Overseas outsourcing. For me, the jury is out and deliberating and has been that way for quite some time. Today, Ken Adams at Adams Drafting took the words out of my mouth (or my typing fingers): as long as the outsourcer has realistic expectations about the limitations on what may be returned from the outsourcee, then the practice has worth.
For Ken, there should be an inverse relationship between the complexity of the task and outcome in a given matter and the desire to outsource to a general-practice offshore vendor or captive firm. In the case of contract drafting, real contract “drafting” (as compared to contract “tweaking”) requires a specific set of skills and experience, particularly with the peculiarities of the jurisdiction’s laws and treatment. Any vendor with insufficient experience in the task at hand can fall prey to pitfalls in creating a tight, effective product.
For me, the decision to turn over any research or writing project to a generalist rather than a specialist should not be a cavalier endeavor. The downside of investing in a case of discount soda at the bulk warehouse? A nasty taste in one’s mouth. The downside of submitting a complex legal question for discount treatment? A far more bitter taste and potentially longer-lasting consequence.
For those considering outsourcing to a foreign jurisdiction, consider all the alternatives. One of those alternatives might be turning the work over to a contract lawyer with a particular specialty or, in the case of a complex contract drafting matter, the drafting expert in the relevant jurisdiction. We might be a better bargain in the long-run than you think.