Tuesday, September 25, 2007

India Opens to Foreign Lawyers

After many years of refusing to allow foreign law firms to open offices in India, the Indian Ministry of Law & Justice has relented. They will be able to establish offices but not practise Indian law.

The last attempt to set up an office was by Ashurst a few years ago. It found itself on the end of a lawsuit by the Indian Bar Association. No one has really tried since then although there have been a number of "alliances" but these seem for marketing purposes. As Legal 500 says, "Although Ashurst and White & Case have liaison offices in the country, these are currently limited to marketing activities. Both firms handle all legal work related to India from elsewhere."

Indian lawyers are frightened of being overrun by the big corporate western law firms. Of the 800,000 or so lawyers in India, most will not be affected. Indian lawyers practise in very small firms or solo, and much of their work is litigation. There are relatively few Indian corporate law firms. They will pick up work from the western firms because expertise will be in short supply.

Much of the demand for western law firms comes from Indian industry and commerce which needs seamless access to our capital markets.

It's strange how countries can be so advanced in certain areas yet behind in others. India is a leader in IT but its legal profession is still immersed in the days of the Raj.

Of course what is ironic about this is that Indian lawyers have already been invaded by the west through the outsourcing moves of American and English law firms who are looking for common law trained lawyers who are cheap. I've written on this before. (See also this interesting Bloomberg article.) When I did I received a somewhat different reaction to what I expected. Here it is below:

____________________

Dear John,

This is with regard to your posts in your Blog and few articles referring to Legal Process Outsourcing.

Not explaining much about the current trends about Legal Process Outsourcing in India (which of course is its in boom time), I wanted to draw your attention to an emerging trend in this industry. I am sure you must have noticed the rapid growth of Legal Process Outsourcing outfits in India and other low cost destinations. This is evident of the fact that how fast this industry is growing, but the opposing force is definitely the reluctance and the conservative nature of the Law firms worldwide and also the Large and Middle sized business houses. There is, though shining, a murky picture of this phenomenon. This is with regard to the individual growth of the outfits per se and not the country/ volume growth because of which new budding outfits have become “fly by night operations” and have to close down at rare times.

Keeping this is mind we have forayed into a new model of that of a Pivotal Provider in this area. We are called LexVantage Legal Solutions based out of India. We are a fledgling company yet growing steadily. We liaise between our clients and offshore legal services vendors and bring to our clients the finest LPOs or legal service vendors from India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Malaysia etc. for any project that they may require assistance with.

We maintain databases of leading LPOs or similar providers and form partnerships/ alliances after a stringent selection process. We take care of the entire vendor selection process for them and project execution, management and delivery as well. This helps the clients to overcome the daunting task of selecting the right offshore provider for you and manage complicated outsourcing relationships.

As this could a new piece of information, I could provide you with more information. More about who all we serve and how. As you have an established field in the legal arena, we would like to know how you think we could have an access more in the market especially the UK market in the light of the conservative nature.

I hope we could exchange some insights and develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

I look forward to hear from you.

Kind Regards,
_______________________

Business Development
LexVantage Global
www.lexvantage.com

____________________

Now you know where to go when you want to outsource. Just tell them, "John sent me."


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1 comment:

mewmewmew said...

Much of the demand for western law firms comes from Indian industry and commerce which needs seamless access to our capital markets.

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