Herbert Smith to open Belfast office to handle litigation due diligence

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  • "the work will be done much cheaper but not necessarily as well"
    My understanding is that this is about unbundling of legal services. It is not about replacing those services entirely. More basic tasks are probably managed better outside a magic/silver circle law firm. It really doesn't matter, with work lower down the value chain, whether the lawyers are English qualified or not.
    "complex projects such as disclosure are important but can increasingly be systematised and managed in new ways"
    This is about smaller firms/outsourcing companies specialising in tasks where previously no specialism existed. Arguably, the folks in NI are looking to achieve greater things than the magic circle did with "boring tasks we can give to the trainee".

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  • It also reflects what a crazy process (and money making exercise for the lawyers and e-disclosure providers) disclosure has become. It's not something parties to litigation want, but the CPR imposes it on them and their legal advisers who are required to sign it off. It's a real shame Jackson didn't take hold of this and look to Europe for a sensible and proportionate way forward.

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  • NI has some of the best litigators in the world. It comes with the whole "divided society" lark and our propensity to argue with each other. I suggest "IHateBPP" gets his facts straight and then peddles his xenophobic rantings elsewhere.
    As a city (ie London!) trained solicitor (who, coincidentally, did complete the tortuous examination of profound legal knowledge that is the LPC) I take exception to IHateBPP's comments. NI has a proud legal tradition which is separate to that of England and Wales. Now, where is that other country that has a similarly proud legal tradition? Oh yes, that would be Scotland. And France come to think of it. And the USA. And, oh, every other country in the world. I assume that "most" [Scots][French][US] lawyers should be classed as similarly debilitated by not having completed the devious complexities of the LPC.
    And, for the record IHateBPP, you'll need to understand the concept of irony in order to fully appreciate this post. But I'll forgive you if that's beyond you.
    Now, did someone mention that Herbies want me to paginate bundles for them?

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  • IHateBPP, that has to be one of the most ill-informed comments I've ever read. There are plenty of well educated people in Belfast who will do a great job for Herbert Smith. If anything the people of Belfast should be insulted that a major law firm has decided to set up an outsourcing sweat shop in their city akin to those in India.
    No, I am not Irish nor have I ever lived in Belfast.

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  • Belfast is emerging as the new centre for LPO & BPO - there will be many more top ten or MC firms to go down this route, watch this space - what's not to like? When there is the chance to move high cost roles out of higher cost locations and with proper management of quality, maintain a service to clients.
    Offshoring, outsourced, owned & operated, all have benefit.
    Not sure that being at the bottom of the foodchain whether the support or legal side of a business is the place to be. Morale? retention? Firm ethos?
    Would like to see the recruitment spin for some of these places.

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  • Language barrier might be an issue - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unGtpBP83as&feature=related

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  • I cannot agree with IHateBPP's rather ignorant view above. I am a solicitor practising in NI but like many of my colleagues I trained in London before returning home after a number of years. Solicitors in the larger Belfast firms would have considerable experience of this sort of work and could do it for a much reduced fee when compared wth their London counterparts.

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  • Ah, duddums. A sweeping accusation from an angry vested interest.
    I am sure HS managers will be quite well placed to assess the quality of the NI lawyers they employ.
    English lawyers really have it coming to them. They think they are worth "x". It turns out that someone else can do it just as well for" X minus 50%". And, guess what - the cheaper lawyers win the work.
    It's called market forces. Get used to it.

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  • "Anonymous | 24-Nov-2010 3:17 pm", the Institute entrance test is hardly a test of anyone's ability. It's a test of who can afford the tutoring. In any event, the results of the Insitute test have been irrelevant now for years.
    As anyone who has been to the Institute knows, the "training" it offers is a joke.
    There are some good lawyers in NI but I can't imagine they will leave their firm, in NI or England, to spend any length of time in a documentation sausage factory.The only people chasing the jobs in it will be the hoardes of unpaid trainees whose training contract consisted solely of residential conveyancing, if anything.

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  • Let's just step back and look at this from the client's point of view - i.e. the person who is actually paying for the work to be done.
    (1) does this work have to be done by a 3 yr + PQE lawyer? - no.
    (2) can this work be done in the 'sausage factory' referred to above? - yes as long as it is well managed and properly controlled and supervised
    (3) can people get good job satisfaction from working on the 'sausage factory floor'? - yes many people do - as long as their employer understands the nature of the workforce and treats them accordingly. This might mean that there are ultimately fewer jobs for qualified lawyers but that is unfortunately the nature of progress.
    (4) will the client get better value for money if it is? - probably
    (5) does the legal profession have to take into account the views of its clients and change just as they are changing? - yes
    (6) remember all your clients have to give their customers better value year after year - this means learning from what has been done in the past, getting better at it, getting more efficient at it - and then passing the cost saving on to your customer.

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