Discussions on Opening up India’s Legal Market Dropped from President Obama’s Agenda During Trip to India
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During President Barack Obama’s highly publicized trip to India this week that was to focus on boosting trade and security ties between both countries, discussions about opening up the legal market in India were removed from the agenda.

According to the article at amlawdaily.com, Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge corporate partner Shahana Basu Kanodia, chair of the firm’s South Asia practice, told Legally India’s Kian Ganz that opening up India’s legal market to foreign firms was a relatively low priority and had been sidelined in favor of discussions on job creation and democracy.

Ganz noted that when British Prime Minister David Cameron visited India this summer, he was accompanied by Clifford Chance outgoing senior partner Stuart Popham, who felt confident India would lift restrictions on foreign lawyers by 2012.


However, Edwards Angell’s Kanodia was more pessimistic about the future of foreign lawyers in India. She told Legally India’s Ganz, that the country’s legal market would likely remain closed until 2015, primarily because Indian businesses didn’t see the benefit in allowing foreign firms to practice locally.

The National Law Journal, a sibling publication, reports that last week, American Bar Association president Stephen Zack sent a letter to the President asking him to push the Indian government to drop its ban on foreign lawyers practicing or maintaining offices in the country.

Zack, a litigation partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner in Miami, wrote that U.S. lawyers and their firms were being unfairly treated in India and that further restrictions of foreign lawyers would undermine goal of increasing trade between the two countries, The NLJ reports. Zack said he does not expect a response from Obama until the president returns to the country next week.

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