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Liberalisation of legal sector to benefit India, US: Ambassador

11 August 2016
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Business Standard

US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma today said liberalisation of legal sector by permitting foreign law firms to work here will be beneficial for both India and America. 
He also said that permitting foreign law firms to work in India does not mean taking away the market share but it is about providing best legal advice to the clients.

"I do believe that liberalisation of legal sector will be mutually beneficial to India and the US. 
"This is about bringing expertise from their jurisdiction to India and how to provide the best possible legal advice to the clients here," Verma said addressing a conference on "Opening of India's Legal Services Sector, Examining The Current Status and Way Forward" here. 

The deliberation assumes significance as the Indian legal fraternity has been opposing the entry of foreign lawyers and legal firms. They are of the view that any such endeavour should be on reciprocity. 

Speaking at the programme organised by O P Jindal Global University (JGU) and Centre on the Global Legal Profession of Indiana University, he said that no state in the US requires American citizenship to practice law there and assured India will have USA as a trusted partner in this road ahead. 

Regarding the relations between the two countries, the Ambassador said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barak Obama "probably better than a good relationship". 

He added that they have already meet seven times and three bilateral submits have taken place which is a unique thing and even the President has said that it is a defining relationship in the 21st Century. 

Sudhanshu Pandey, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that the issue has to do much more with effective communication, which has to be between various stakeholders and the legal fraternity. 

He said opening of India's legal services is not going to affect anyone in any manner. 

"Good communication with this prominent stakeholder (legal fraternity) is very important. We have the largest number of advocates in the world but their contribution in the GDP is the lowest," he said, adding that India follows rule of law. 

Speaking at the occasion, JGU Vice Chancellor Professor C Raj Kumar said many young law graduates from India have been admitted to US Bar and 500 students of his university have participated in several programmes in America. 

The discussion assumes importance as a senior government official has recently said that the government is also mulling over liberalisation of legal sector by permitting foreign law firms to operate here.