Well, at least now we can assume we know where a lot of those 132 jobs at Banks-Baldwin are going to wind up. According to the Philippine Business Mirror, Thomson Reuters Legal (TR Legal) is using its 275 employee Taguig City, Philippines office as a launching pad. According the article, the Filipino office will be where the “data are processed, codified, proofread, analyzed and validated by Filipino employees and packaged as products for the customers in print, digital or online format.”
Outsourcing to India and the Philippines is not new, even for TR Legal. I did find it interesting to see the wording that TR Legal COO Vin Caraher used when describing what they are doing. Caraher said that this office is “not legal outsourcing. We’re hiring and training them as our employees.” Granted, this is not legal outsourcing, but the semantics of the discussion are probably pretty hard to hear from those at Banks-Baldwin who are watching their jobs go to overseas offices. It’s also got to sting when they also read from Caraher that TR Legals expansion in the Philippines “reflects our commitment to growing our capabilities in the Philippines. The work being done at this site by our highly skilled and talented team is critical to our global content operations, and in supporting legal professionals around the world.” John Elstad, Senior VP of Legal-Editorial Operations, seemed to go a little further in his comments than TR Legal usually does when discussing the work performed at its off-shore operations by saying that they don’t just gather data, but analyze the data and “add value to it.”
It seems that legal editorial work has gone the way of manufacturing and is making its way out of the United States and off to India and the Philippines. Again, not a shocking statement… we’ve all watched this trickle away for years now. This is just one more chapter in the ever shrinking legal publishing market, and the race to find the cheapest labor pool. Perhaps the good new will be that will all the savings that TR Legal is getting through moving positions overseas, perhaps we’ll see a drop in the price of their products?? If not, then how are we, the customer benefiting??