Outsourcing. The word conjures up images of Indian call centres and protestors waving placards saying: “British jobs for British workers.”
But it is also something of a hot topic in the legal sector. More and more firms are looking at ways to improve efficiency by sending low level legal work abroad - the latest being elite City firm Slaughter and May (see story).
And if the City’s most traditional firm is prepared to utter the O-word, why can’t public sector organisations?
Some of the more forward-thinking already are. Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in the UK, is looking at some of the options. Head legal honcho Mirza Ahmad told The Lawyer: “The public sector cannot turn a blind eye to this.”
Of course, outsourcing is a divisive issue. While some say it is an inevitable step in the march towards progress, others recoil in horror at the prospect of even more legal jobs going walkabout. This is particularly sensitive in local government, where council positions are jealously protected.
But like it or not, outsourcing is coming to an office near you. If the companies selling offshore services to law firms are to be believed, it is going to be sooner rather than later. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.