While the Indian legal market has not yet been liberalised to allow overseas lawyers to work in the industry, it is just a matter of time and Australians can position themselves so they're first on the scene, writes Maciek Motylinski
India as a protected market does not offer any work opportunities for overseas qualified lawyers as yet, aside from internships which have been on offer with firms such as Fox Mandal Little.
However, with its ascension to the World Trade Organisation it is just a matter of time before the market opens and international firms position themselves firmly in Delhi and Mumbai. Many have already done so, with their capital markets practices run out of Hong Kong and Singapore and informal alliances with the leading local firms.
India will create significant opportunities as the economy and financial systems develop further and integrate with the global markets along international business lines.
Business Process Outsourcing is a rapidly growing market in India and this has expanded into Legal Process Outsourcing, although it is hard to see why any Western-trained lawyer would be suitable, merely on cost and quality of work, unless they were acting in a senior managerial capacity.
With a government funding pipeline of billions of dollars for major infrastructure development projects, lawyers and those with experience in the telco, technology and infrastructure sectors will be well placed to capitalise.
Those lawyers looking to have a long-term Indian focus should look to secure roles in Hong Kong or Singapore with UK or US law firms that have dedicated Indian law practices to position themselves for the future liberalisation.
Maciek Motylinski is the associate director at EA International
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