the point where you have done your degree and law school (which costs up to $100K BTW in the US and the local state bars would have to recognise any teachings done in say India (which they won't)) and had a job, you ain't going to be working for $20 an hour in India.

If you want a UK example, why don't major clients use small firms in the north to do their work rather than City monoliths ? And Eversheds, Pinsents etc. don't count - they are always backbiting over their provinical offices - and the bills there are no less than from London....

The same way as I make a job offer to less than 4% of the peope I interview (who have already been filtered by HR and the agencies), there are few people who can do the job well - there are a lot of people that think they can - but that's different and it's also different from outsroucing mechanical jobs and call centre work because there's formal local knowledge, experience and qualification that's specific to the 'West' to be able to do the job properly.

It's the same as the 'conveyancing' shops - no proper solicitor I know will use them - I know I won't - in fact as a trainee one of the Friday jobs was to go next door to the JV conveyancing warehouse and sort out their fcku ups of a Friday. The quality was appalling - and that's filling a room with native English speakers. The fools may try it and some people may get a cheap effective deal - but it's likely to unravel....

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Pronlem is, I understand the market 100% on this one. It's what I do.

Convincing myself. If you want examples where it's been tried - Allen & Overy have a chunk of document production in India - secretarial support. The London lawyers refuse to use it because it's not competent product. Translate that to the legal product.

In the same way as you could say that you can get a conveyancing lawyer in Middlesbrough who is a qualified English solicitor to do what I do - in the real world, you can't. For a start, you don't know how the banks work if you think you can.

There could be a place for Indian outsourced legal work, but it's to do Indian legal work. You are all looking for value (and nothing wrong with that) , but you see value as low price. The problem is that money's talking - if you get local lawyers qualified in say Illinois law, those lawyers won't stay in Hyderabad, they will move to Illinois for 20 times the wages.... - once you get to the point where you have done your degree and law school (which costs up to $100K BTW in the US and the local state bars would have to recognise any teachings done in say India (which they won't)) and had a job, you ain't going to be working for $20 an hour in India.

If you want a UK example, why don't major clients use small firms in the north to do their work rather than City monoliths ? And Eversheds, Pinsents etc. don't count - they are always backbiting over their provinical offices - and the bills there are no less than from London....

The same way as I make a job offer to less than 4% of the peope I interview (who have already been filtered by HR and the agencies), there are few people who can do the job well - there are a lot of people that think they can - but that's different and it's also different from outsroucing mechanical jobs and call centre work because there's formal local knowledge, experience and qualification that's specific to the 'West' to be able to do the job properly.

It's the same as the 'conveyancing' shops - no proper solicitor I know will use them - I know I won't - in fact as a trainee one of the Friday jobs was to go next door to the JV conveyancing warehouse and sort out their fcku ups of a Friday. The quality was appalling - and that's filling a room with native English speakers. The fools may try it and some people may get a cheap effective deal - but it's likely to unravel....

I hear what you're saying. The problem is, you're looking at it from your frame of reference. I don't doubt that at the moment, you're expertise is unmatchable by almost any other type of lawyer from any other part of the world. But that's just a local specialism. Local specialisms exist in all sorts of work not just legal work. I think the key point is, that the nature of the business that employs the specialists changes, such that the need for them gradually diminishes.

I take the point made by other posters about lawyers protecting their positions for 500 years. Well, for 500 years, they've been able to afford to do it in the west, because their clients have been rich enough to tolerate their high fees artificially leveraged by the protectionism. That won't be the case in ten or twenty years, if globalisation plays out like people predict. The whole shooting match will simply move abroad, if the only way to keep it here is to employ lawyers on super salaries. It's like tax, or red tape. If a geographical location comes bundled with too much of it, business moves. In the past, the west was so rich comparatively that there were too many other advantages pulling in the opposite direction, and so just as the west's high taxes and high red tape didn't stop business being centred there, neither did high running costs of the salaries of specialists.

I actually take a different view. I think that globalisation will not play out as many expect, and that the shift of business abroad won't be as big or as fast as people predict generally. But that will be true for IT as it will be for lawyers. I might be wrong, in which case law and IT will go abroad. But what won't be happening, in my opinion, is a world in which the main generator of wealth goes abroad, while the main extractor of wealth (i.e. super high unavoidable running costs of lawyers and accountants) stay healthy. No way. That simply does not add up. I sometimes think people think that by going into law or accountancy they shelter themselves from the effects of globalisation. I think they'd be wrong to think that. Western taxes will fall to match those abroad. Western red tape will reduce to match that abroad. Western running costs will fall to match those abroad. Watch and see.

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Pronlem is, I understand the market 100% on this one. It's what I do.

Convincing myself. If you want examples where it's been tried - Allen & Overy have a chunk of document production in India - secretarial support. The London lawyers refuse to use it because it's not competent product. Translate that to the legal product.

Yep that is an excellent argument.

And it is the same excellent argument that has been used by every other profession before it goes bye bye.

Funny thing is the article on bloomberg was probably written/editied/published in India, because i read an article on the BBC about them shifting alot of functions offshore.

Investment Banks are also setting up and expanding offshore and if you think that law is any more specialised/difficult than that you are deluding yourself.

The trick in offshoring well is to a) bring the people onshore for a bit to learn the ropes and then send them back with all their info or B) send some onshore people offshore to do the same thing,

In my opinion law and accountacy are huge targets for this because you will not know where a document is written (or care if it is done well) and numbers add up the same all over the world.

Do not try and defend your position by saying that they could not do it as well as you. There are people in India as bright as you and they can be taught in just the same way that you were. Where you born knowing the law and being able to do your job, nope didnt think so.

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Investment Banks are also setting up and expanding offshore and if you think that law is any more specialised/difficult than that you are deluding yourself.

Do not try and defend your position by saying that they could not do it as well as you. There are people in India as bright as you and they can be taught in just the same way that you were. Where you born knowing the law and being able to do your job, nope didnt think so.

Investment banking - difficult - now you are having a laugh :)

Why are the banks doing work offshore..... it's because they are expanding markets - they are pushing back office and support to reduced overhead place - but you ask anyone that works in one - nobody rates the quality - it's all about the price.

The difference between law and investment banking on expertise is local knowledge - you'd have to send the Indian lawyer to say England to learn the raw skill and get the experience in a top London environment - why would he then go back to India when he can earn a packet here ? There are plenty of people as bright and much brighter than I. I have no doubt that if my clients accepted a cap on my liability at less than sod all and with all the accompanying disclaimers from liability, I am sure they could save a fair bit of money on donkeywork due diligence. BUT, if you think that a sophisticated client is within 20 years of getting Mr Indian lawyer to negotiate agreements cheaper than we can do it (no problem) and where the quality will be consistently up there and where there will be a seamless service to clients and a working realtionship with the other lawyers, then I am not sure you have experience of international corporate finance. In all seriousness, my clients refuse to let me outsource any work to the biggest UK law firm, let alone to Bangalore. They would rather pay the premium for me to do it than get someone else to provide 75-80 % of the job for half the money - and that's the niche I am working - and it's working at the moment. Quality costs..... :) [so if anybody wants to buy, sell or float their enterprise, send me an email.... :)

[i do take on board the thoughts about offshoring and how some of it can (and will) be done there; I don't disagree that there are some legal tasks that a monkey (half trained or more) can do - e.g. setting up data rooms, but I would not trust them to even review minute books and corporate records properly - and BTW, my trainee does that under my supervision, and I am at liberty to write ALL of his time off as it's all accounted for - and even if I do charge for him, it's usually with a write off that means he equates to about £50 an hour.... - and his first from Cambridge is not that bad..... :)]

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RAchman - I cannot comment knowledgeably re lawyers and offshoring however IT IS A FACT that accountants and commercial banks have done so by the barrelload and its going to rampage even more now, with the City downturn. Personally, I see no reason why a senior (client facing) lawyer wouldn't use an Indian junior just as s/he uses a Uk one. The senior just checks it and approves or otherwise. For a saving of > 60% they will.

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I think there's a disparity in timeframes here.

Rachman is saying that we won't see major changes on this front in our lifetime, with which I agree.

Other posters are taking a more long term view, with which I also agree.

Laws are converging. Jurisdictional differences are going to become less important over time. Once we have say an EU civil law (say in 100 years time) - why won't people in India, Asia or Africa be able to qualify in that and compete with the 'locals' in providing those services? It will happen. But not for a long while yet.

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Personally, I see no reason why a senior (client facing) lawyer wouldn't use an Indian junior just as s/he uses a Uk one. The senior just checks it and approves or otherwise. For a saving of > 60% they will.

I think we are talking about different things - producing a 'standard' document template e.g. conveyancing, or a standard service level agreement template is two worlds away from putting a deal together and actually negotiating an agreed deal then documenting it.

You try to get an Indian in India to put the jigsaw of debt, equity, sale and purchase, management investment etc. etc. all at the same time - today I doubt there is an Indian legal firm that is able to do it - Christ, a lot of UK top 20 firms can't do it consistently properly.....

But as always, some people want price, others want quality - professional indemnity insurers' premiums tell you where the risk lies. Get a bad one and it's a shocker; I won't use conveyancing bucket shops - I have seen the unqualified inexperience and incompetence in them first hand - we all used to get free conveyancing from them - NOT ONE OF US WOULD USE THEM, even for free. And that's using UK people and one floor below us - if they were 5,000 miles away..... you'd have to be certifiable.... [with the current standard of work product (which is lowest common denominator - I am sure some people there are (or have the ability to become) excellent....) is, bluntly, crap]

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I remember when they said that Management Accts and Certified Accts were not the same as Chartereds. I remember when they said Tesco could never convey or sell real estate. I remember when they said opticians could never have open competition. I remember when private hospitals would never be able to do what NHS does. They all said 'it can't be done'. It amazes me that you believe that Indian PhDs and Masters who are trained beyong belief, that they can't write legal documents etc

They can and they will. Clifford Chance partners et al will salivate at 60% reduction in costs as their fees are restricited due to economic decline.

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They can and they will. Clifford Chance partners et al will salivate at 60% reduction in costs as their fees are restricited due to economic decline.

Will they get 60% reductions? In the IT industry those sort of savings from off shoring work to India disappeared some time ago.

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I do agree with everything that Rachman says (I am also a corporate lawyer). The term outsourcing is banded about too liberally on this topic to be helpful. Outsourcing of document production (typing, document amendment, dictation etc.) has been tried before and it has failed. It is difficult to get a home grown secretary to do it well never mind someone who has never stepped foot on English soil.

I remember fondly the time when a secretary thought that due diligence was spelt "jew dilijence". :lol::lol:

ps. feet didn't touch the ground before she went :P

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They can and they will. Clifford Chance partners et al will salivate at 60% reduction in costs as their fees are restricited due to economic decline.
CC will do what they (and the rest of the Magic Circle) always do - get rid of the dross they hired to put bums on seats and keep the quality associates - there has been a hiring glut where anyone with a practising certificate gets a job - the quality goes downhill.

the partners at CC know this and they know that (esp. in CC's case) they have such entrenched institutional relationships with say, the banks, that they are not going to struggle for pennies, even in the worst case. you also have to remember that the CC partners are the ones on the hook - they can't just say to a client, oh, Gupta screwed it up - because they'll have to fix it.

I'd also comment that the bigger firms hire the best people with the best qualifications - are you suggesting that the Oxbridge graduates won't be in demand because they are the best and that clients won't pay for the best, they will pay less for lower quality.... - they might do it once...... - seriously, have you ever worked with an Indian law firm - I have - they were APPALLINGLY bad - and they were ranked #1 for law in India - I simply will NOT work with them again - and told my client that - and they were not cheap either....

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Do not try and defend your position by saying that they could not do it as well as you. There are people in India as bright as you and they can be taught in just the same way that you were. Where you born knowing the law and being able to do your job, nope didnt think so.

Not only that, but the Indian legal system is based on English common law - makes it a lot easier to oursource the easy/generic stuff. As the UK lawyers who do the easy/generic stuff are made redundant, they will try and keep ahead of Indians by moving up the value chain and competing for the most difficult to outsource jobs e.g. property conveyancing, solicitors trying to become barristers, etc.

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they will try and keep ahead of Indians by moving up the value chain and competing for the most difficult to outsource jobs e.g. property conveyancing, solicitors trying to become barristers, etc.

I am afraid my sarcasm radar is off today - are you being serious with the above ? conveyancing, difficult ?

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I am afraid my sarcasm radar is off today - are you being serious with the above ? conveyancing, difficult ?

Thought it would be diificult to outsource because it requires some local knowledge? If it can all easily be done online in India, then that just reinforces my point - all the redundant conveyancers will be competing for the few jobs that can't be.

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Thought it would be diificult to outsource because it requires some local knowledge? If it can all easily be done online in India, then that just reinforces my point - all the redundant conveyancers will be competing for the few jobs that can't be.

And I can guarantee you that the redundant conveyancers won't be applying for or getting 60-90 hour a week jobs that mean you get phone calls at all times on all days of the week. They don't have either the skills or the experience to do it and they don't want to do it either... that's why they did conveyancing...

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