After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
Designation: Managing director, Pangea3
Career: A qualified lawyer, he has been in the legal outsourcing business for the past decade. Before Pangea3, he spent six years with Applied Discovery, an electronic discovery firm.
Q. It has been over seven years since Pangea3 started and three since it was acquired by Thomson Reuters. How is the LPO business doing for Thomson Reuters?
The legal process outsourcing industry (LPO) is estimated between $500 million and $1 billion today, with double digit CAGR. When Thomson Reuters acquired Pangea3 in November 2010, we had 540 employees and today we have 1,000. We are the fastest growing business within Thomson Reuters Legal and our business with law firms year over year is up about 100 percent. So it is an exciting business. It continues to be a wonderful alternative career path for Indian attorneys. It allows them to interact with the legal departments of large companies day in and out. They work on matters that the The Wall Street Journal reports on its front page.
Q. There has been some challenge to the Indian LPO industry from other countries. How serious is that?
There is a top tier of companies that are growing and healthy. There are also a lot of start-up LPOs that we thought would die down, but they are still being set up. This is because the market realises that India continues to be the place for LPO. There has been noise from the Philippines, eastern Europe, South Africa and Israel, but there is no answer to the depth of intellectual capacity and numbers of lawyers India is putting out.
Q. Is the next round of growth going to come from reaching out to more law firms and corporate legal departments, or is it going to come from broadening the array of services offered?
Both. Every LPO in India has called the top corporate legal departments and law firms in Europe and the US, but the market continues to change. The law firm that hung up on one of our sales people six months ago is now calling us. The general counsel who was not comfortable with us doing electronic discovery [electronic exchange of litigation date] is now pushing his law firm to use us for every electronic delivery. The market is shifting from cost reduction to value creation. One of the most exciting engagements we are working on is for a large law firm working on a criminal matter in a US federal court. We have been doing document review on this matter for the last year-and-a-half. We have two employees who are with them on the ground in New York and 30 people in Mumbai are a support team. At the end of every day, there are complex fact-finding tasks that are being done out of Mumbai.
Q. What are Thomson Reuters’ plans for the legal business?
In 2010, when Thomson Reuters wanted a presence in this business, they scoured the industry and found us as one of the fastest growing companies. But it is the promise of how we as a service company can combine with their content and software to create robust solutions for the industry (Thomson Reuters owns Westlaw, a legal database). So the best is yet to come.