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Revolutionary paths / Issue 74

Legally India newsletter
Legally India newsletter

At least two bombshells dropped both sides of this week.

Early this morning India time the ink was drying on the biggest ever acquisition of an Indian legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider, as Thomson Reuters picked up Indian LPO giant Pangea3.

Legal publisher and information provider Thomson Reuters’ foray into LPO was almost as surprising as the sudden uptick in LPO M&A madness.

Only several days earlier Indo-American LPO UnitedLex bought California-headquartered LawScribe, which also operates in India.

Now the Pangea3 sale has upped the game considerably, as co-founder Sanjay Kamlani reveals in our definitive post-merger interview that Pangea3 (with TR's help) would set up shop in the US to provide onshore legal services and predicting that this could be the start of similar takeovers in the sector. Pangea3 founders, investors and hundreds of staff on ESOPs are likely to be celebrating tonight.

But Thomson Reuters is not the first to venture into the shiny and largely unregulated LPO space. Several years ago Lexis Nexis had tried to set up an LPO in Chennai. Today, traces of the operation, if any, are hard to find. For  Thomson’s benefit on the other hand, Pangea3 is an already successful and up-and-running concern promising significant synergies.

At the front-end of this week last Sunday, Bar Council of India (BCI) members staged a minor revolt against the all India bar exam and its architect chairman Gopal Subramanium. Without the chairman present at the meeting, the BCI members decided to postpone the exam, which was to be held in only three weeks, by three months.

As details gradually trickled out about the proposal it became clear that even the BCI was certain of very little. This weekend the BCI members will be meeting in Chennai to settle the considerable questions raised, as well as the proposal to take the bar exam away from the BCI and give it to state bar councils. A formal statement would only be issued next Thursday (25 November).

The new move is intended intended to herald state-by-state bar exams putting an end to the notion of an "all India" bar exam. But more worryingly, it could also stop most other legal reform dead in its tracks. Read our exclusive feature for the story so far and more background details and predictions.

The ones who come out worst in all this are no doubt the 2010 grads, who are understandably in a tizzy. The Legally India poll on the topic attracted more than 500 voters, with 69 per cent of grads wanting the exam cancelled in 2010. However, perhaps more interestingly: does a technical glitch in the voting prove that bar exam opponents are more dishonest? Read the blog post to find out.

Other exciting news were sandwiched between the bombshells this week.

Zeus Law Associates opened its second office in the NCR region in Gurgaon to capitalise on increasing SEZ work.

And Kochhar & Co pulled off a rare move in Chennai with a senior litigator migrating to law firm practice, with some commenters rumouring the new recruit may be in line to becoming a senior counsel.

Meanwhile, Mysore-based LPO SDD Global Solutions is fighting the power with rap superstar Chuck D with the mandate to assist on representing artists against “unscrupulous” big record labels in US courts.

Yesterday, Naik Paranjpe & Co rescued the pinnacle of TV entertainment programmes Bigg Boss (or Big Brother as it is known elsewhere), shifting it back into the prime-time TV slot after having been dubbed vulgar and buried in the TV graveyard slot of 11pm by the government.

On the Indian mooting scene two-year old NLU Delhi is now in a strong fourth place of the second season of the Mooting Premier League. Did NLU Delhi’s vice-chancellor Ranbir Singh have something to do with it by enlisting a mooting coach from Nalsar to help? Nalsar, which won last year’s MPL, certainly has the mooting pedigree, having also won the Stetson South rounds this week.

And talking of young colleges, Jindal Global School of Law has become a little more global yet again this week after inking student exchanges and collaborations with two Canadian law schools.

And finally, in the cricket world all is well as the SILF and Turf T20 tournament has progressed into the second round with Anand, Karanjawala and Kochhar laying down convincing wins.

Legally News Wire

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