The same cost considerations that have impelled so many industries in the United States to send administrative support work overseas have reached the legal industry. Unlike many industries that outsource, lawyers in the United States are subject to unique professional responsibility regulations. In sending legal work overseas, United States law firms are handing over work to individuals who are not subject to the disciplinary authority of state or local bar associations, may have limited legal training, and do not necessarily have any legal responsibility to abide by United States laws and ethical rules applicable to lawyers. Without properly structuring an outsourcing or off-shoring arrangement to address such issues, an improper outsourcing arrangement could lead to serious legal ethics violations and a new variety of disciplinary action against attorneys.
James I. Ham, Ethical Considerations Relating to Outsourcing of Legal Services by Law Firms to Foreign Service Providers: Perspectives from the United States, 27 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 323 (2008).