One trend that we have often noted is how talent continues to migrate from traditional legal and litigation support firms to legal outsourcing vendors.
Globally-minded, entrepreneurial legal professionals have increasingly taken on roles in business development and operations, in both on and offshore capacities for legal outsourcing vendors. The growth in compensation, prestige and expanded career opportunities make positions at outside vendors an increasingly attractive option for legal professionals. The result is a greater depth of skill sets and legitimacy for legal outsourcing vendors. While not a major constituent, it is a growing demographic.
In marked contrast to this paradigm, Clifford Chance recently announced the promotion for two of the most promising lawyers from their offshore knowledge center in Gurgaon, India to associate positions in London and Abu Dhabi.
As noted by Legally India: The starting salary at Clifford Chance’s offshoring centre is understood to be around Rs 5.5 lakhs (£7,700) per annum. Starting salaries for a newly qualified lawyer at Clifford Chance in London are currently £59,000 (Rs 45 lakhs) per year.
While currently this is an anomaly, I suspect that it will not be the last occurrence. It is also a good indicator of the blurring lines between “us” and “them” – vendor and client. Regardless, as clearly demonstrated by the increase in salary, this is quite an opportunity for the two new associates.