India's leading newspaper, The Times of India reports (above the fold, on the front page of the Times Business section) that relatively small outsourcing providers, especially legal outsourcing / LPO provider SmithDehn INDIA, "seem to be giving giants like Hewlett Packard, IBM, Accenture, TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL and Cognizant tough competition in terms of offering a greater degree of customer satisfaction."
In particular, according to the Times report ("Davids Take On Goliaths in Offshoring"), SmithDehn INDIA has been ranked the #1 outsourcing company in the World, and #2 in general, out of over 2,700 vendors evaluated, leaping ahead of hundreds of larger players, when it comes to satisfying clients:
A comprehensive poll of over 6,547 outsourcing clients worldwide found that smaller vendors are satisfying more clients, and to a much greater degree, in comparison with their big-ticket counterparts. The study carried out by the Black Book of Outsourcing --which was acquired by business research firm Datamonitor Group a year ago -- has represented all outsourcing fields including IT, KPO, LPO and BPO.
Although feedback on the big names, such as IBM and HP, has been generally positive, the companies that have excelled in delighting the customers have been smaller players. For instance, the Philippines-based ITeS firm, American Discovery and Mysore-based legal process outsourcing firm, SmithDehn INDIA, have been ranked as the top two outsourcing companies in the world. The study has assessed customer satisfaction using nine different parameters like requirements awareness, shared goals, financial benefits, risk mitigation, partnership approach, problem resolution, corporate reputation, skills and resources and future orientation.
"Like the latest cutting-edge Indian IT engineers, our legal team has proven that India does not need to be a mere 'back office' for the West. In fact, our team has been consistently performing critical 'front-office functions' like sophisticated legal research, analysis and drafting, and in the process, wowing global clients,'' said Russell A. Smith, President, SDD Global [SmithDehn INDIA].
So what makes smaller players stand tall?
"Smaller outsourcing providers like SDD Global [SmithDehn INDIA] have been pushing their specialist knowledge and deep client understanding as their unique selling point for some time now, claiming that specialists provide a better service. While all outsourcers talk up their ability to specialise, this survey suggests that SmithDehn INDIA and other smaller players are best positioned to deliver on that promise,'' said Eamonn Kennedy, who led the research for Datamonitor.
Vidya Devaiah, Managing Director at SmithDehn INDIA, welcomed the news as follows: "We are grateful that so many of our clients were surveyed, ranging from large and small corporations to law firms, and that they had an opportunity to share their enthusiasm for our work." Indeed, SmithDehn INDIA has assembled a surprising array of fans. They include, for example, Hollywood mega-celebrity and litigation‐magnet Sacha Baron Cohen. This star of such films as "Borat" and "Bruno," who is soon to play Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in a major biopic produced by Robert De Niro, issued a public statement on the SmithDehn INDIA website, saying that "SDD Global Solutions [SmithDehn INDIA] will go down in history as a group of revolutionary lawyers." This was after the high-end legal outsourcing KPO played a crucial role in defeating various lawsuits against 20th Century Fox, HBO, Universal Pictures, Channel 4, Media Rights Capital, and other film and television companies.
With a unanimous, landmark victory from a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, protecting "the free speech rights of all comedy performers and humorists," Channel Four Television Corporation and its U.S. counsel, SmithDehn LLP, have defeated a libel case involving a plaintiff who sought US$800,000 dollars in damages, all allegedly due to the inclusion of her name in a comedy routine.
The plaintiff, who sued as "Jane Doe," claimed that Sacha Baron Cohen used her name in a comedy "interview" by "Ali G" with the noted historian, Gore Vidal. In the interview, "Ali G" asked Mr. Vidal why there is any point in amending the U.S. Constitution, since he (Ali G) had a girlfriend (the plaintiff) who was constantly "amending herself" but to no avail.
The California Court of Appeal, in a pro-media decision that is the first appellate ruling of its kind in the U.S., affirmed the Los Angeles Superior Court's dismissal of the lawsuit, ruling in part as follows:
"The Ali G character made the statements during a comedy show in the context of an interview with Vidal involving a series of other comedic and sometimes crude statements that could not be reasonably understood as asserting actual facts. Ali G's unremittingly facetious statements included comments about Vidal's being a world famous hairstylist; Denzel Washington's living in George Washington's former Mount Vernon home; John Paul Jones being a quadriplegic; the world running out of gravity, which was discovered by Sir Isaac Newton-John; euthanasia meaning the killing of elderly people by youth in Asia; and Ali G's face being added to Mount Rushmore. Taken in context, a reasonable viewer would have no basis for distinguishing these satirical and imaginative statements from statements purporting to detail Ali G's prior relationship with a minger.... To hold otherwise would run afoul of the First Amendment and chill the free speech rights of all comedy performers and humorists, to the genuine detriment of our society."
Channel 4's Controller of Legal & Compliance, Prash Naik, commented as follows: "Channel 4 welcomes the appeals court decision, which upholds the summary judgment we secured last year and vindicates our two-year fight to defeat this unmeritorious claim."
The legal work in defeating the lawsuit and winning the appeal was conducted for the most part by SmithDehn INDIA, the legal outsourcing / LPO / legal KPO arm of Channel 4's U.S. counsel, SmithDehn LLP in a groundbreaking case where "outsourcing" has proved to be a creative solution in defending against baseless litigation.
Channel 4's Prash Naik added: "U.S. court actions are extremely costly to run and even where a defendant wins, little if any of their costs are recoverable from the plaintiff. As so often happens in cases like this, the 'chilling effect' of the threat of substantial damages and significant legal costs, forces defendants to settle with plaintiffs who have no justifiable claim. However, combining the skills and expertise of US attorneys with US-law-trained Indian attorneys has proved to be an innovative and cost-effective way for Channel 4 to fight and win the suit."
Sanjay Bhatia, SmithDehn INDIA's Head of Operations, commented that "this is a case where outsourcing created more work in the US, rather than less. Because our team made the defense affordable, US lawyers were able to do the things in the US that they do best there, such as strategizing, supervising, editing, and appearing in court. The implications of this case are huge. With legal outsourcing, baseless lawsuits can be defeated on their merits, instead of settled simply out of fear of legal fees."
Acclaimed actor, comedian, and filmmaker Sacha Baron Cohen, who is on several major media lists of the 100 most influential people in the world, has never made a commercial endorsement. But because of the successes that the legal team at SmithDehn INDIA have helped him achieve, regarding "Da Ali G Show," "Borat," and "Bruno," Sacha Baron Cohen has issued the following testimonial: "SDD Global Solutions [SmithDehn INDIA] will go down in history as a group of revolutionary lawyers." He also has praised his India team in numerous press interviews, and even in the commentary on his latest "Bruno" DVD.
SmithDehn INDIA has been ranked among the 2009 top ten, out of over 200 legal outsourcing companies worldwide, in a report released by The Wall Street Journal and Business Week magazine, in conjunction with The Black Book of Outsourcing. The Black Book grades vendors on 18 key performance indicators for operational excellence and service delivery, based on client surveys. This is the second year in a row in which SmithDehn INDIA has been so honored. The Black Book has been endorsed by such leaders as Robert Reich, U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, Thomas J. Donaghue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Joseph P. Quinlan, Chief Global Economist at The Johns Hopkins University.
In the June issue of one of India's two leading legal magazines, the India Business Law Journal, SmithDehn INDIA's managing U.S. law firm is included in the cover story entitled, "Leading from the Front: The Top Foreign Firms for India Work." SmithDehn LLP is listed among the "10 ambitious law firms that promise to make an impact with their innovation, perserverance and legal prowess." Referring to SmithDehn in particular, the magazine reports as follows: "Although [SmithDehn] practices strictly US law, many of its staff, including name partner Russell Smith, are based in Mysore. SmithDehn INDIA is its legal outsourcing unit, and the group recently launched a Bangalore-based IP practice. Its hybrid nature will allow it to hold a unique position if India allows the entry of foreign law firms. The Mysore team recently prepared a successful US defence for a libel accusation against Borat actor Sacha Baron Cohen."
Our general counsel, Kwarma Vanderpuye recently participated in the Qatar Law Forum, held in Doha from May 29 to May 31, 2009. Kwarma received a special invitation to attend the forum from the Quraysh Institute for Law and Policy in Doha and the Qatar Ministry of Foreign affairs, headed by Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs, H.E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassam bin Jabr Al-Thani.
The Forum, also called the "Legal G 20" was themed 'A Global Commitment to the Rule of Law' and convened international leaders in law from across the globe to discuss legal education, the administration of justice and international dispute resolution in the age of globalization. Kwarma joined other distinguished invited participants at the forum, including top level general counsel from international corporations and organizations such as the World Bank and the New York Federal Reserve. Additionally, Senior judges from every continent and several international judicial and regulatory entities participated in the forum, including the Chief Judge of the International Court of Justice in the Hague and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India and several United States Federal Judges from both the District and Circuit Courts of Appeals. The distinguished academics and luminaries in attendance represented various elite universities and bar associations across the globe and included the president of the American Bar Association.
The sessions of the forum covered trends in legal education, women and the law from a global perspective, international judicial bodies, international dispute resolution, the challenges of globalization as well as the changes necessary to ensure the universal participation in the rule of law.
In a landmark decision which will benefit comedy writers, performers, television broadcasters, and film studios in the US, Channel 4 and its U.S. counsel, SmithDehn LLP, have defeated a libel case filed in Los Angeles by a plaintiff who sought US$800,000 dollars in damages, all allegedly due to the inclusion of her name in a comedy routine.
The plaintiff, who sued as "Jane Doe," claimed that Sacha Baron Cohen used her name in a comedy "interview" by "Ali G" with the noted historian, Gore Vidal. In the interview, "Ali G" asked Mr. Vidal why there is any point in amending the U.S. Constitution, since he (Ali G) had a girlfriend (the plaintiff) who was constantly "amending herself" but to no avail.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman, in a landmark, pro-media decision that is only the second of its kind in the U.S. (the first being a New York decision in favour of Saturday Night Live), decisively threw out the lawsuit, ruling in part as follows:
"No reasonable person could consider the statements made by Ali G on the program to be factual. To the contrary, it is obvious that the Ali G character is absurd, and all his statements are gibberish and intended as comedy. The actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, never strays from the Ali G character, who is dressed in a ridiculous outfit and speaks in the exaggerated manner of a rap artist. Ali G's statements are similarly absurd. For example, prior to the reference to Plaintiff, while "interviewing" the author Gore Vidal, Ali G refers to the Constitution of the United States as having been written on two tablets, clearly intended to confuse the Constitution with the Ten Commandments. Altogether, the program is obviously a spoof of a serious interview program. No reasonable person could think otherwise"
Channel 4's Controller of Legal & Compliance, Prash Naik, commented: "this is an important ruling for Channel 4 and sends out a clear signal that we will not hesitate to fight unmeritorious claims of this nature".
The action was fought by SmithDehn INDIA, the India arm of Channel 4's U.S. counsel, SmithDehn LLP in a groundbreaking case where "outsourcing" has proved to be a creative solution to running a robust defence.
Prash Naik added: "US court actions are extremely costly to run, and even where a defendant wins, little if any of their costs are recoverable from the plaintiff. As so often happens in cases like this, the "chilling effect" of the threat of substantial damages and significant legal costs, forces defendants to settle with plaintiffs who have no justifiable claim. However combining the skills and expertise of US attorneys with US law-trained Indian attorneys has proved to be an innovative and cost-effective way for Channel 4 to fight and win the suit."
Sanjay Bhatia, SmithDehn INDIA's Head of Operations, commented "this is a case where outsourcing created more work in the US, rather than less. Because our team made the defence affordable, US lawyers were able to do the things in the US that they do best there, such as strategizing, supervising, editing, and appearing in court. The implications of this case are huge. With legal outsourcing, baseless lawsuits can be defeated on their merits, instead of settled simply out of fear of legal fees."
On March 12, 2009, in-house counsel for 20 of the largest corporations in the world (such as Bank of America, Cisco Systems, General Electric, Pfizer, Sun Microsystems and others) held a private, invitation-only, summit in New York City with partners from 20 major law firms (such as Kirkland & Ellis, DLA Piper, Proskauer Rose, Davis Wright Tremaine, and others).
The main topic, in light of the global financial crisis, was how to reduce the high cost of legal services, while maintaining or increasing quality and responsiveness. In addition to the large corporations and law firms, one other organization was invited to participate in the meeting: SmithDehn INDIA. SmithDehn INDIA's Kwarma Vanderpuye attended and participated on our behalf. This "Value Challenge" summit was convened by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), the world trade association for corporate legal departments. At the event, inside counsel, outside law firm partners, and SmithDehn INDIA discussed top practices that focus on value in connection with legal services. In particular, the discussions included ideas on alternative fee arrangements, structuring relationships (the processes and strategies to manage the relationship), budgeting processes, performance metrics, demonstrating how law departments add value, leveraging knowledge, and creative staffing (including legal services off-shoring).
SmithDehn INDIA is one of only two legal outsourcing companies in India (along with Pangea3) that has been invited to participate in the General Counsel Roundtable ("GCR") Vendor Preferred Pricing Program. GCR members, which include the legal departments of hundreds of the world's largest corporations, will receive discounts for SmithDehn INDIA's legal research and drafting, handling of commercial transactions and contracts, litigation support, and all manner of patent, trademark, and copyright services.
"We are excited to work with the General Counsel Roundtable and its members" says Sanjay Bhatia, SmithDehn INDIA's Head of Operations. "The GCR is well-known for its innovative research into the most efficient and effective approaches to managing a company's legal department," Bhatia adds. "We share that mission, as we implement the idea of dramatically reducing legal costs in virtually every area, with absolutely no sacrifice in quality, through legal services outsourcing to India." Says Bhatia, "our state-of-the-art operation is in many ways the functional equivalent of a global law firm, minus the traditional law firm prices." For its corporate clients, SDDGS serves as "supplemental in house personnel" to economically handle many assignments traditionally outsourced to law firms at an astronomical expense.
Consistent with its role as an objective source of information for its members, the GCR does not endorse specific vendors and will continue its policy of not accepting any remuneration from a vendor. All program discounts will go directly to GCR members. Over time, GCR plans to expand the program to include qualified vendors used by GCR member legal departments.
About the General Counsel Roundtable
The General Counsel Roundtable (http://www.gcr.executiveboard.com) is a membership program of the Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ:EXBD) (http://www.exbd.com), The General Counsel Roundtable serves hundreds of corporate legal departments around the world, providing practical guidance relating to legal compliance issues, proprietary tools designed to save in house lawyer time, and robust data to help general counsel make decisions, business cases and board presentations.
About the Corporate Executive Board:
The Corporate Executive Board drives faster, more effective decision-making among the world's leading executives and business professionals. As the premier, network-based knowledge resource, it provides them with the authoritative and timely guidance needed to excel in their roles, take decisive action and improve company performance. Powered by an executive network that spans over 50 countries and represents more than 80% of the world's Fortune 500 companies, the Corporate Executive Board offers the unique research insights along with an integrated suite of exclusive tools and resources that enable the world's most successful organizations to deliver superior business outcomes.
LOS ANGELES, February 20, 2009 - A team of Indian lawyers at SmithDehn INDIA drafted, and is credited by name in, the summary judgment brief for dismissal of Doe v. HBO, a high-profile litigation in Los Angeles County Superior Court. For a copy of the brief, please click here. The lawsuit was filed against Sacha Baron Cohen, Channel Four Television, and HBO's "Da Ali G Show." In the case, a woman claims that comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, while playing the role of the television character, "Ali G," libeled her by name during a spoof interview with historian Gore Vidal. Suing under the legal pseudonym, "Jane Doe," the plaintiff claims that Cohen, as "Ali G," falsely claimed to have had sexual relations with her. In the brief drafted by SmithDehn INDIA, the defense argues as follows:
"No reasonable person could have believed the statements, given that they were made by what the plaintiff now admits is a "fictional character," in the context of a series of absurd and unbelievable jokes, in what she admits is a "comedy," where the actor never steps out of his fictional role. This is confirmed by the fact that the plaintiff has no evidence that anyone believed any of the statements, much less the statement at the core of this lawsuit, namely, that the plaintiff had sex with a fictional character. As a matter of California and U.S. constitutional law, such statements are not actionable."
The case is historic, and not only because it is one of the first "libel-in-fiction" cases in the television context. The case is path-breaking also because it is the first high-profile U.S. litigation in which the legal research and first drafts of the motion papers were completed off-shore, by Indian attorneys at a legal outsourcing company. The managing law firm, New York-based SmithDehn LLP, supervised the work and appeared in court on behalf of the moving party, Channel Four Television Corporation. Also present in the courtroom was Padma Shanthamurthy, SmithDehn INDIA team leader, who traveled from her home in Mysore, India to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York to assist with oral arguments and depositions in the case.
One of SmithDehn's founders, veteran media lawyer and Harvard Law School graduate Frank Dehn, noted that "without legal outsourcing, mounting a defense against this baseless lawsuit would not have made economic sense. As so often happens, the defendants would have simply paid the plaintiff to go away. This would have been just to avoid U.S. legal fees, even though the case has no merit. But with a team of excellent, U.S. law-trained, Indian attorneys doing most of the work, it was less expensive for our client to fight the suit, than it would have been to settle."
Sanjay Bhatia, SmithDehn INDIA's Head of Operations, emphasized that "this is a case where outsourcing created more work in the U.S., rather than less. Because our team made the defense affordable, U.S. lawyers were able to do the things in the U.S. that they do best there, such as strategizing, supervising, editing, and appearing in court. The implications of this case are huge. With legal outsourcing, baseless lawsuits can be defeated on the merits, instead of settled simply out of fear of legal fees."
SmithDehn INDIA is co-sponsoring this year's MLRC London Conference on International Developments in Libel, Privacy, Newsgathering, and New Media Law, on October 1-2, 2009. At this conference, over 100 media lawyers from around the world will meet to share information on the latest developments in media law and practice. This a much-anticipated event, both for inside counsel at leading media companies, as well for outside counsel. This year's conference will commence with a keynote address by Lord Hoffmann of the House of Lords, and it will feature practical discussion sessions on libel, privacy, newsgathering and "new media" IP issues. There also will be an in-house counsel meeting on October 2, providing in-house lawyers from around the world with a unique opportunity to discuss their particular practice and management issues. The two-day conference will be held at Stationers' Hall, the ancient guild hall for publishers and printers. SmithDehn INDIA, which provides sophisticated legal research, legal drafting, title searches and other high-end professional support for media companies and media law firms alike, is happy to co-sponsor this most important gathering in the field of media law. For further details, please visit the MLRC (Media Law Resource Center) web site, by clicking here.
The President of SmithDehn INDIA will speak on a panel at this year's 22nd Annual Media and the Law Seminar, co-sponsored by Media Professional Insurance, one of the leading international providers of liability coverage for film and television companies, newspapers, magazines, and other media companies. Other speakers will include the Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. This year's focus will be "The Price of Success: How Publishing a Bestseller or Producing a Blockbuster Film Can Place You in the Litigation Crosshairs." The conference will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel (on the Plaza) in Kansas City on April 17, 2009. SmithDehn INDIA, which has been heavily involved in legal research, legal drafting and other legal support for controversial films such as "Borat," "Death of a President," and Sacha Baron Cohen's upcoming Universal Pictures release, "Bruno," is glad to participate and share its insights at what promises to be a fascinating event.
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 15, 2008 - In a legal case apparently designed by a U.S. law firm to place roadblocks in the way of the fast-growing legal services outsourcing industry in India, the Indian lawyers are fighting back. Newman McIntosh & Hennessy ("NMH"), a U.S. law firm worried about off-shoring of legal work, sued India-based Acumen Legal Services, along with U.S. President George Bush, in the Washington D.C. federal court. In response, Acumen today filed a hard-hitting motion to dismiss.
NMH is suing on the basis of speculation, unsupported by even a single example, that the U.S. government is intercepting all or most of the data sent by U.S. lawyers to foreign legal outsourcing providers, as part of an anti-terrorism campaign. Seizing on that speculation as an excuse, NMH seeks a court order against "all United States-based attorneys" who outsource legal work to India, and "all foreign legal outsourcing providers."
Thanks to a motion to dismiss and supporting legal brief prepared by SmithDehn INDIA in Mysore, India, the NMH law firm is getting an unexpected taste of the kind of high-quality legal work that Indian lawyers can provide, even in the Washington D.C. federal court. In their brief on the motion to dismiss, the legal team for Acumen points out the following:
NMH's requested declaratory and injunctive relief, in addition to having no legal or factual justification, would reach far beyond NMH's obviously intended target, namely, low-cost foreign legal outsourcing companies, which NMH apparently perceives as competition. The requested relief could have a substantial adverse effect on the operations of all U.S. law firms that have foreign offices, and all U.S. corporations that need to use foreign counsel to transact business abroad. NMH's requested ruling that any foreign electronic transmission of data between clients and attorneys, or between attorneys, constitutes a waiver of constitutional rights and discovery privileges, would amount to an untenable and unwarranted interference with global commerce.
Moreover, NMH's request for an order requiring all attorneys in the United States, including in-house counsel, (a) to search for every instance in which they ever transmitted any kind of data to any foreign national, and (b) to send a notification regarding the same in every case, presumably to the owner of the data, would amount to one of the most onerous and unjustified burdens ever imposed by any court in a civil proceeding.
In addition, by requesting the Court to issue declarations answering seven hypothetical legal questions, purportedly because the NMH law firm "need[s] guidance," wants "to gain certainty," and "must understand" various points of law to help the firm "in an increasingly globalized legal services environment," NMH seeks relief that is impermissible under well-established principles governing declaratory judgments. The NMH lawyers, in essence, are seeking to outsource their legal research tasks to this Court, and secondarily to Acumen, President Bush and their respective counsel.
NMH's Complaint is extraordinary, not only for what it contains, but even more so for what it does not. Nowhere in the Complaint does NMH allege:
SmithDehn INDIA, the leader in high-end legal services outsourcing to India, has expanded from Mysore and New York, into London and Bangalore. Already the "go-to" legal provider for Fortune 100 media, entertainment and other companies in Hollywood and elsewhere in the United States, SmithDehn INDIA has added not only new offices, but also new service capabilities, including transactional work and patent services.
London Office Opened
Alex Hannell, one of the world's leading specialists in international media, intellectual property and entertainment transactions, heads SmithDehn INDIA's new London office, and its new service division, The Business and Legal Affairs Group. Led and trained by Hannell, with outstanding attorneys working in Mysore, this new department handles the transactions and commercial legal affairs of film and television companies, and it can do the same for all other kinds of companies, which (a) are no longer willing to tolerate the usual outside counsel rates in the West, and/or (b) want another alternative to hiring in-house lawyers.
Before joining SmithDehn INDIA, Mr. Hannell served as Head of Commercial Affairs for Granada International, the worldwide arm of what is now the U.K.'s largest commercial television company, ITV. He is also a veteran of the pre-eminent London-based law firm, Herbert Smith LLP. From 2002 until 2008, Hannell developed his own roster of film and television clients, including a "who's who" list of such companies as Warner Brothers and countless others.
Bangalore Patent Office Added
Simultaneously, SmithDehn INDIA has opened a patent legal services operation in Bangalore, led by IP experts with an extensive track record in the field. SmithDehn INDIA's multidisciplinary team of patent agents, scientists, and patent attorneys provides in-depth experience, combined with up-to-date technical knowledge. The team handles IP portfolio creation and management, prior art searches, patentability consulting, infringement analysis, patent drafting and prosecution, valuation and licensing, and a host of other IP services.
New Parent Law Firm, SmithDehn LLP
In other news, SmithDehn INDIA is now managed by SmithDehn LLP, the New York and London-based international law firm created by the intellectual property, media, and entertainment attorneys of the former Smith Dornan Dehn PC. Joining these former SDD attorneys at SmithDehn LLP are Alex Hannell in London, former NBC and CBS television in-house counsel Benton Levy, former Chicago Mercantile Exchange Director and Associate General Counsel Patricia Holland, veteran New York trial attorney Kwarma Vanderpuye, U.S. immigration law specialist Priya Kumar, and others.
Says Frank Dehn, a Harvard Law School graduate and managing attorney of SmithDehn's New York office: "Every modern U.S. law firm is now struggling to figure out its 'India Strategy.' We're the only Western law firm that not only has one, but already has been implementing it on the ground."
Another SmithDehn founder, Columbia Law School graduate Russell Smith, who spends most of his time in Mysore, managing SmithDehn INDIA, says: "With its new offices, new practice areas, and new parent law firm, SmithDehn INDIA is poised to achieve its dream. We want to revolutionize the way legal services are delivered to companies and individuals all over the world."
We are pleased to announce the addition of Kwarma Vanderpuye to our team as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Howard Law School, and she also brings extensive and well-known U.S. legal experience to the company. Prior to joining SmithDehn INDIA, Ms Vanderpuye, a stellar trial lawyer, had been a partner for several years at prominent law firms, heading the litigation department at two of them. Ms. Vanderpuye was the first African-American partner at the New York defense firm of Jones Hirsch, where she won sixteen consecutive defense verdicts in high exposure complex litigation cases, which was a record number for the firm. In addition to her role as trial partner, Ms. Vanderpuye served as the firm's EEO compliance officer for several years. Following her tenure at Jones Hirsch, she joined The Cochran Firm, New York, as a litigation partner at the invitation of the late Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Ms. Vanderpuye's career path into the world of legal services offshoring stemmed from her first-hand experience with the efficiency, global reach, and cost-cutting benefits of having a competent offshore team assist in trial preparation for a case pending in New York. Ms. Vanderpuye is admitted to practice in the State and Federal Courts of New York and Michigan, including the Sixth and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals. She is an active member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the International and American Bar Associations.
"SmithDehn INDIA is revolutionizing the practice of law with its unique and sound business model," says Vanderpuye. "We are seeing an increasing number of large corporate clients and others who have a keen interest in the cost-effective alternative we offer to the traditional legal services model. In addition to our solid base in India, which we are expanding, we are also making plans regarding some of the commonwealth countries in Africa as part of our growth." Ms Vanderpuye, born in Ghana, West Africa, will be actively involved in SmithDehn INDIA's Africa expansion phase.
We are pleased to announce that we have entered into a comprehensive funding arrangement with SFP Priority Co., Ltd., a member of the SFP Group, a leading Asia-based investor. The arrangement underscores the significant demand for, and growth potential of, our high-end legal services offshoring business. The multi-faceted arrangement provides for a first round of USD 2 million, to be followed by subsequent rounds on an as-needed basis. SFP Priority will have two representatives join our board of directors. This arrangement is a key component of our strategic plan to expand and consolidate our position as a leading player in the industry. The funding will be used primarily to (a) hire additional Western-licensed attorneys to augment both our extensive employee training program in India and our range of services offered, (b) expand our global marketing efforts, and (c) step up our ongoing recruitment drive for the best and brightest law graduates in India. Established in April 2006, our company has previously received equity funding from investors from organizations including Merrill Lynch, Cisco Systems, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays Capital, as well as a debt facility from State Bank of India.
The Honorable Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of India, presided over the gala launch event for Halsbury's Law Monthly, the new trade magazine for the Indian legal industry, published by LexisNexis and Cyber Media. The cover story for the debut issue, "Beyond the Back Office: How Legal Outsourcing Companies in India Are Moving Up the Value Chain," was authored by Russell Smith, Chairman of SmithDehn INDIA. The cover story amounts to a manifesto for the industry, complete with success stories from various legal outsourcing companies and statistics from expert reports. "The fact that this article was chosen for the cover story reflects a recognition of the growing impact of the Indian legal outsourcing industry, which we believe will become one of India's biggest economic sectors in the years to come," said SmithDehn INDIA's Head of Operations, Sanjay Bhatia. Click here for a version of the article with footnotes.
SmithDehn INDIA was a featured legal outsourcing presenter at the 2008 Corporate Counsel Exchange, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Amelia Island, Florida, February 24-26. There we interacted with general counsels and assistant general counsels at dozens of Fortune 1000 companies, at their request.
SmithDehn INDIA and NewGalexy, together with the leading business conference organization, American Conference Institute, are co-sponsoring "India LPO Summit 2008," the first international conference on legal outsourcing, to be held January 16-17, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan. SmithDehn INDIA and New Galexy will lead off the conference with a joint presentation on the current state of the legal outsourcing industry and future opportunities for both clients and providers. Other speakers at the conference will include leading representatives of Pangea 3, American Express, Accenture, Citigroup, Genpact, and major U.S. law firms Kilpatrick Stockton LLC, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, White & Case LLP, and Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman, LLP. Meanwhile, on the West coast, SmithDehn INDIA and three other legal outsourcing providers, together with The American Lawyer Magazine, are co-sponsoring the "Legal Industry Outsourcing Forum" in San Francisco on October 4. In addition to presentations from the sponsors, other speakers will include representatives from major law firms such as Latham & Watkins LLP, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, and Alston & Bird, LLP.
SmithDehn INDIA (joined by Integreon and Mindcrest) was among the three LPO companies invited to speak at Consilience 2007, the annual world KPO conference organized by the Times of India (the country's leading newspaper), and The Economic Times (the second largest financial daily in the world). The hugely successful event was held at Le Meridien hotel in Bangalore on August 10.