General Counsels’ Association of India tipped as a game changer
Senior general counsel of Indian companies gathered on 5 March in Gurugram to launch the General Counsels’ Association of India (GCAI).
Among the prominent legal figures present were: Sanjeev Gemawat, executive director (legal) of Dalmia Bharat; Akhil Prasad, country counsel of Boeing India; Manjaree Chowdhary, executive director and general counsel of Maruti Suzuki; Tejal Patil, senior legal adviser of OYO; Sameet Gambhir, joint vice president (corporate law) of DCM Shriram; Manish Lamba, general counsel of DLF Cyber City; and Parvesh Kheterpal, general counsel of Feedback Infra.
Serving as a new voice for general counsel, the association aims to create a robust platform that is run, managed and operated by general counsel across India, and to establish a distinct professional identity.
Its objective and focus are to institutionalise the profession of in-house counsel through statutory recognition, and by bringing a qualitative change through best professional standards and codes of conduct.
“The GCAI is an association of general counsel, for general counsel and by general counsel,” Gemawat, of Dalmia Bharat, told Asia Business Law Journal.
“Since it is promoted and supported by a large number of general counsel, and everybody is contributing immensely with their respective domain expertise, no need was felt so far to formally appoint office bearers.
“However, with the involvement of an increasing number of general counsel, we are now in the process of formulating GCAI’s structure, the constitution of the governing council and advisory board.”
The launch was also attended by member of parliament and former Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
“Industry and corporates will have a distinct and sufficiently strong role to play in the daily life of citizens,” said Gogoi. “To meet the challenges ahead, we have to be prepared to make the laws according to the needs ahead of us. In this regard, the constitution of the GCAI is undoubtedly a well thought out step in the right direction.”
Gogoi said the forum would strengthen the voice of general counsel and act as a platform for spreading awareness and exchanges for the mutual benefit of all.
Gemawat said the GCAI will also enhance the growth and quality of in-house legal professionals, who can leverage experienced members’ collective knowledge and wisdom through collaboration and exchanges of ideas.
He said all GCAI events or projects will be centred around these objectives, including co-operation with academic institutions, law firms and the judiciary, as well as industry, which is the driving force for the profession. These actions will target learning, development and improving the quality of general counsel and students through training, mentoring and internships.