Bar Council Of India’s decision to allow foreign lawyers and legal firms to practise foreign law and diverse international law & arbitration matters in India has met with a huge welcome by legal eagles and greenhorns alike. While recruitment firms expect a boom soon in the domestic legal talent market, young law graduates are hopeful of apprenticeship at competent CTCs, unlike the nominal handouts given currently.
“Given the earlier restrictions, there are only a handful of large law firms that operate in India and the rest are boutiques. A large proportion of search mandates were focused on hiring in-house general counsels. BCI’s move would now democratise the profession and open up opportunities for a two-way interplay between foreign and Indian counterparts, as it happens in other professional services firms as well. Global opportunities and expertise could be now made available locally and vice-versa,” shared K. Sudarshan, MD, EMA Partners India.
Detailing on what the move means for law graduates and interns, Vikram Shroff, HR (Law), Nishith Desai Associates added that the “much-awaited” entry of foreign law firms in India will provide significant opportunities to both experienced lawyers and talented students. Additionally, young students will have the ability to intern with foreign law firms in India.
“Our law firm has been global since 2000, having offices in California, New York, Munich and Singapore, and complying with their code of conduct and KYC norms. The notification clarifies that foreign law firms would have to ‘normally’ abide by the same ethical and practice standards laid down under the Advocates Act. Foreign law firms will bring along with them some of the advanced legal software, AI-enabled tools and innovative processes to assist lawyers. It will go a long way in improving the overall quality of legal services delivery and benefit our country,” as he put it.
He opined that India has one of the world’s largest and vibrant legal community. In view of the reciprocity condition, Shroff said nations will be keen to welcome Indian lawyers to set up office in their countries, which will also help promote the legal sector.