A Collaborative Model of Offshore Legal Outsourcing

56 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2010 Last revised: 24 May 2012

See all articles by Cassandra Burke Robertson

Cassandra Burke Robertson

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: November 8, 2010


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.

Keywords: Legal Profession, Legal Services, Outsourcing, Offshoring, American Bar Association (ABA), Social Psychology, Economics, Organizational Behavior, India, Contracts, Responsibility, Cultural Misunderstandings

JEL Classification: K12, K29, K49

Suggested Citation

Robertson, Cassandra Burke, A Collaborative Model of Offshore Legal Outsourcing (November 8, 2010). 43 ARIZ. ST. L.J. 125 (2011) , Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-35, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1705505

Cassandra Burke Robertson (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
216-368-3302 (Phone)

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