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SILF Mumbai to foster debate, bring associates legal education


The Mumbai chapter of the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) is starting on its drive to become an organisation relevant outside of Delhi, kicking off with a continuing legal education programme for associates.

SILF is launching a four-week series of lectures by prominent partners on topics such as private equity, M&A, tax and capital markets.

Poorvi Chothani (pictured) is the founder of Mumbai start-up firm LawQuest and the convenor of SILF Mumbai. She said: "Delhi is the headquarter of SILF but now the regional chapters are becoming active."

SILF is a not-for-profit organisation funded largely by law firm membership fees and law firm and lawyer infrastructure support.

Delhi has been its traditional hub but in the last year the Bangalore chapter has increased its activities and organised a law firm cricket tournament.

Chothani added that the Mumbai chapter was looking to add value to law firms by promoting interaction between firms and to add value by sharing ideas on management and by improving individual lawyers' legal and non-legal skills.

"Continuing legal education in India is not a mandatory legal requirement so what we are trying to create is an environment of voluntary legal education," she explained.

"We have got feedback from junior lawyer that somewhere there is a gap when they come from law college and the only training they get is training on the job."

She added that the aim was to make the courses as affordable as possible so even students could attend. Prices per participant range between Rs 600 for students and Rs 2,000 for non-SILF member firm lawyers.

The first series of lectures will take place every Friday from today until 11 December and will include partners such as AZB & Partners' Zia Mody, Nishith Desai, J Sagar Associates' (JSA) Somasekhar Sundaresan, DSK Legal's Anand Desai and DM Harish & Co's Shobha Jagtiani.

Amarchand Mangaldas managing partner Cyril Shroff and Nishith Desai were recently elected as the chair and co-chair of SILF Mumbai respectively.

Several law firm partners have told Legally India that SILF membership has not been attractive to their firms because of the body's strong stance against the entry of foreign law firms, which was reaffirmed at its most AGM in Delhi in August.

Chothani responded that while she was personally not opposed to the entry of foreign firms, SILF Mumbai had not formed a view on the matter as it had not yet held its first meeting.

However, she conceded that it was unlikely that the issue would be put to vote in the near future: "I am trying to focus on what SILF can do for the legal body and that's why we are doing these activities.

"We are not trying to change SILF philosophy but within the given framework if we can add to value of the legal practice, SILF is a body we can use."

She added: "SILF has great potential."

SILF Mumbai is planning future panel discussions, seminars and a two-day conference.

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