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Govt discussing with legal community to allow foreign firms
August, 29th 2007
The government is in discussion with the legal community on a proposal for allowing international legal firms in India.

"We are consulting the bar council. They (bar council) are going to have a joint meeting of the bar councils throughout the country. They want a month's time to decide about it," Law Minister Bhardwaj said after inaugurating a law firm's office here yesterday.

The domestic legal community, including the Bar Council, has been opposed to opening the legal profession to foreign players, but the government has been mooting the idea over some period of time now.

"On the other side, the Joint Working Group is also working on it. After the Limited Liability (Partnership) Law (LLP) is passed, we will take a decision. We hope by the end of the year, everything will be decided", Bhardwaj said.

The proposed LLP bill allows foreign nationals to enter into limited liability partnerships, provided at least one partner should be resident of India.

Such partnerships can be formed for any trade, profession or occupation. The bill also seeks to allow LLPs established abroad to operate and conduct business in India.

According to some estimates, opening of the legal sector would help government tap the global legal outsourcing market, whose worth is as much as $265 billion.

Also, nearly 79,000 law graduates could be absorbed to provide legal services if the sector is opened up to foreign firms, whereas at present, the absorption is mere 12,000, according to a study by Forrester Research.
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