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This article, like many others, was first published exclusively for long-term supporters, some time before everyone else got to read it.

For Legally India’s 7th birthday, a very important message from editor and founder Kian Ganz

For those of you who were there (and for those who weren't so you can laugh), this was Legally India, circa 2009
For those of you who were there (and for those who weren't so you can laugh), this was Legally India, circa 2009

Little could I have predicted where this would go, when I first landed in Mumbai nearly seven years ago after having knocked together one of the worst-designed websites ever loaded by man or woman (see picture, above).

I was staying in a cheap hotel near Crawford Market and literally did not know a soul in India, beyond a handful of fleeting phone conversations with a few law firm managing partners from my time at The Lawyer magazine in London.

To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing, as I was setting up my first meetings and making my first cold calls to phone numbers of Mumbai and Delhi law firms I found in the legal directories, perhaps evidenced by a curious interest from many as to why anyone would want to be reading about what goes on in Indian law firms and the legal profession (as well as why I had left the UK to set up a legal website in India).

I still don't quite know why I did it but it has been hugely rewarding being here in nearly every way, and I could never have imagined the warm welcome and response Legally India has received.

There are now many other websites doing similar things as Legally India but I would like to think that we have retained our first-mover advantage, not just in terms of the size of our audience (which is now at more than 200,000 unique visitors every month), but also in terms of the depth, breadth and impact of our coverage (although, as I'm still doing the coding of the site myself, it's still not much to look at).

In any case, if you are reading this, you probably know why you are here (and whether you like, love or hate what we do).

Also know that Legally India has been a labour of love by everyone who has worked and works with us (a massive thank you at this point especially to Neha Chauhan, Divya Mehta and and Prachi Shrivastava for having been there, and Mooting Premier League (MPL) correspondents Vinay Mishra, Sanjay Khan Nagra, Prashanth Ramdas, Annie Mampilly, Arvind Ravindranath and Saksham Dwivedi) as well as the dozen of other part-timers and temporary members like Court Witness and many others).

We do and have done our best to inform, delight and entertain our readers, and hold to account, in our tiny way, the power structures and institutions that had been shrouded in secrecy for a long time.

And I believe that at least an equally huge part of LI is the community of well-wishers, including our readers (many of whom visit many times per week, day or even hour), our tipsters, contacts and sources (both anonymous and otherwise), and the many many contributors, bloggers and – last, and of course not least - the commenters.

While we have had to fight many hard battles for your right to be enlightening, critical, funny, anonymous and sometimes just plain silly, I think it’s been worth every legal notice and shouting match (I’m also very happy to say that we’re nearing nearly 100,000 comments on the site now).

Anyway, you all know who you are. Back to business.

Legally India runs on a shoestring with only two full-time staff, without any investors or wealthy backers, and the commercial side of Legally India has always come second to our editorial independence and credibility.

So, on this seventh birthday-month since Legally India's very first post, I would like to:

  1. thank you all for having been there for the ride,
  2. cast our eye over some of the stories that may never have been covered or might never have hit the mainstream so soon (or at all), if Legally India didn't exist (look out soon for our compilation of the biggest and most important stories we’ve done), and
  3. make our first attempt in getting our greatest resource – you – to help us grow to the next level.

Cutting a long story short, we need more time and more people if we want to continue doing justice to this huge market with more honest reporting, important investigations, insightful longer features and analysis, and also the occasional bit of unapologetic fun.

Over the past few weeks we have been talking to a lot of people and have run surveys on a sample of our readers about how we can involve you more and how you would like to contribute.

The global news industry is in the midst of a crisis and there are no easy solutions that retain independence and quality. And, unlike many others, I don't think the answer lies in restricting access to content with a paywall: important information should largely be free and accessible in perpetuity by the widest number for it to have any meaning and benefit to the greatest possible number, whatever their means.

However, I do believe that our most loyal and supportive readers for all these years deserve more of our love and labour, in the form of additional useful services, early insider information, context and much much more.

If you’re already sold (you can read the full breakdown of packages below):

Some of these things will be delivered to you exclusively by way of our new and revamped weekly email newsletter.

Our newsletter will be the only thing that you need to read to catch up on the week's important legal happenings, and it will be chock-full of analysis, exclusive news and insider information and gossip that we can not publish on the web. I promise that you’ll love it! Our previous newsletter that had run for more than 100 issues was hugely popular but has been mothballed due to insufficient resources in recent years.

But your support will change that.

All paying members will also get automatically guest listed for all future Legally Social parties in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

And all subscribers will be part of an exclusive and trusted club of stakeholders that we will consult regularly on our editorial direction and policies, as well as ask them for their opinion on the legal market, which will form the basis of future editorial.

Plus there are a whole raft of other benefits that we've carefully curated for you (such as an optional bit of extra bling for your Legally India comments), and I promise that we'll keep adding useful new features that our members will see first and usually also exclusively.

And of course, should you want it, your privacy and anonymity remains one of my top concerns. I have worked hard in the past year to reduce Legally India's use of sites such as Facebook, Google or Twitter, that track you across the internet, and I promise that we will still not know (nor want to know) who is hiding behind your anonymous comment (just like with non-paying subscribers).

The second tier of membership for the more regular Legally India readers will include all of the above, plus give you a much sleeker, advertising-free version of the site, and a few more benefits that we'll be rolling out.

The top tier, in turn, will have much faster usability like ‘instant articles’ and other features for those lawyers who can afford a bit more luxury and want to support the work that we do (and we'll be adding more exclusive features, goodies and perks for you too, of course).

It only takes a few minutes to sign up and complete payment below (even if you're abroad), and, because we love you, you won't even ever need to remember any passwords or usernames.

Finally, if you are still considering it, consider this: if you change your mind about being a subscriber in the first few weeks, we will be happy to refund your entire subscription fees to you.

I look forward to hearing your feedback, suggestions and more in the comments, as well as your support, whether financial, moral or otherwise.

And a very big thank you again for having been there with us for part (or in some cases all) of these wonderful last seven years (and hopefully for the next seven too).

Founder & Editor
Legally India

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