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India - an emerging legal market?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 31/07/13

In-house lawyers have found their services in demand across the globe in recent years, as multi-national businesses attempt to find new markets - and, conversely, as firms in emergent economies offer their services to the West.

While India's notoriously complex and region-dependent legal infrastructure has left it trailing behind more compact and developed rivals such as Singapore and Hong Kong in the past, could this be set to change?

After all, the country's economy has been booming over the last decade or so, and liberalisation of the market in various sectors has made it easier for international businesses to get a foothold in India.

India Rising, an Asian-Mena Counsel Special Report, recently highlighted the situation faced for in-house lawyers in the country and suggested they could be set for an increase in business over the coming years.

However, it also warned that Indian legal professionals can be tempted by a move to the US or elsewhere because of the better levels of compensation seen in developed markets.

"Lawyers in India (as is the case elsewhere in the world) are increasingly coming under fire to streamline their fee structures, demonstrate added value in real terms and to take on higher levels of accountability," the report declared.

Unfortunately, this is likely to be the case all over the globe for the foreseeable future, until some enterprising band of lawyers find a new land where money grows on trees and the streets are paved with gold.

Furthermore, India resembles its international counterparts in the way that in-house lawyers are being asked to do more within a business rather than simply attend to legal matters.

Reading the report, one could come away with the impression that India's legal market is largely similar to those seen in other countries across the world.

Investors and businesses have urged the Indian government to cut red tape in order to further stimulate foreign interest in the country, and this could also be crucial to the future of its in-house legal industry.