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Commerce secy Rajeev Kher: Will finalise foreign lawyer entry plan this month to place before cabinet

Commerce secretary Rajeev Kher told Mint that a committee of secretaries may “meet as early as this month to clear the proposal on legal services, which will be subsequently placed before the cabinet for a final decision”.

Kher said:

Legal services are not allowed to have more than 20 partners. If I want a large legal practice, I need to break this. Because if you don’t have a large legal practice, your capacity is limited. Our lawyers cannot advertise. These kinds of controls need to be removed.

So in the first stage, this is the kind of change that is being proposed, because this will make our lawyers become more competitive.

After negotiating mutual recognition agreements with foreign countries for qualification and licensing arrangements, “then, we need to allow foreign lawyers to come in some limited areas such as arbitration. This will give our lawyers opportunities of employment and young professionals will get experience in modern legal practices. That is the way, one after the other, you open up,” Kher said.

Legally India and Mint reported last month that opponents to liberalisation, such as the Society of Indian Law Firms (Silf) and the Bar Council of India (BCI), had been working behind the scenes to delay the government’s plans, envisaging a timeline of at least seven years for the phased entry of foreign law firms.

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