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‘Students will have best bargain’ in foreign firm entry, says NLU Delhi VC Ranbir Singh, now on IAU board

Prof Ranbir Singh, who will now deliberate on Indian educational issues at international level, said he sees major benefits to Indian legal education, students, and professionals if the Indian legal sector were to open up

Ranbir Singh says the time is right for the entry of foreign lawyers
Ranbir Singh says the time is right for the entry of foreign lawyers
  NLU Delhi vice chancellor (VC) Prof Ranbir Singh, who on Friday joined the board of the 300-plus member International Association of Universities (IAU), said that the “timing is proper” for liberalisation in Indian legal services.

Prof Singh commented: “Foreign law firms - if at all they come to India - they’re not going to go for litigation - Just like in China, Singapore, Malaysia. I personally believe it will improve quality.

"They must be allowed. They’ll bring a different kind of work culture, work ethics. The timing is proper. They’ll bring in more competition, more fairness, it would be good for everybody, especially law school students who come out and who are so competitive and so good, they will have the best of the bargain.”

Singh said he was of the opinion that while foreign law firm, when they come to India, will open up a lot more job opportunities for law students, the entry should not be without internal reforms and the Indian legal sector should look at other jurisdictions, especially Singapore, to learn about best practices in opening up the legal sector.

He also said that the Bar Council of India (BCI) did not have a role to play at present in regulating law firms and this should remain the status quo after liberalisation as well.

Singh, who was selected by the IAU to represent the South Asia and Asia Pacific region on its board, is the first ever law university VC from India to become a board member of this global association of universities. Singh became eligible to apply for the membership after he was nominated by five IAU member universities. The IAU looks at credentials such as seniority and a candidate’s work as a VC, to select VCs to constitute its 20-member board, said Singh. An IAU board member’s official term is of four years.

Singh explained that the IAU was constituted in 1919 with the purpose of holding conferences, seminars and workshops at the international level to discuss issues such as signing of memorandums of understanding (MoU) between universities worldwide, research, interlinking of universities, and other issues surrounding education.

He said that he had joined the board in his personal capacity but anticipates benefits to NLU Delhi in terms of exposure because it will give the law school an opportunity to organise the IAU’s programmes in India.

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