Presentation by Lex Favios & INBA “Indian legal sector MYTH  v/s  Reality-Breaking the myths”

News

  • The issue of ‘entry of foreign law firms’ in India has been debated ever since in the legal industry.
  • Most of the ‘so called concerns’ in respect of the subject have proved to be ‘Myths’ as against their respective ‘Reality’.
  • This tussle within the industry has effected the development our/Indian-legal industry.
  • Need of the hour is to break these ‘Myths’ as against their respective ‘Reality’ and come together and take our/Indian-legal industry, which is reported to be world’s second largest, to the next booming level
MYTH REALITY
(I)

Advertisement by law firmsProhibited as per the Bar Council of India Rules

All major law firms in India advertise in India and abroad by sponsoring the conference, paid listing in directories, hosting networking events, sponsored content in legal article etc.

Law firms – their directory listings and publications:

Legal 500 – over 75 law firms

Chambers and Partners – over 75 law firms

IBLJ – over 20 law firms

Asia law – over 50 law firms

Also, almost all major law firms have their website showcasing respective firm profile, area of practice, team profiles , etc.

MYTH REALITY
(I)

Advertisement by law firmsProhibited as per the Bar Council of India Rules

All major law firms in India advertise in India and abroad by sponsoring the conference, paid listing in directories, hosting networking events, sponsored content in legal article etc.

Law firms – their directory listings and publications:

Legal 500 – over 75 law firms

Chambers and Partners – over 75 law firms

IBLJ – over 20 law firms

Asia law – over 50 law firms

Also, almost all major law firms have their website showcasing respective firm profile, area of practice, team profiles , etc.

MYTH REALITY
(I)

Advertisement by law firmsProhibited as per the Bar Council of India Rules

All major law firms in India advertise in India and abroad by sponsoring the conference, paid listing in directories, hosting networking events, sponsored content in legal article etc.

Law firms – their directory listings and publications:

Legal 500 – over 75 law firms

Chambers and Partners – over 75 law firms

IBLJ – over 20 law firms

Asia law – over 50 law firms

Also, almost all major law firms have their website showcasing respective firm profile, area of practice, team profiles , etc.

MYTH REALITY
(IV)

Are foreign lawyers really interested in setting up their offices in India?

Yes, indeed foreign law firms are very keen to set up their offices in India. As we see that because of the restriction of not being able to do so, foreign law firms have set up their India desks in jurisdictions outside India.

It has been reported that various foreign countries such as – USA, Japan, Australia and some EU states  through their representative bodies have been lobbying and approached the Government of India to seek liberalisation of India’s legal industry.

MYTH REALITY
(V)

Entry of foreign law firms in India will result in loss of opportunities for Indian lawyers

If foreign law firms set up offices in India, they would be hiring Indian lawyers.

As rightly put by Mr. Harish Salve in an interview:

If 20 global law firms hire 2,000 youngsters from India, whose future are we stealing?”.

(VI)

Entry of foreign law firms is opposed by majority of Indian lawyers

As records show, only few are against and that too on the basis of the Myths as also discussed here. Else, majority of Indian law firms / Lawyers and Judges are in favour of liberalising the Indian legal Industry and allowing foreign law firms to set up their offices in India.
MYTH REALITY
(V)

Entry of foreign law firms in India will result in loss of opportunities for Indian lawyers

If foreign law firms set up offices in India, they would be hiring Indian lawyers.

As rightly put by Mr. Harish Salve in an interview:

If 20 global law firms hire 2,000 youngsters from India, whose future are we stealing?”.

(VI)

Entry of foreign law firms is opposed by majority of Indian lawyers

As records show, only few are against and that too on the basis of the Myths as also discussed here. Else, majority of Indian law firms / Lawyers and Judges are in favour of liberalising the Indian legal Industry and allowing foreign law firms to set up their offices in India.
MYTH REALITY
(VII)

Entry of foreign law firms into India may hinder the Indian Legal Industry

All in all, the entry of foreign law firms into India will benefit the Indian legal industry in many ways, inter-alia:

• Better employment opportunities for the law graduates;

• Global / broader exposure for the lawyers in the legal industry;

• Vast / global range of legal services for the clients.

To further break this myth, it is pertinent to take note of the fact and which has been rightly put by Mr. Harish Salve in an interview:

“Foreign firms are NOT interested in litigation – the bread and butter of 90% of Indian lawyers. They are here for transaction work.”

MYTH REALITY
(VIII)

Foreign lawyers are currently not working in India

   

As a matter of fact, in many cross-border transactions, the foreign lawyers / team of lawyers visit and stay India for a substantial period of time to work on such transactions, resulting in inter-alia:

• no accountability as such on part of the foreign lawyers / team of lawyers;

• loss of revenue to the Indian tax authorities given their source of income remains their home/workplace country.

Also, many Indian law firms have either hired or have had foreign lawyers on secondment basis to work on their cross-border transactions and also for the purposes of expanding their cross-border business. Hence, this sector / entry of foreign law firms / foreign lawyers practicing in India must be regulated in all aspects.

MYTH REALITY
(IX)

Only lawyers render legal opinions

   

Additionally, in many instances, it is seen that not only lawyers are rending legal opinions, but also the respective fields’ consultants are rendering legal service / legal opinions, such as in case of issue arising with respect to import-export policies, consultants specialising in import-export matters, though not being a lawyer are rendering services much like legal services. Likewise is the case with respect to labour law compliances, corporate compliances, and so on, where non-lawyers render services much like legal services.

This sector also calls for some checks and to be regulated.

MYTH REALITY
(X)

Liberalisation of Indian Legal Sector may not benefit the Indian Legal Sector

Liberalisation of Indian legal industry will rather boost the Indian legal industry in many ways thus enhancing the Indian legal industry to a global standard.

UK – has the biggest market presence in the global legal industry space and benefitted from the liberalization of legal services sector having over 200 foreign law firms in UK from countries such as the United States (US), Europe, Australia and Canada.

Malaysian legal industry was recently liberalised and has seen considerable excitement amongst UK based law firms, such as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, and many other in the league.

Another Asian legal market space is seen in China where the number of foreign law firms operating in China rose from 12 in 1992 to about 170 in 2015.

MYTH REALITY
(X)

Liberalisation of Indian Legal Sector may not benefit the Indian Legal Sector

Liberalisation of Indian legal industry will rather boost the Indian legal industry in many ways thus enhancing the Indian legal industry to a global standard.

UK – has the biggest market presence in the global legal industry space and benefitted from the liberalization of legal services sector having over 200 foreign law firms in UK from countries such as the United States (US), Europe, Australia and Canada.

Malaysian legal industry was recently liberalised and has seen considerable excitement amongst UK based law firms, such as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, and many other in the league.

Another Asian legal market space is seen in China where the number of foreign law firms operating in China rose from 12 in 1992 to about 170 in 2015.

Thank you

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