Weekly Newsletter

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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

Outsourcing and Offshoring Legal Services

Cassandra Burke Robertson J.D. - Associate Professor of Law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Friday December 9, 2011
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

This does not sound like good news for law schools, or their students.

Their most profitable customer, American corporations, is disgruntled. The trade association for in-house lawyers reports that, "(f)or the past two decades, there has been an unrelenting drive by companies and their suppliers to reduce costs while increasing quality and value in their products and services. The only outlier seemed to be the law firms." Cisco's General Counsel calls the current legal business model "the last vestige of the medieval guild system to survive into the 21st century." Now common thinking about reducing costs is being applied to the market for legal services. (For an example, from which the first quote is taken, see, "It's All About Value.")

And how do companies save money these days? By outsourcing. "Legal process outsourcing," usually to India, has become a growing aspect of the legal business. In a recent article, Professor Robertson reports that, "(t)he 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." She reports on a defamation lawsuit against the British distributor of Da Ali G Show in which the defendant, rather than settling to avoid legal costs, used cheaper offshore services to reduce those costs - and won. As she describes, "offshoring the defense in that case did not merely replace domestic legal services with a lower-cost alternative elsewhere; instead, it changed the nature of the defense entirely."

What are the implications of this development? Foreign firms cannot actually represent the client in court, and in some businesses cheaper services lead to larger demand. Coordination of foreign work could become a new competence for domestic firms. There are many risks to clients if the coordination is managed poorly. Professor Robertson has been studying the socioeconomic, social psychological, and organizational issues related to offshore legal outsourcing. There's a lot to think about and discuss!

This will be the final discussion of Fall Semester. We will begin again on January 20, the first Friday of "Spring" Semester. I hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy.

Very best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest...

Prior to joining the Case Western Reserve University School of Law faculty in 2007, Cassandra Burke Robertson clerked for the Texas Supreme Court and served as Assistant Solicitor General in the Office of the Texas Attorney General. She teaches Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility, International Civil Litigation, and Remedies. She received a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where she also obtained joint master's degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Public Affairs. Professor Robertson's scholarship focuses on legal ethics and litigation procedure within a globalizing practice of law. She has published in the Columbia Law Review, Boston College Law Review, and the Washington Law Review, among others.

Where We Meet

This year the Friday Public Affairs Lunch will convene each Friday when classes are in session in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. There is also on-street parking on both East Drive and Bellflower. Both are fairly short walks from the library.
December 5, 2011

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to: padg@case.edu

Upcoming Events

Preventing the Financing of Terrorism: the Role of Financial Institutions

Richard Gordon, Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, December 14, 2011, 8:30-9:30 a.m., The City Club of Cleveland, 850 Euclid Ave., 2nd floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Both U.S. and international law have long required regulated financial institutions to help fight money laundering through a series of due diligence measures. These include identifying their customers, establishing client profiles, monitoring for unusual transactions, reviewing those transactions to see if there was suspicion that they involved the proceeds of crime and, if so, reporting the transaction to the authorities in the form of a suspicious activity report (SAR).

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the duties of financial institutions were expanded to detect and report terrorist financing. However, there was little in the way of known patterns of terrorism financing that financial institutions could use to help identify such transactions. For this reason, the U.N. Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force requested a comprehensive study on past terrorism financing. This recently completed study provides evidence of how terrorist actually use financial institutions to support terror. This study should help both financial institutions in implementing their due diligence requirements and government authorities tasked with ensuring implementation.

December 2011









































About the Friday Lunch Newsletter

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to: padg@case.edu.

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