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Jerome Merchant + Partners

Jerome Merchant + Partners, formerly known as P&C Legal, was started by Vishnu Jerome.
04 February 2010

In my last blog, I wrote about the disparities existing in our country and proposed a solution for the backward India by promoting Micro Finance, following the concept of Grameen banks and socialBusiness.

I thank everyone for devoting their time to my blog and sharing your opinions. In this blog, I will discuss about the concept of social business, Grameen Banks and will analyze the views portrayed by Noble Laureate Md. Yunus when he came to India to deliver a lecture at the parliament of India.         

As discussed earlier in my blog about the raging disparity in our country, what could be an effective solution to this problem? Anyone would suggest to develop these backward areas, but the key questions remains the same-how? Government plans have failed to make a significant impact in these areas due to various reasons, some of them being corruption and in effective administration. A new approach needs to be adopted. I think in case of government developing the life of these peoples why not give these peoples a chance to develop themselves and government may act as guardian just to check any malfunction.  “Social business is can be casually assumed as a business in which neither loss is suffered nor gain.” The investor always gets his capital back and in dividend enjoys the fruits gained by performing his social obligations.  In delivering the lecture at the parliament of India Md. Yunus identified the two main questions which  decides the fate of the social business theory. Any person reading about social business will think two questions:

·         Who would like to establish a company to achieve social goals rather than make profit?

·         Who would provide for the funds for setting up such a business which in this capitalist world will be perceived as irrational and impractical?

There are many institutions in the world who works for social cause. Apart from this the government itself can be an investor. Mr. Yunus laid emphasis on the importance of social business. There are many charitable institutions in the country, but the money from charity depends upon donations so it’s one way, social business is the tool to empower these charitable institutions to stand on their feet.

To generate income or to employ different techniques to become self sufficient institutions, but not a commercial profit making institution. The concept of social business is being followed all over in the world including our neighbor Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, practical approach of social business can be seen. Mr. Yunus has been able to tie up with many multinational companies. A French dairy company called “Danone” is working in partnership with Grameen bank as “Grameen-Danone” with the aim to reduce the malnutrition among the children. The company produces “Yoghurt” at extremely affordable prices for the poor section of Bangladesh and it is rich in all nutrients which is required by a normal child.  The owners of the company are self committed not to generate profit over their actual investment and the surplus profit is used to make the product more efficient and in other development plans of the company. The target of the company is not to make profit but to increase its market to such an extent as more number of children can be benefited.

Similarly a French water company veolia is working in partnership to provide safe drinking water in villages of Bangladesh. They have incorporated giants like Intel to form Grameen –Intel which works in improving "IT" in rural sector and improving health services and perhaps the most unique collaboration is with "adidas" Grameen-adidas which makes affordable shoes for every section of people in Bangladesh and their aim is to ensure that no one in Bangladesh walks without shoes.

These are some examples of social Business in real life. Multi corporate giants have blended themselves in the nobility of social obligations and the best thing is no one is at loss.

If Bangladesh can do it surely this concept can be applied in most backward states of country.

Comments and suggestion are heartily appreciated and invited.


04 February 2010

Trial by Media is a phrase used to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person's reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt regardless of any verdict in a court of law.

Trial by media is no where legal. There is no legal system where the media is given the authority to try a case. This slang is used for those high profile cases wherein the journalists present a pre decided picture of an accused and start spreading hatred amongst the general public which can ultimately affect the trial and the judgment. Thus, its called trial by media. Ruchika's case is a recent example of the same.

During high publicity court cases, the media are often accused of provoking an atmosphere of public hysteria akin to a lynch mob which not only makes a fair trial nearly impossible but means that regardless of the result of the trial the accused will not be able to live the rest of their life without intense public scrutiny.The counter-argument is that the mob mentality exists independently of the media which merely voices the opinions which the public already has.There are different reasons why the media attention is particularly intense surrounding a legal case: the first is that the crime itself is in some way sensational, by being horrific or involving children; the second is that it involves a celebrity either as victim or accused.

In India, trial by media has assumed significant proportions. Some famous criminal cases that would have gone unpunished but for the intervention of media are Priyadarshini Mattoo case, Jessica Lal case, Nitish Katara murder case and Bijal Joshi rape case.The media however drew flak in the reporting of murder of Aarushi Talwar, when it preempted the court and reported that her own father Dr. Rajesh Talwar, and possibly her mother Nupur Talwar were involved in her murder, thus reviving memories of JonBenet Ramsey murder, which was hauntingly similar. The CBI later declared that Rajesh was not the killer.Between September 2004 and March 2005, the media - print, audio and visual all wrote about His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, a Hindu religious leader, suggesting his guilt in a murder case, but the High Courts of Madras and Andhra Pradesh and the Supreme Court of India repeatedly found that there was no material evidence to find him guilty and came down heavily on the media and the Government of Tamilnadu for misuse of government machinery.

So saying that media is responsible for ruining a person's prestige involved in some legal conflict. Is is entirely acceptable??

04 February 2010

It hurts, it really really hurts (like getting your ass pinched by a professional wrestler in the Delhi metro) to look back and see how the sweet innocent language that I spoke in law school has taken devilish meanings after I started working. My job (I feel) had the same effect on my language as watching Japanese hentai – complete bastardisation of the tongue and mind.

Here are some examples for you:



Then (In law school)

Now (at the job)



“Ok, pakka deal hai, this Saturday Old Monk rum and coke at Pecos.”

“Popat, has the deal fallen through or are they still re-negotiating the commercials?”



“Oh ho, these college people, cant they get a ISP with good bandwidth?”

“Hey Popat, if you have some bandwith can you find some Supreme Court Judgement on...”




“Did you submit your Constitutional Law project on time?”

“When do you go for the diligence to Mumbai for Project Marimba?”




“Oye Popat, run and come fast, the hostel doors are closing

“Popat, make sure all the CP’s have been adhered to prior to closing.”



“Popat, pitch the ball short. We 3rdyear guys have to win this match.”

“Popat, we are pitching in for the deal on derivatives, please ensure that you are well read.”



“Yahoo!, exams over, party time.”

“…VIP Macho and Lux Cozy are hereinafter individually referred to as the “Party” and collectively as the…”


Best Friend

“Billoo is turning out to be my best friend. We even share our undies these days”

“Kian, believe me Bombay High Court judgment has nothing to do with best friend’ relationships.



“Popat, he hit you right where it hurts the most, look your Berries have turned Black!”

“Damn Blackberry keeps ringing off the hook, God, help me out of this flurry of e-mails”

 Agree? Disagree? If you know any other similar words, write ‘em here.

[p.s. the (nerdy) purists don’t get mad at this post, smile a little and you may do some good to yourself!]


Squawk Squawk



04 February 2010

Alishan NaqveeA divison bench of the Delhi High Court has widened across India its April 2009 judgment that service tax on commercial rentals is ultra vires the Finance Act, in a victory for law firm LexCounsel.

03 February 2010

Something has been troubling for a while. 


The print media has vast readership in India. The daily with the highest circulation has a readership of 1.33 crores. The ability to affect public opinion is of course then immense. Newspapers sometimes carry articles which are unjustifiably uninformed or extremely biased.  This is something that we have been saying for a while now. 


This is my attempt to try and do something.  Its is an attempt to rewrite certain newspaper articles without criticising the author in anyway. It is a rewrite inasmuch as it takes the theme of the particular article and brings to light the other side of the moon. I would also like to add that the contents of the blog and opinions expressed therein  are the result of legal research and logic that a law student can muster.


So, please, let me.

02 February 2010

What is a lawyer a lawyer for if he does not argue in court? This is a quote often referred to by people in the legal profession in order to entice people to join the bar. Mostly, the people who do use this quote are people who have become master litigators and judges over a long period of time. The Attorney General Sir G.E.Vahanvati also believes the same as can be seen from his interview where he even makes a suggestion to senior lawyers to pay at least a sustenance amount to junior lawyers to help them during their initial years. But then, at the same time no one does really want to join the bar because nobody actually does pay you that much, it seems to be a form of educated bonded labour where you get freed from your debt towards your senior lawyer only when lady luck manages to smile on which is why most litigators who end up questioning the very profession they are in and their faith to serve the profession dwindles.

The other side of the story is that of people who join the corporate houses and firms which often resemble a modern day ‘get rich quick scheme’. With all due respect to all associates, senior associates and partners who have made it big in these places, for the most part a huge bill is charged to clients for all the hard work put in by the associates engaged in research, drafting etc. Due to the hectic schedules and timings maintained, most people engaged in these top places end up reaching a saturation point at a very early stage. At some point of time or the other, people here too end up questioning what exactly they are doing and where exactly they are.

In my defence, I have no statistics to prove any of the things mentioned above so am assuming all the comments (if any) which may come in for this entry would be from people who love their respective side of the story and would presumably oppose what has been mentioned. This entry mainly conveys that the story of litigation and non-litigation is a story of the grass being greener on the other side depending on where exactly in the growth ladder a particular person is. The title of this entry does sound psychedelic but if probably, someone did make a movie showcasing both sides of the story in India where a litigator and a non litigator who are often plagued with a question of where exactly their life stands at this point in time. This title would suit it best.

02 February 2010

Almost half of the final-year batch of Nalsar Hyderabad want to work for a top five corporate law firm when they graduate, with only 9 per cent wanting to work for a litigator at the Supreme Court, according to a survey.

Legal industry services provider Rainmaker conducted a survey of 62 fifth-year students at Nalsar to find out about their ambitions.

A total of 44 per cent of students responded that they wanted to work for a top five law firm, with almost 15 per cent wanting to work in-house and less than 10 per cent preferring mid-size law firms.

That adds up to almost 70 per cent looking to do transactional desk work or "dignified clerking".

By contrast, far fewer than 10 per cent of students were looking to work as each of a litigator at the Supreme Court (9 per cent), High Court litigator or lower court litigator (a handful of per cent).  

Only 5 per cent of graduating students wanted to work for an NGO with a similar percentage wanting to pursue further studies overseas.

This leaves several people / firms / sectors in a bit of a pickle.

1. Mid-size law firms will have to be content to be second-best in recruitment preference to their larger rivals (or even only the five largest/top).

2. The national law schools do not appear to be feeding much talent to the Bar and Bench at all, as widely and rightly feared and expected by many on that learned side.

3. Follow the money.

Indeed, more than anything, the results suggests that the very highest paying jobs are by far the most popular. The slightly less high-paying ones follow behind and barely anyone wants to do those jobs that pay subsistence wages.

Simple economics or something deeper?

A somewhat hypothetical question perhaps, but if all the jobs on that list paid the same (say, a wage of around Rs 30,000 per month), what do you think the distribution would look like?

Would 50 per cent want to become a Supreme Court legend or legal freedom fighters?

02 February 2010

Hey guys, I would like to share  my views about improper , unequal economic development taking place in our country. I would also request you all to share your experiences and ideas to find a remedy for this disease. In this blog, I will throw some light on regional disparities especially comparing the eastern belt that is BIhar,Jharkhand with comparitvely much developed Maharastra and Gujarat.

Its been more than six decades  since,  we got independence but it seems it will take us another six decades to realise what indepence means to us.  On one side. our country is launching a shuttle on Moon whereas on the other people are still living in the Dark stone age starving, there mere existence is just a game of survival.

Its difficult to carry the hopes and aspirations of more than hundred crore diverse people  but ain't impossible.  The western region of the counrty is more developed than eastern and thus, gives rise to a unhealthy India which is full of disparities and discrimination.
There are many reasons for this disparity which can be classified as primary and secondary.
One of the Primary reason in eastern India is political instability and illiteracy. Political instability gives rise to ineffective administration thus, corruption arises . Bihar and Jharkhand are best examples. Now education comes into picture, the mass iliteracy among these areas doesnot help the cause either. Migration of skilled workers from Bihar and Jharkhand towards west, deprived the state from enjoying the fruits of development . The workers migrating are also helpless, its not that they want to go 1000 miles away from there home but they are compelled due to the situations prevailing in these most backward state of country. If we imagine, India as a human body then if one hand is not working consequently the other hand has to bear the extra work, now can we call India a healthy and developing country?

Political instability and lack of education led to very small infrastructure developments of these states followed by low Industrilization in Bihar and Jharkhand and not much Urbainsation  .  Thus, there is no foreing direct investements but thats a distant dream which depends upon the ramifications of primary reasons .

One interesting concept comes into my mind and I appeal with you all to come with your ideas for this situation. Md. Younus the "BANKER OF THE POOR" came to India in 2009 to give a lecture in parliament. He stressed upon his theory of "SOCIAL BUSINESS" and "GRAMEEN BANKS" which are very appealing to me. Economics is always perceived in terms of utility and statisfaction gained by the consumer on ever rupee which he pr she spends.  I doubt this theory. What about the social satisfaction we get by doing a good deed towards society which sometimes do requires monetary support.
 Microfinance, theory of social buisness and concept of grameen banks could be used as an effective machinery in these two states.  Mr. Younus in his lecture clearly stated that the concept of grameen banks did not follow the conventional laws of economics but still it was successful. This shows some hidden theory which is being missed by our policy makers or even though if it is taken into consideration then improper implementation  leads it to fail.

I propose our policy makers should seriously think of developing the villages and towns of these states by following the concept of grameen bank and social buisness. Micro finance should be encouraged in these two states. Even NREGA has not created a significant impact on the rural areas of these two states. Incoroprating grameen banks on the blue print laid down by Md. Younus in these areas  might be an effective and positive change. 
In my next edition I will write the concept and hoe does a Grameen banks work and what basically is social buiseness and how it can be incorporated. I hope all of you would contribute your valuable suggestions .


01 February 2010

The title of this entry would create in people certain preset notions with regard to the applicability of Public International Law (PIL) in modern day polity at the state level and at the international level. The entry would proceed to show that PIL as we know it today does not hold relevance or significance as we are taught and as we perceive it to be.

PIL began with Hugo Grotius laying down the modern principles of International Law. These principles on a close analysis remain principles even till date with court decisions only reaffirming the same. The only concrete sources of International Law can be found in Article 38 of the ICJ Statute which enumerates the same as treaties, customs, state practice and judicial decisions. Even these can graduate from one level to another depending purely on usage. For example, the use of force concept which was confined only to select few nations graduated to be part of the League of Nations and then to the United Nations Charter as an essential feature. Time and state practice are primarily what PIL is based upon. On a close analysis, when looked at vis a vis from the various statute laws available and the existing structures present within states, International Law seems to be an ever evolving concept which concretises depending more upon geopolitical factors present rather than making it obligatory for states to follow it. When the word ‘obligation’ is used in the context of PIL, the concept of ‘jus cogens’ is bound to arise which deals with peremptory norms from which states cannot derogate. This obligation is vested upon all states but with regard to enforceability of the same, PIL lacks necessary teeth to deal with it. Example, Apartheid existed in South Africa till the 1990’s even though Jus Cogens as a concept had been clearly established in International Law a long time before.  The renowned international law scholar,  Ian Brownlie (mooters would always swear by his name) passed away last month.  In order to find information about his untimely death, for the most part websites such as ILSA and other websites catering to International Law had to be searched. Any other legal luminary would at least find a mention in any form of media present. This is a very preliminary example of the importance and the relevance persistent the world over. For the most part, the only point in time PIL is studied in great detail is during moot courts where the ICJ docket is searched for extensively considering the 100+ cases present.  Let me elaborate the awareness of International Law with a true incident.

A certain student, ‘X’ stated in front of a bench at the Jessup India rounds that the principle of non-refoulement has attained the status of customary international law based upon state practice and opinion juris. The judge in return (civil court judge) stated that he wished to see a Bareact to verify the same. While everyone reading this would respond to this incident saying that I cannot dismiss the existence of International Law on the basis of this microscopic example. I am merely trying to state that the level of awareness and credibility of International Law is extremely low and that while people may love the subject, it could find mention only in moot courts, legal academia, research papers. The ICJ does have an awesome backdrop with world class facilities but even the ICJ has been in reality remains a posh court complex with foreign delegates, secretaries and International lawyers (mostly academicians) having high profile interactions considering the political situation prevailing at that point in time.

A necessary argument now would be that merely because a law is not enforced properly and can never bind states in the real sense, does not mean that the law should not be followed or it’s existence can be questioned. This argument is very true since the world over; laws of all types always suffer from lacunae of some sort or the other which does not make the law bad as such. However, in the case of PIL states have no binding obligation whatsoever, the UN can intervene in matters concerning the states and can only mediate or request the decisions to be followed but more often than not, these interventions and decisions always remain at the negotiation stage and do not create a binding obligation upon states. The question of jurisdiction can be examined over here- contentious and advisory jurisdiction alike, the ICJ does pass decisions but they remain decisions in name only. (Nicaragua case).  For the most part, power politics by the members of the Security Council have a role to play in the functioning and the play of International Law which makes its entire functioning flawed (Pan Am Case). International Law and its medium the judicial wing of the UN, the ICJ have never found a proper place in the global legal structure present. This happens to be the root cause for its ineffectiveness. Unless and until, domestic legal systems the world over do recognize that PIL does exist for inter-state disputes and awareness is created about the same, it would certainly remain an uphill task for PIL to carve a niche for itself. The moment this does happen, PIL would then graduate from the zone of being a westernized concept which is resorted primarily by richer nations to a legal world order where states can actually rely upon it for justice to be delivered. Palestinians the world over are crying out for Jerusalem stating it is theirs, a true scholar of International Law cannot place Jerusalem under valid control of Israel (Construction of Wall Case around Jerusalem). Does Israel care what the ICJ thinks, does the world care what PIL states and have Palestinians got justice for what has been bestowed upon them?

01 February 2010

Hello people

Law as has defined by numerous scholars but to no awail. Everybody has a different definition of law and everybody perceives law in a different sense. However, for everbody one aspect of law is common ie laws govern a society. It is for the people. However, i would like to draw the attention of the people towards the immoral conditions mentioned in the Bombay Anti Begging Law that applies to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta. Under the act there are conditions that can punish the beggar for a maximum imprisonment of 10 years. I would like to post this question to you all, is it moral to punish a person who is suffering from poverty and has no means of acquiring the basic neccesities of life ie food. There are numerous examples of the same when a person was picked up. 

This although might appear trivial but don't such people have a right to live? They are put behind the bars, cramped in the imsufficient spaces in Social Welfare Homes. I do realise that in the social welfare homes they are taught vocational skills which might help them to earn a decent living after being released from the homes, but again the same question is it their fault that they are born poor??Is it moral to curbe their basic or the fundamental right to live with dignity, enjoy freedom just because they are shabbily dressed or they can't acquire the funds require to own a home or are not educated enough to earn a decent living for themselves? Why do we rich and the people with money think they are a blot on the face of the metros??

The Delhi Government has started a drive to remove the beggars from the streets of Delhi and have started to deport them back to their native states. How is this decision different from the acts of MNS in Mumbai?? This contention was raised by a famous activist Mr. Harsh Mandher in a PIL. What about the fundamental right mentioned in the Constitution of India which gives freedom to any citizen of India to settle in any part of India and to take up any occupation. Now is this decision of the Delhi government which has the ascent of the Delhi High Court. 

01 February 2010

NLSIU Spiritus 09-10 - BasketballToday's guest blogger is Spiritus convenor Shravan Kochhar

NLSIU's annual, inter-collegiate sports festival Spiritus 2009-2010 began with a rush of excitement after national-level badminton champion Arvind Bhat's motivational speech at the inaugural ceremony on Thursday 14th of January 2010.

Over twenty law colleges from all over the country participated in events ranging from basketball and football to table-tennis and chess; the NLSIU campus and the Sports Authority of India grounds nearby were buzzing with activity for three days of suspense-filled, engaging competition.

For the first time ever this year's Spiritus introduced non-competitive events like paintball and gaming, giving both spectators and players enjoyment and leisure throughout the day. What’s more, informal events like sponge-throwing and arm wrestling, along with dozens of food stalls speckling the venue kept boredom at bay.

Spiritus was a showcase of talent and dedication to sporting activity, with high levels of skill and spirit devoted to every single match. 

While Christ College claimed first place for the Alyosha Kumar Memorial Football Tournament on Sunday, the home basketball team defeated the USS team in the finals, thrilling the crowd with a compelling, nail-biting finish.

Earlier, the NLSIU girls’ team also bagged first place for basketball, defeating DES in the finals.

The School of Excellence in Law Chennai was declared the winner for both volleyball and throwball.

Spiritus 2009-2010 closed with the insightful closing speech of NLSIU vice-chancellor professor Venkata Rao.

NLSIU scored maximum points overall but as gracious hosts handed over the title to the next contender Symbiosis Law, Pune.

Symbiosis won first place in several categories, including both squash and table-tennis.

Rainmaker, Flashpoint, and ABB sponsored the event, along with Legally India as associate sponsor and MegaMart as prize sponsor.

[I've uploaded a couple of photos of the festival, courtesy of Shravan Kochhar. It's a shame I could not make it, sounds like it was fun. Which are the other prestigious sports fests in law school circles? -Kian]

Complete Results

Copa Lexa (Football)

            Winners: Christ College of Law, Bangalore

            Runners Up: SVKM College, Mumbai

Spike o Mania (Volleyball)

            Winners: School of Excellence in Law, Chennai

            Runners Up: Symbiosis Law College, Pune

3 Point Party (Basketball) (Men)

            Winners: NLSIU, Bangalore

            Runners Up: USLLS, Delhi

3 Point Party (Basketball) (Women)

            Winners: NLSIU, Bangalore

            Runners Up: DES Law College, Pune

Chuck – It’s Legal (Throwball)

            Winners: School of Excellence in Law, Chennai

            Runners Up: NLSIU, Bangalore

Got the Guts? (Badminton) (Men)

            Winners: DES Law College, Pune

            Runners Up: NLSIU, Bangalore

Got the Guts? (Badminton) (Women)

            Winners: Government Law College, Bombay

            Runners Up: NLSIU, Bangalore

Lawland Garros (Tennis) (Men)

            Winners: National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkatta

            Runners Up: Symbiosis Law College, Pune

Lawland Garros (Tennis) (Women)

            Winners: NLSIU, Bangalore

            Runners Up: NLSIU, Bangalore

Paddle Battle (Table Tennis) (Men)

            Winners: Symbiosis Law College, Pune

            Runners Up: NLSIU, Bangalore

Paddle Battle (Table Tennis) (Women)

            Winners: Symbiosis Law College, Pune

            Runners Up: NLSIU, Bangalore

Jehangir ki Khoj (Squash)

            Winners: Symbiosis Law College, Pune

            Runners Up: NLSIU, Bangalore

Thunderstrikes (Carom) (Men)

            Winners: NLSIU, Bangalore

            Runners Up: M.S. College of Law, Vadodara

Thunderstrikes (Carom) (Women)

            Winner: NLSIU, Bangalore

            Runners Up: Symbiosis Law College, Pune

Check Mate (Chess)

            Winners: NLSIU, Bangalore

            Runners Up: Christ College of Law, Bangalore

31 January 2010

Work last week was tough. It’s been three days that I have wanted to scratch my bum, the bum could only get its appointment with my hands only today. Words such as “recession” and “bad markets” are turning out to be humbug. Almost each day is “littered” with a new deal. One interesting new deal was for my school friend Hardik (ever tried pronouncing this name the Firang way? it sounds like the upright male unmentionable appendage!) X. Hardik  X fell in love with this Gujarati girl of his class (“The Love Of His Life”). It’s a familiar story - same age couples - girl wants to marry immediately (claiming parental pressure) - boy is interested but still has to pay off his education loan, buy dad a new car, get the house refurbished and do everything to prove to the family that he was better than his cousin (not-so-Hardik?). The Love Of His Life’s father had already started circulating her photographs in the Lajpat Nagar type dresses (with a painted Taj Mahal background!).  

The problem was peculiar, Hardik X feared The Love Of His Life may end up marrying someone else. He loved her, but could only marry her only after being the dutiful son. Hardik X in this delirium called me for my opinion. I (without the influence of 6 beers) offered to draft a Right of First Refusal agreement ("ROFR"). Under the terms of the ROFR , when The Love Of His Life finally chooses the man she wants to bed for the rest of her life, Hardik X gets the first chance to accept (or refuse) marriage with her at that particular moment. Only on  Hardik's X's denial to marry her, can she marry her father’s choice! This gave Hardik X the assurance that he still had a last-minute chance to marry The Love Of His Life.

The signing took place yesterday. The closing will take place after completion of the CP’s. One touchy CP was that the "Lovee" (Hardik X) would not touch-feel-lick-ogle-caress (emphasis supplied) any women, men, animals and insects until the exercise of the rights under the ROFR. Quite a KLPD, but as they say “all’s fair in love and war”!




30 January 2010

As a law student, there are always certain expectations and aspirations which you carry with you while entering law school. Expectations and aspirations are important since they do give you a preliminary glimpse of what path needs to be taken or which area should be focused upon. Unfortunately, this glimpse does not eventually graduate from the zone of being a glimpse to ideas which can actually be materialised. This statement must obviously seem confusing and making no sense whatsoever. Let me illustrate this with an example, A certain student 'X' enters into law school from a middle class household specifically inspired by the 'national' tag the law school has and the earning potential that he might be able to capitalise upon. While studying law, he realises that he loves the law for what it is and wants to enter litigation but is plagued by the monetary constraints that he has. What does 'X' do over here? For purists, the proper approach would be to follow your passion and believe in what you do, therefore, 'X' would be advised to take up to litigation and struggle it out. The other approach would be to capitalise upon the opportunities presented and tap the earning potential present. This is an argument where different people have different viewpoints but as far as guidance and counselling goes, unless and until 'X' would know someone big in the legal fraternity or can bask in the shade of someone big, there would be a clash of priorities created in his mind. Let us put 'X' in another situation, 'X' has to choose between going to the 'Jessup' and lets say the 'ELSA WTO Moot', while 'X' does have a keen interest in international law, he would also be inclined to go to the 'WTO Moot' from the perspective of future prospects since trade law has many firms engaged in it and that is where the earning potential is. 'X' again is faced with a clash of priorities in his head to which the only answer would be to forgo one for the other like in the earlier case. A final example in this regard, suppose 'X' has to choose between doing an LLM and getting work experience, where does 'X' go? Again there is a clash of priorities in this regard.

While webstites do exist, career guidance books are present and people in the field can advise a student on a path to pursue. A common link which can be drawn in each of the illustrations mentioned in the preceding paragraph is that 'X' always has an opportunity cost to choose. This is because, law the field by itself is vast and so overlapping in its avenues, it is extremely tough to categorise a particular avenue in watertight compartments as such. An area of interest can be developed and imbibed over a period of time such as IPR, Tax etc. but this happens only in few cases and in most cases, atleast 90 % of the cases that I have seen, people seem to be confused because of the very nature of law that exists and the seemingly thin line of demarcation that exists within the aspects of 'choosing' and then 'pursuing' a particular path.  Most people end up sticking to a job or an avenue or an area of research by virtue of default because guidance at the age where the law is taught and learnt fails to give a fair view of the opportunities and the challenges each avenue has. The national law universities and colleges alike mostly havea herd mentality present and rely more on hearsay snippets and information about any particular avenue which can be taken up.

While, I am anticipating comments in vehement opposition of what I have stated with a recurring undercurrent stating that "You must do your own research, find out your avenues and are responsible to choose between 'earning' and 'interest'. " These anticipated comments would fail to appreciate the twin objectives this entry intended to convey, firstly, the constant confusion that a law student is faced in some form or the other at some time or the other in his/her law school life and secondly, the existing 'trial and error' approach that most people are resorting to in the present day legal market due to lack of accurate guidance and counselling with regard to the same. Of course, the elite national law schools would presumably cater to all requirements of a law student but what about the rest, do the rest of the law students have to necessarily adopt a default or trial and error based approach and make it a tale of the rich church mice with proper guidance, counselling and conviction and the poor church mice with a constant tumoil of having to deal with opportunity costs time and again for no fault of theirs?


30 January 2010

Back in school we’d done our share of campaigns relating to various social causes which generally dealt with awareness building among our fellow students. Interning at an NGO was my first hands-on experience on dealing with societal problems. Though my job mainly included analyzing data and making reports, it also gave me an insight into how these institutions work and more importantly the extent of their impact on the society. Also, since I was away from home for the first time in life, it was quite an experience handling stuff on my own. One day, I had to get some official documents verified at a public office and the official demanded a bribe. It was a petty amount but it sure got me riled up and I got into an argument with the officer. Eventually I didn’t have to pay in the end but it was quite an experience for me, especially when the request was so frank and my so very utterly helpless feeling.

In fact, a 2005 study done by Transparency International (TI) in India found that more than 50% of the people had firsthand experience of paying bribe or peddling influence to get a job done in a public office. Several NGOs fighting this disease have sprung up. Collectively they’ve succeeded to a certain extent in bringing about a change in the attitude and mindset of the people. The RTI has empowered the common man to legally question the tasks performed by a public office. The onus is on the citizen now and his cause needn’t be taken up by an NGO. I believe in change at a grass root level. And it doesn’t always have to be initiated by those at the top of the ladder. The 5th Pillar, an international NGO with the Indian HQ in Chennai has a unique concept of ‘zero pay for public services’. You may think about the futility of this very obvious statement but have a look at the zero rupee note right below. 



                                     Zero rupee note- A social ally

When a public servant encounters a common man thrusting this note towards him, it becomes a mark of silent protest and an assertion of the fact that he is aware and can’t be exploited. More importantly, people are willing to use the note. The NGO has opened up a path that can pave the way for relatively simple ideas like the zero rupee notes to turn into a powerful social statement against petty corruption.


For more information, check out their official website-http://india.5thpillar.org/


29 January 2010

Let me begin by enunciating that life at a national university of law isn't exactly a bed of roses. More so when one is part of one of the new nationals, yet to form a formidable impression within the legal fraternity (further continuing the process of clarification- even the oldest nationals akin nlsiu, nalsar and nujs can't exactly be referred to as the most popular of educational institutions in the country so stress on the word within). There is still an aura of curiosity which is pervasive vis a vis these NATIONALS which at the same time is perplexing and enthralling. I'll try to illuminate this apparent tenebros vision of persons willing to jump into the NATIONAL LAW SCHOOL pool with whatever farthing of knowledge I possess.


Legal education was neglected in our country for more than a substantial period of time. This itself is paradoxical because most of the eminent persons who shaped the future of India by taking an active part in the freedom struggle, were themselves, by metier, lawyers. However, going back to the story, with all due respect to the traditional universities' departments of law, they weren't (still aren't) exactly a mecca for legal edification. So the Bar Council of India took it upon itself to redeem the glory of the poor neglected array of the law students/aspirants. BCI managed to pursue the Karnataka Government to pass a legislature for the establishment of a national school of law, an university dedicated exclusively for legal cognizance and research, in Bangalore in 1987. This proved to be an epoch making endeavor in the annals of legal education history. The NATIONAL LAW SCHOOL OF INDIA UNIVERSITY (NLSIU) changed the way people looked at legal education, (they actually started REVERING it!!!). This university revolutionized the process of learning law and brought about a lot of changes in the field. The conventional 3 year llb program was done away with, and the country saw the introduction of a 5 year ba.llb program, to be taken right after school, at par with the engineering and medical courses (so finally we started making a progress). The skeptics were, as usual, at their sceptical best, raising noses and disregarding the idea, the novel concept. But the mecca of legal education (as it is NOW known) continued with its progress of reinventing and redefining clinical legal education. The blog would never end if I keep beating about the bush on NLSIU as it has made gargantuan contribution and revolutionized a career path for hundreds. However to make a long story short it would be enough if I say that the first batch which passed out in 1993 contained prodigies who are now doing not too bad for themselves in institutions like the World Bank, World Trade Organisation, etc other than, obviously, being partners in the top law firms all over the globe.


From the concluding portion of the last paragraph it must be quite clear to all the rational minds that the national law school's inception wasn't exactly a failure. As the NLSIU started excelling other state governments began pondering over the idea of establishing institutions akin NLSIU in their own states. Andhra Pradesh Government established NALSAR Hyderabad, the second among national law universities in 1999. After a while came NLIU Bhopal and NUJS Kolkata. The third array was completed with the estabishment of HNLU and GNLU in Raipur and Gandhinagar respectively in 2003. And the fourt cluster of law schools were RMLNLU Lucknow, RGNUL Patiala, CNLU Patna and NUALS Kochi. NLS Delhi and NLU Cuttack were established in 2008 and 2009 respectively.


But the question arises how exactly are these institutions different? The answer is simple- the students' mentality. For a change (I know it for a fact as I also happen to be one) the national law schoolites (no offence to the NLSIU family but by this I mean students studying in ANY of the nationals and not just them) don't look forward to wearing the black coat amid the indian summer throughout their lives and being uncomfortable but a financially lucrative career in corporate law. Names like Amarchad & Mangaldas, Luthra & Luthra, etc become part of their active vocab. To make this difference come into life these students do a lot of staffs in their undergradute lives, which, to be quite honest, the traditional universities' law department students don't exactly do. These include preparing 60 odd project reports during their stay at the law schools, presenting seminars every 6 months, attending conferences (national and international), doing 10 internships in 5 years and writing research papers. It doesn't mean the traditional universities law students don't do these at all, but as frequently as New Zealand qualifies for the soccer world cup.


At present the competition among the different law schools is tremendous with everyone looking to outdo the other. A careful look at their history would reveal that most of them with the exception of NLSIU are pretty new by university standards. But the ones who have released batches are occupying a superior position in the reputation hierarchy than the ones who haven't. However, the newer ones are not to be left behind. For an example, in the recently concluded national moot in NLIU Bhopal, our RGNUL team of Ms Bhoomika Modh, Ms Shirin Malik and Ms Roshni Chadda won by defeating NALSAR, a veteran actor in this law school drama in the final. By the way they personified women power as well, so congratulations to them.


Finally, I'd like to conclude as this has become a bit too tedious  for your likings already, by saying that these law schools, no doubt good, but are not the end of discussion as far as legal education is concerned. There are certain non nationals like ILS Pune and GLC Mumbai which are pretty good. Still if studying law in India is one's vision, entering the national law circus by purchasing the ticket of CLAT should be the top priority.


29 January 2010

The name is Popat…LegalPopat! After a hard day’s of work, I don’t mind it either shaken or stirred.

Who are you? :  I am a lawyer at a leading law firm in India. A friendly neighborhood ass-0-ciate.Every partners dread and every associates weapon, your darkest side- that’s LegalPopat!

Why are you shrouded? – I obviously love my job and love the money which follows even more. I am not giving it up for you guys.

So what is your blog about? – A “frank blog” is how I would term it. A blog on everything law, non law, love, sex, pornography, casting couch and ouch!

This being the first post…I say the mandatory “hello” to all the LegallyIndia readers. I shall try squeeze in a post at least once every week.




28 January 2010

In a shocking incident of alleged ragging in Pune, a second year student of Deccan Education Society Law College committed suicide on Sunday after allegedly facing harassment by a group of students of the same college.  

22 year-old Prashant Chitalkar ended his life by jumping into a well near his home in Rahuri Taluk, Ahmednagar.

The police have so far booked ten students, out of whom four have been identified by the father of the deceased and complainant in the case under the Anti-Ragging Act.

Bandopant Chitalkar, who is a police havaldar by profession, stated in his complaint that his son committed suicide following sustained mental torture by the youths.

According to the complaint, Prashant was told by students that his father earned money through corrupt means. The family members of the victim informed the media that Prashant attempted suicide earlier too but the matter was not reported then because they had feared adverse repercussions.  

Meanwhile, the college authorities have ordered the constitution of a fact-finding committee to probe into the allegation and only after receiving a report within 48-hours will they take action against the students found guilty.

Such events of ragging are blotches on the civil liberty mandates of our state and not enough attempts are made to plug the existing lacunae.

We offer our condolences to the bereaved family of Prashant and the others who have lost their dear and near ones to such mindless acts of ragging.

Isn’t it time to question those involved and at least try to remedy the situation?

Less than three months ago a Nalsar Hyderabad student was also believed to have killed himself after jumping to his death. [Note: this does not appear to have been related to ragging.]

In a Legally India forum discussion readers have generally said that ragging was not common in law schools.

Do you think that budding lawyers are nicer to each other than the engineers of 3 Idiots or other professions?


27 January 2010

KK Luthra Memorial International Criminal Law

It all started on 7th November 2009 when after ranking 3rd in the Intra-College selection rounds of National Law University, New Delhi, i was selected for the KK Luthra Memorial Criminal Law Moot Court, 2010, which happens to be the the very first moot on International Criminal Law, to be held in India, with 48 teams participating including Cambridge University and team from Pakistan. It was conducted by Campus Law Center, Delhi University.

I had previously participated in a no. of Model UN Conferences, especially in Security Councils, so I already had an inherent interest in Human rights and matters of International Humanitarian Law. This years moot problem was based on the crime of Genocide in a certain country, which had domestic laws similar to that of India, and the applicable statute was that of the UNICTR. To summarize the factual matrix: It was a medley of the Genocide in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the Godhra-riots, Sikh-riots, and The Bombay Riots. All in all it was a well-balanced and compelling problem, wherein the accused, the CM of a State, was convicted by the trial chamber of an International Tribunal, set up in his home country, and the moot was to take place in the Appeals Chamber.

My  Team comprised of myself as the 1st speaker, Aditya Sharma as 2nd Speaker and Mohit Sharma as researcher. We first of all started, by reading and re-reading the entire problem and critically analyzing and interpreting factual issues. The best way to do this is to keep writing your interpretations of each fact, for both the Appellants and the Respondents side simultaneously. After having sufficiently internalized the factual situation, we started drawing parallels to similar factual situations as stated above. After further research on each precedent, we shortlisted ones which closely resembled the given factual matrix. Then we turned to case law on the these factual situations. The International Tribunal judgments proved very useful in this regard, since they contained an in depth discussion of arguments from either sides, and discussion of past -precedents. This helped us divide legal arguments from each sides perspective. To brush up our knowledge on International Criminal Law, we referred to several manuals of the same subject. The late night heated discussions on applicable law and interpretations and countless cups of coffee, are a sweet reminder of the beautiful experience that mooting is.

This brings us to the second stage, the memorial writing stage. We visited the ISIL library, which is right in front of the Supreme Court, and got hold of a no. of books and texts on specific sub-issues involved like jurisdiction, crimes against humanity , Joint criminal enterprise, instigation etc. We then turned to writing arguments, having with us piles of photocopies, random notes taken during discussions, criminal law manuals etc. We had divided the five issues in question between the three of us, depending on who has a better  grasp of it. The writing of the memorial went right into the night till dawn. It took us around 7-8 days to finish the memorial from the day we actually started writing. The result, after printing and spiral bindings was far from perfect containing several un-avoidable typographical errors due to last minute hassles. But that didn't end up being an impediment in securing us the 4th Highest marks in the memorial 30.5/ 40, the winning team had 32 Marks. Preparation for the oral pleadings was spread over 5 days, which included reading the memo several times. The actual pleading included a single piece of paper containing an authority cheat sheet, with the footnote no and page no. of the authority in the memo. This proved to be quite useful especially during the grilling questions posed by the judges. We had quite a memorable stay at the DU hostel, details of which are a story for another day. During the inaugural ceremony we met with legal stalwarts like Siddhartha Luthra, who happens to be an extremely humble and a gregarious human being. He took personal interest in each team and asked for feedback and other inputs.  We also met with other teams we had met at the ISIL library, who were equally nervous about the next day event. The first day ended with an exchange of memorials, and we spent the night taking apart the memorials for both the prelim rounds, which really made us feel like real lawyers, reminding of the scene from A FEW GOOD MEN,the one with the day before trial.

We were scheduled for the Session-II prelims, so the morning was spent frantically cross-referencing and revising arguments. We were the respondents in the first round, and it turned out to be quite an easy affair, considering the Appellants had erred on several points of law and fact. We won that round by a margin of 120 marks(A=309, R=430), which really boosted our confidence. The  second round was comparatively easy with the judges being quite passive, and less inquisitive. We won that round with a margin of 110(A=460, R=350). Soon afterwards, we were told that we have made it to the Top 8 teams, based on our memo scores, since there were 13 teams with 2 wins each. The teams that lost out in the prelims were Cambridge University, NLIU bhopal and NUJS. We were pitted against 3rd and 4th  year students from NALSAR in the quarter finals, which eventually won the Best Speaker and Runners-up award. The quarter-finals had a set of extremely talented judges who mostly tested your general knowledge of criminal and constitutional issues, rather than on main issue. One of the judges, who seemed like an accomplished trial lawyer, asked questions(many of them leading) as one would cross-examine a witnesses and ultimately make you say something which in retrospect would seem quite incorrect. Since, the quarters took place at around 9 in the night, the judge were very hostile and testy. All in all, to prevail in the quarter finals one requires an in depth knowledge of all areas of law, in depth knowledge of basic fundamentals, and presence of mind which comes only from experience. We lost to NALSAR with a margin of 20 marks. The biggest consolation, was that just before the results came out, the opposing counsel came up to me, and said: ''It's gonna be really close, you guys very confident up there, and we screwed up really bad! Which year are you in?"

First Year. The look on his face after my response, and the compliments that followed, are one of the best memories of that moot. The judges from that round also congratulated us on our convincing abilities, including Mr. Siddhartha Luthra himself. Even though, my journey into my first moot has ended, i went to Indian Habitat Center the next day, to witness some stellar mooting from the GLC team, who very clearly very experienced and much better grasp of the legal issues in question. The first  speaker, was so confident that he even evoked a couple good laughs from the presiding Delhi High Court Judges, from his witty retorts.

All in all, this was one my most memorable in my still short but quite eventful life in law school, promising a great many more in the next 4 and a half years. I would like to thank our mentor Mr. Apar Gupta, who in my belief is one of the best mooter i have come across. Thank you Apar, for taking time out of your busy schedule and spending time with, and providing us with those useful nuggets, that made our experience all the more enriching. I would also like to thank my team mates Aditya, for his un-ending arguments, Mohit, for being an emotional and moral supporter through this ordeal, The Registrar, the VC and the librarian for providing us any books we needed for an indefinite period, and finally my fellow students at NLU, Delhi who constantly counselled and motivated me.

27 January 2010


With the advent of service tax, an interesting question has arisen whether tax is deductible at source under the IT Act even in respect of the service tax component of the professional fee/contract amount payable to the service provider/contractor.

The issue of TDS on service tax is getting hotter by the day. This issue got fuel with the issuance of a circular by the CBDT. In this circular, board has clarified that tax deduction at source under section 194-I of the Income Tax Act, would be required to be made on the amount of rent paid/payable without including the service tax. (Cicular No. 4 dated 28-04-2008). Reason given by CBDT in this circular that service provider only acts as a collection agent for the government.

After ths clarification, every body was of the view that the principal enunciated by ths circular is applicable to all the payments made by the assessee and accordingly no TDS is deductible from on the part of service tax whether it is professional's bill or contractor's bill.

But, to settle the issue, CBDT has issued another clarificatin vide circular F no. 275/73/2007IT(B) dated 30-06-2008 can not be extended to the payment made under section 194-J (Fees for professional and technical services). Therefore, TDS is to be deducted on the gross amount inclusive of service tax where the payment is being made u/s 194-J.

From the reading of both the clarifications, the reasons for two stands in two situtations can be discussed as under :

CBDT has given clarification on the matter by issuing circular stating that u/s 194-I TDS is deductible only on the rental income & not on service tax (circular no. 4 dated 28-04-2008) and u/s 194-J TDS is deductible on gross amount i.e. inclusive of service tax. (Dated 30-06-2008). The reason given by CBDT are that provisions of section 194-I requiers deduction of tax at sources on "any income by way of rent", whereas provisions of section 194-J requires deduction of tax at sources on "any sum payable" by way of professional fee, for technical services, royalty & non compete fee.

CBDT states that as 194-I requires deduction on income & service tax does not form part of income, thus TDS is not deductible on TDS. While in case of 194-J CBDT lays stress on "any sum payable" & forgets the part "by way of professional fee, fee for technical services, royalty & non compete fee." Now, Service tax does not form part of professional fee, it is over and above the professional fee which the service provider has to collect from the service recipient & pay to government. Thus it is not part of "any sum payable by way of professional fee".

From the above discussion I conclude that TDS should not be deducted on service tax component. The following reasons for this are as under :

1.      The money collected (by way of service tax) is instantly diverted by over-riding title.

2.      If we read basic charging section of TDS (Section 190), it requires the deduction of tax on income of  the recipient. (service tax is not the income as accepted by the CBDT).

3.      If CBDT accept in their circular that service provider only acts as a collection agency. Then why not for professional service provider is a collecting agency of government for the purposes of section 194-J, they only stress on the wordings of section 194-J, this is not a true law and has to be amended by finance ministry department.

CA Pankaj Galhotra

Email - galhotra.rishaan [at] gmail.com

Mob. 9915793-007

21 January 2010

I have summarized information that I have gathered (after extensive research) about doing an LL.M from UK into one blog. I hope this blog helps the Indian students in taking the right decisions on whether or not to do a LL.M and also becoming aware of how things stand in general.

1. CONDITIONAL ADMISSIONS (Requirement of English Language tests) AND EXEMPTION: 

1.1 I got a conditional offer from my first preference college in London and had to submit my TOEFL/ IELTS scores to get an unconditional offer. Many colleges had given me an unconditional offer.

1.2 I spoke to the London college over phone and informed them that I had studied all throughout in English. After speaking with me, they informed me that if I submitted a certificate from my University (where I did my LL.B) stating that I studied the LL.B in English, they would waive the TOEFL/ IELTS for me and give me unconditional admission. Maybe others who have studied all throughout in English and have to fulfill the English language condition can make a similar request to the colleges where they have received conditional admission.


2.1 If you have a scholarship and only need to take a minimal loan, go by all means. The LL.M will add value to you as a person and academically. It would give you an exposure that you would not get here in India. In addition you would build up a worldwide network of contacts. Needless to say you would also end up making some really close friends.

2.2  If you're going to take a huge loan and finance your LL.M, then you should acquire significant, stable and highly specialized work experience in India to be able to pay off the loan in case you have to come back to India. At a lesser work experience level, it will be very tough to pay off a huge loan especially since your salary in India after the LL.M will not increase drastically.

2.3  If you're taking a loan and you think you can pay off the loan easily, then go by all means. But don't take a huge loan just from a foreign job perspective cause the risks involved are large. An important point is that a large loan puts a lot of pressure on you and gives you much less flexibility till you pay off the loan. In the present UK market it's next to impossible to get a job after the LL.M.

2.4 Another suggestion is to postpone your admission to the next year and earn some money to finance a major part of your studies/ living costs especially if you have age on your side. 

2.5 Banks in India have the highest rate of interest for an Education Loan unlike the UK and the US. The interest last year ranged between 12% per annum to about 13.5% per annum and for an amount of Rs. 7.5 lakhs and above most banks require a collateral of similar value and a third party guarantee. Even the housing loans are offered at a lower rate of interest than the education loans.

2.6  My calculation of taking a Rs. 20,00,000/- loan from Indian banks repayable over 5-7 years is that by the time you repay it, you would be paying back approximately Rs. 31,00,000/- lakhs or maybe more (my maths was weak so do the calculation for yourself too).:) Think about this figure because the repayment starts one year after you finish your course or 6 months after you get a job. The interest clock keeps ticking while you're studying, unless you're able to service the interest while studying. The expected EMI on the above loan of 20 lakhs is about Rs. 30000/- per month or more. This is a large EMI unless you're earning 1.5 to 2 lakhs a month (which you're unlikely to earn as a fresh graduate/ after only a few years of work experience or directly after your LL.B and the LL.M) and even then it’s a great pressure on you. 

2.7 If you/ your family can’t finance your studies, minimize the bank loan, even if you have to take one. Apply for all the scholarships available and take soft loans from parents, relatives, friends and well-wishers. This way, you don’t have the pressure of paying an EMI after your course or after you get a job.


3.1 Do the LL.M for the right reasons and not just from the perspective of getting a job in UK. The worst possible decision you can take in whether to do the LL.M or not is to decide on the basis of getting a job in UK. Do the LL.M only if you want to study further and become more specialized in the subjects of your interest and in areas of law where you already have some amount of experience in India and NOT for the job prospects.

3.2 For those of you planning to do the LL.M right after your LL.B, my suggestion is to work for some time and get some experience in India. The main reason for my suggestion is that after working for a while, you’ll be very sure about which areas of law really interest you. If you go for the LL.M at that stage where you know what you want to specialize in, it will help you much more than if you go without work experience. You might make the wrong decisions about the choice of the LL.M or the subjects you choose if you don’t have work experience.

3.3 The LL.M is really valuable from the perspective of widening your horizons, interacting with people from different countries, travelling to interesting countries/ places, experiencing different cultures and building up worldwide networks that would help you years later in an increasingly global environment. For me it was good to be a student again after so many years of working, apart from gaining specialized knowledge of course.

3.4 The course is tough and unless you do it properly you really won't benefit from it. There's enough scope for having fun provided you are regular with your studies. If you maintain a healthy balance you'll not only do well but also enjoy yourself. There's no point going for the LL.M, spending that much money, if you're not going to study seriously. Don't treat the LL.M as just another exam but try to gain as much knowledge as you can.  


4.1 Barring a few UK law firms, most UK law firms really don't care if you have a LL.M or not. Their hiring decision is not made on the basis of the LL.M but on the basis of the LL.B and your relevant work experience.

4.2 By relevant work experience I mean a specialized work experience, which is related to the law firm's areas of expertise. Unlike India where you may need a more generalized experience and sometimes in a smaller law firm you're dealing with various areas of law, in UK the experience requirement is more specialized.

4.3 There's no point in having a general kind of work experience in India if you plan to work outside India. This is feedback that I have received from UK law firms and UK recruitment consultants.

4.4 Not one response from the UK law firms and recruitment consultants in 2008-09 had been positive about getting a job in UK after a LL.M, for persons with a LL.B degree from India. Things will be much worse now in 2010-11 with the present market conditions in UK. You'll also be competing with all the retrenched lawyers/ previous year LL.M students for jobs once you graduate. The LL.M may have more value in other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong etc. but even then you're not sure considering the present economic scenario.

4.5 Even after significant work experience in India, post the LL.M, you would probably start at a Trainee level or at best as a newly qualified solicitor (if you clear the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT). Your previous experience in India would be considered to a certain extent but will not be given a very high preference.

4.6 The more experience you have in India, the less the chances of getting a Trainee position as you would be then be over qualified for a Trainee position. Therefore for persons with more than 6-10 years experience in India, it becomes even more difficult to join a UK law firm in my view unless they are taken on as lateral placements (whihc is very tough).

4.7 Consider this point, why would a UK law firm hire you after a LL.M, when there are persons applying to them who have done a 3-year LL.B degree from UK and also have UK work experience in comparison to Indian work experience or no work experience. 

4.8 India is a choice destination now and foreign law firms were hiring Indian lawyers for their India Practices as well as other practices earlier, but those lawyers were being hired more for the purpose of being trained/ for their education in India and previous work experience than for their LL.M. The foreign law firms are hiring Indian lawyers because they hope that the market in India opens up for the foreign law firms in a few years and it is to their advantage that they set up "India Practices". Of course with the Mumbai High Court judgment things have become unclear once again. Ultimately it is now for the legislature to take a call. 

4.9 The foreign law firms definitely don't have an altruistic reason for hiring Indian lawyers but are doing it only for the reason that when the Indian market opens up for them, they can then send back those lawyers to work for their offices in India or advise their clients' on setting up in India. Further only a small percentage of the Indian lawyers who apply for jobs to foreign law firms get them. 

4.10 I also know persons from India, who have gotten jobs with foreign law firms without doing a LL.M, after about 5-6 years of transactional work, so a LL.M is really not that important for getting a job in a foreign law firm.

4.11 In the present recession a lot of Indian lawyers have been retrenched and have now come back to India, so think about that too before going for the LL.M. 


5.1 From an Indian law firm perspective, the LL.M really doesn't help you if you come back to India immediately after the LL.M. Senior persons in the profession have mentioned this to me.

5.2 If you plan to come back to India or are forced to come back for a job after the LL.M, then it's better that you get some work experience before you go for the LL.M. After 3-5 years of work experience in India, the LL.M may help a little bit but not much with Indian law firms.

5.3 Your salary with the Indian law firms will certainly not jump drastically after the LL.M. Yes, if you manage to get 4-5 years work ex after your LL.M with a law firm in UK and then come back to India, that would probably help you in the law firms in India.

5.4 Starting salaries in a lot of law firms in India have increased drastically in the past few years. India is growing and being a lawyer in India at this time is a good option. 

5.5 The LL.M may have also have some value for a MNC and a Legal Process Outsourcing Company in India but there also a lot will depend on your previous work experience in India.

Hope my views above help Indian students wanting to do a LL.M from UK. Please conduct your own research on the LL.M, job prospects etc. and let me know if there is any information above, which needs to be amended or is incorrect. I’d be happy to receive any comments and any additional information which persons on this forum may have to share.

I would be writing about my experiences in the LL.M in UK whenever I find time to do so. Keep checking. 

All the best and Cheers