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Calling Time / Issue 51

Legally India newsletter
Legally India newsletter
There was a brief but heavy 4am pre-Monsoon shower in Mumbai on Tuesday morning but the real storm was faced by the Bar Council of India (BCI) this week.

The BCI may be under the most ambitious and progressive leadership in years but it has not attracted any more love from final year law students this week. That is despite announcing the syllabus and more for its bar exam and outsourcing part of the exam's organisation to private legal market services provider Rainmaker.

The upset of finalists is understandable in light of several question marks. For example, those joining the bar will not be able to appear in court until 2011, the entire process has been a little opaque so far and there has been nearly no open debate or engagement with the ones who will ultimately have to sit the exam.

Nevertheless, the exam appears to be a done deal, barring any writs filed by graduating lawyers-to-be (presumably assisted in court by those who are allowed to appear).

However, on the flip side the BCI should also be applauded for seizing the bull by the horns, rather than the allowing the bar exam to get mired in red tape and causing potential procrastination on the exercise for years - everyone knows how slowly things can move in India, and sometimes they even do not move at all. Maybe the only realistic way to get a bar exam done when thousands of students and sub-standard law schools might dissent, is to make it a fait accompli?

In the initial public offering (IPO) advisory stakes, however, things have moved fast compared with several years ago. While Amarchand was still by far the dominant force in taking companies to market in the 2009-10 financial year, according to Legally India research, a very strong second level is shaping up with firms such as Luthra & Luthra, Khaitan & Co, AZB and S&R Associates, which are also increasingly getting lucrative mandates from banks. Plus there are some niche and smaller players that are taking part of the pie too.

Amarchand, never one to rest on its laurels, has promoted a Delhi capital markets partner this week, as well as a Delhi litigator and Mumbai corporate partner.

Vaish Associates too has held its promotions. Traditionally a firm where apart from the three senior partners there were only "heads" and "associates", Vaish has taken the plunge and promoted nine to partner in one swoop. 

Things are maybe easier when you have outside investors, as LPO Pangea3 plans to pump more than $10m into its Delhi office, which it hopes might outgrow Mumbai one day.

Plus the Amarchand Kolkata office now has a full-time partner again, with Niloy Pyne joining from Khaitan & Partners. Queue reader debate about merits of Kolkata as a legal market, as well as the pros and cons of being Bengali.

Another area that has often been relatively overlooked by Indian law firms is continental Europe, where DLA Piper has poached a partner duo from two top German firms to spearhead its European India practice.

Also this week: the second of Legally India's one-year retrospective series, this one looking at the year's best law school and mooting stories.

And Singapore is one of those Asian economies that has grappled and had some sort of foreign firm representation on the ground for years. But as our interview with Asia law firm expert Prof Jay Krishnan shows, allowing foreign lawyers into Singapore has been far from smooth sailing, which should also be food for thought on either side of the Indian liberalisation debate.

Ps: Have a look at www.legallyindia.com, which relaunched this week with a sleeker new look and features. We hope you like it!

Students

The Mooting Premier League sponsored by Clifford Chance meanwhile, is nearing its end but it has done so with another bang: NUJS Kolkata won the highly prestigious international ELSA WTO moot in the Dominican Republic.

The law school pecking order, according to the choices made by those not yet there, has remained largely similar to last year: 16,350 results for the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) were announced.

Top blogs this week:

Ever wondered what law college and George Orwell's Animal Farm had in common? John2010 clearly did and produced a piece on whistle-blowing and La Revolucion. He also published his Facebook feed, in a joke that will probably never get old, and has compiled a punchy list of eight legal and politics-related issues everyone in India should be thinking about to prevent getting lost in the maze.

Some facts that everyone should know about Indian lawyers, according to LawisGreek.

LegalPoet has written a cut-out-and-paste-on-your-dorm-room-wall guide to what to expect when first arriving at national law school, and applies the lessons of cricket and the BCCI to law practice and the BCI.

A new blog on the scene this week was False News With Balls. Check out the publication's take on this week's top legal headlines and news. Just make sure you don't believe everything you read...

And a final thought: is the only way food security laws can be successful is if they are universal?

Pps: Apologies, but the blogs' hit counters were slightly broken this week, registering less hits than they should have due to a technical error. Add between 50 and 100 per cent and you will more or less get at the real numbers although it is mostly academic since hits should not matter anyway.

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There was a brief but heavy 4am pre-Monsoon shower in Mumbai on Tuesday morning but the real storm was faced by the Bar Council of India (BCI) this week.

The BCI may be under the most ambitious and progressive leadership in years but it has not attracted any more love from final year law students this week. That is despite announcing the syllabus and more for its bar exam and outsourcing part of the exam's organisation to private legal market services provider Rainmaker.

The upset of finalists is understandable in light of several question marks. For example, those joining the bar will not be able to appear in court until 2011, the entire process has been a little opaque so far and there has been nearly no open debate or engagement with the ones who will ultimately have to sit the exam.

Nevertheless, the exam appears to be a done deal, barring any writs filed by graduating lawyers-to-be (presumably assisted in court by those who are allowed to appear).

However, on the flip side the BCI should also be applauded for seizing the bull by the horns, rather than the allowing the bar exam to get mired in red tape and causing potential procrastination on the exercise for years - everyone knows how slowly things can move in India, and sometimes they even do not move at all. Maybe the only realistic way to get a bar exam done when thousands of students and sub-standard law schools might dissent, is to make it a fait accompli?

In the initial public offering (IPO) advisory stakes, however, things have moved fast compared with several years ago. While Amarchand was still by far the dominant force in taking companies to market in the 2009-10 financial year, according to Legally India research, a very strong second level is shaping up with firms such as Luthra & Luthra, Khaitan & Co, AZB and S&R Associates, which are also increasingly getting lucrative mandates from banks. Plus there are some niche and smaller players that are taking part of the pie too.

Amarchand, never one to rest on its laurels, has promoted a Delhi capital markets partner this week, as well as a Delhi litigator and Mumbai corporate partner.

Vaish Associates too has held its promotions. Traditionally a firm where apart from the three senior partners there were only "heads" and "associates", Vaish has taken the plunge and promoted nine to partner in one swoop. 

Things are maybe easier when you have outside investors, as LPO Pangea3 plans to pump more than $10m into its Delhi office, which it hopes might outgrow Mumbai one day.

Plus the Amarchand Kolkata office now has a full-time partner again, with Niloy Pyne joining from Khaitan & Partners. Queue reader debate about merits of Kolkata as a legal market, as well as the pros and cons of being Bengali.

Another area that has often been relatively overlooked by Indian law firms is continental Europe, where DLA Piper has poached a partner duo from two top German firms to spearhead its European India practice.

Also this week: the second of Legally India's one-year retrospective series, this one looking at the year's best law school and mooting stories.

And Singapore is one of those Asian economies that has grappled and had some sort of foreign firm representation on the ground for years. But as our interview with Asia law firm expert Prof Jay Krishnan shows, allowing foreign lawyers into Singapore has been far from smooth sailing, which should also be food for thought on either side of the Indian liberalisation debate.

Ps: Have a look at www.legallyindia.com, which relaunched this week with a sleeker new look and features. We hope you like it!

Students

The Mooting Premier League sponsored by Clifford Chance meanwhile, is nearing its end but it has done so with another bang: NUJS Kolkata won the highly prestigious international ELSA WTO moot in the Dominican Republic.

The law school pecking order, according to the choices made by those not yet there, has remained largely similar to last year: 16,350 results for the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) were announced.

Top blogs this week:

Ever wondered what law college and George Orwell's Animal Farm had in common? John2010 clearly did and produced a piece on whistle-blowing and La Revolucion. He also published his Facebook feed, in a joke that will probably never get old, and has compiled a punchy list of eight legal and politics-related issues everyone in India should be thinking about to prevent getting lost in the maze.

Some facts that everyone should know about Indian lawyers, according to LawisGreek.

LegalPoet has written a cut-out-and-paste-on-your-dorm-room-wall guide to what to expect when first arriving at national law school, and applies the lessons of cricket and the BCCI to law practice and the BCI.

A new blog on the scene this week was False News With Balls. Check out the publication's take on this week's top legal headlines and news. Just make sure you don't believe everything you read...

And a final thought: is the only way food security laws can be successful is if they are universal?

Pps: Apologies, but the blogs' hit counters were slightly broken this week, registering less hits than they should have due to a technical error. Add between 50 and 100 per cent and you will more or less get at the real numbers although it is mostly academic since hits should not matter anyway.
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