Business, Economics and Jobs

Outsourced or insourced: Mr. Singh, collection agent

Legal process outsourcing is a booming business, and a central focus of GlobalPost's America: the Gutted series, as I mentioned yesterday here.  But that doesn't mean it works for everybody.

For New Delhi's Rajinder Singh, a lawyer with his own practice who specializes in bail cases and domestic disputes, it's been a mixed bag. As yesterday's post pointed out, he learned quickly that foreign firms may have unreasonable ideas about just how cheaply Indians are willing to work. (Okay, there are guys running around outside the Patiala House courts who will file your matter for $10 -- but they're in the long game: your case will probably go on for 10 or 15 years).

But our friend Rajinder got some of his own back later on, when his skills as a litigator were called into play.

One fine day, an India-based LPO company approached him for a different kind of outsourcing: Turns out they were hiring legions of young lawyers, straight out of school, with the carrot that the firm would send them for training at the head office in the west -- a trip that cost the firm $5,000 or more a pop. Though the company made its new hires sign a bond to the effect that they'd return that money if they left the firm before a fixed period had elapsed, the young lawyers weren't buying it.  As soon as they got back to Delhi and started rowing in the firm galley, they jumped ship.

Rajinder's job: Writing stern legal notices to the deserters, and threatening them with a long, irritating, and (of course) futile litigation process. Within a few months, he recovered some $60,000 for his client, and earned himself a nice, fat bonus.

Up next: Mr. Singh goes to London