‘The train to the Flat World is leaving the station … It is time to mind the gaps and get on board’
So says a recent report by IT and outsourcing giant Infosys, capturing the mindset of many executives worldwide.
Getting “on board” is clearly what the latest reshaping of India’s legal landscape is all about. With limited liability partnerships now possible, and the removal of barriers to foreign law firms looking ever more likely, the number of “marriages” between Indian and foreign firms has increased markedly in recent months. The trend is accelerating and seems likely to continue. But are such tie-ups really the best way forward for the country’s legal profession?
As illustrated in this month’s Cover Story opinions vary widely. While some observers are confident that matrimony is the way to a brighter future, others extol the virtues of the single life. The alliances have happened even without any money changing hands. So, it seems fairly obvious that the aim of the game is mutual benefit. While this is so, more such alliances can be expected.
Companies like Infosys have been instrumental in both the creation of a flat world and a changed India. But as is often the case, while India’s economy has surged ahead, large parts of the population have been left behind. Bijesh Thakker, managing partner of Thakker & Thakker in Mumbai, believes that lawyers should be at the forefront of efforts to fight poverty and improve access to education. Writing in this month’s Vantage point, he argues powerfully in favour of a more coordinated approach to pro bono work by the country’s legal professionals.