We’ll confess: The rules for what international lawyers can and can’t do in India are confusing to us, in part because the situation there is fluid. So we read with interest this piece in The Australian Friday about a suit recently filed in the Indian high court in Madras seeking to ban foreign firms from practicing in India. Wait, we thought. Aren’t international firms already banned from practicing in India?
The answer is, basically, yes: As we reported in December, one of India’s highest courts had handed down what amounted to a ban on foreign lawyers from practicing any sort of law in the country. That decision extended a much earlier ban on firms opening physical offices in the country, a step only three firms (White & Case, Chadbourne & Parke and Ashurst) took in earnest. The December decision imperiled the more common practices of international firms striking informal alliances with Indian firms and international lawyers parachuting into the country to give quickie M&A advice or hold seminars, according to our reporting and the blog Legally India.
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