BCI reps to meet Law Ministry over entry of foreign law firms

Representatives of the Bar Council of India will be meeting Law Ministry officials on March 1 to discuss the issue of entry of foreign law firms into India, reports ET. Although the issue has been discussed at great length for a long time, the meeting may turn out to be significant given the recent chain of events.

At a conference held earlier this month, Law Secretary PK Malhotra had indicated that foreign law firms could be allowed to enter the country soon. Malhotra had confirmed that the government is taking steps to liberalize the Indian legal market.

More specifically, the Law Secretary said that the BCI is working on a model Memorandum of Understanding for allowing foreign law firms in India. However, the Law Secretary clarified that this exercise had been delayed with the BCI trying to get all state Bar Councils on board for quicker implementations.

BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra has earlier held informal talks with Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in this regard, according to ET.

The government is of the view that the legal sector would be opened up to foreign law firms in a phased manner which would also help the Indian legal fraternity. Even the Society of Indian Law firms, which had initially opposed the entry of foreign lawyers but has subsequently changed their stance, has also submitted a three phase approach for opening up of the market.

The view within the government is that once the foreign firms set up offices in India, they would begin hiring local legal brains, reported ET.