Call My Lawyer ... in India

Call-center jobs were first; now U.S. companies are looking offshore for their legal work too

Michael Rubenstein / Redux for TIME

Seema Sharma, left, 23 of Kashmir and Leena Dixit, 42 of Maharashtra at their desks at Mindcrest Legal Outsourcing in Pune, India.

Mark Alexander, a Dallas attorney, says he's ethically obligated to do what's best for his clients, "and that includes saving them money." So when one of them asks him to research a securities-fraud topic, for example, or breach of contract, he doesn't even think about applying his $395 hourly rate. Instead, he calls Atlas Legal Research, an outsourcing company based in Irving, Texas, that uses lawyers in India to provide the service for $60 per hr. "When a client pays me a $25,000 retainer and I can save them money, I will do so," says Alexander. Handing off the work to...

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