BCI decision to allow foreign lawyers, law firms in certain areas to help attract overseas investors: Experts

NewsDrum Desk
16 Mar 2023

New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) The decision of the Bar Council of India to permit foreign lawyers and law firms to practise in certain areas in India would help in attracting overseas investors in the domestic legal sector, according to experts.

The council has decided to permit foreign lawyers and law firms to practise in areas, such as foreign law, international legal issues and arbitration matters. The apex bar body has notified the Bar Council of India Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022.

Kartik Ganapathy, Founding Partner, IndusLaw, said that the relaxation in trade barriers and making an economy more open give comfort to foreign investors.

"By allowing a significant relaxation in the services sector, and vis-a-vis the legal service a sector that has such proximate and personal connect to business and people, the signal about India is positive....we would certainly expect a boost in foreign direct investment (FDI)," he said.

Since the opening is the most significant for corporate work, such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property matters, it would be logical to expect these areas to see an uptick in activity, he added.

Suneeth Katarki, Founding Partner, IndusLaw, said that essentially most of the growth from the current USD 3.3 trillion to USD 5 trillion will come from the organised economy and likely a big bulk from the larger Indian and global conglomerates.

"All of this means much more additional work for law firms, especially the organised legal market. Therefore, effectively the legal services industry will have to grow at a faster rate than the overall economy to service these larger and more organised corporates," he said.

Abhishek Malhotra (Managing Partner of TMT Law Practice) said that while the conversation on opening up the legal services sector to foreign firms has been ongoing for a long time now, this is certainly a belated but welcome and significant development.

"The areas of impact to the legal profession will include access to international best practices, a more professional and accountability-based approach to service delivery, and further enhancement in the manner the world looks at India and our legal system," Malhotra said. PTI RR RR BAL BAL

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