Summit flags ‘gulf of understanding’ on foreign law firm entry

(Left to right): INBA Secretary General Kaviraj Singh, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh, Union Law Secretary Suresh Chandra, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association RS Suri, and former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha Subhash C. Kashyap at the National Leadership Summit

The entry of foreign law firms into the country will be important for capacity building and provide “opportunities for young lawyers, which is of utmost necessity,” Kaviraj Singh, secretary general of the Indian National Bar Association (INBA), told India Business Law Journal. He added that INBA is keen that “a decision should be taken soon either way and not kept pending”.

However, Lalit Bhasin, the president of the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF), said there has been little progress with regard to the entry of foreign law firms. He said neither the Bar Council of India, which has been tasked with drafting necessary amendments to the Advocates Act, nor the relevant ministries appear to have made any headway on the matter. Bhasin reiterated that his association welcomed the entry of foreign law firms, but in a phased manner.

While INBA looks forward to foreign law firms providing employment opportunities for young Indian lawyers when they enter India, SILF is of the opinion that there is no need for foreign law firms to hire Indian lawyers as they will initially only be providing advice on the laws of their jurisdictions.

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