Wednesday, April 21, 2010

C to Z of foreign law firm debate – everyone knows A, B

In this article we analyze the issue of liberalization of Indian Legal sector and the scope of Advocates Act 1961 (hereinafter referred to as ‘1961 Act’) in non-litigious matters. One important judgment, a recent case filed and some eye-opening realities will help our assessment of the entire situation.

Lawyers collective Judgment: - In 1995, a Writ Petition (W.P. No. 1526 of 1995) was filed in the Bombay High Court by the name Lawyers Collective vs. Chadbourne, Ashurst and White & Case. This petition was filed by Lawyers collective in public interest as according to them, the permission granted by Respondent no. 8 (Reserve Bank of India) to the Foreign Law Firms, namely Respondent no. 12 to 14 (White & case, Chadbourne & Parke and Ashurst Moriss Crisp) to open liaison offices in India, was totally illegal and in gross violation of the provisions of 1961 Act. The Petitioner (a society) concerned with the practice of legal profession and particularly concerned in ensuring that the ethical practice prevails in the legal profession in India, sought declaration from the court that the permission granted by RBI was bad in law and further that Foreign Law Firms cannot be permitted to carry on both litigious and non-litigious activities in India unless they are enrolled as advocates under the 1961 Act. The petitioner argued that the practice of law in India included the practice of non-litigious matters such as drafting documents, reviewing and providing comments on documents, conducting negotiations and advising clients on international standards and customary practice relating to the client’s transaction etc. and therefore Foreign Law Firms cannot be allowed to practice in non-litigious matters without enrolling under the 1961 Act.

The High Court Bench, comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice J.P. Devadhar, granting the prayer of Petitioner, held that the RBI did not have the authority to grant permission to these firms to carry on the practice of non-litigious matters, and also, that the practice of the profession of law, governed by the 1961 Act and the Rules of the Bar Council of India, includes the practice of non-litigious legal matters. Thus, "to practice in non-litigious matters in India, the Respondent Nos.12 to 14 were bound to follow the provisions contained in the 1961 Act." The court further held that the 1961 Act cannot be narrowly construed to be applicable only in litigious matter since in that case an advocate found guilty of misconduct in performing his duties while practicing in non-litigious matters cannot be punished under the 1961 Act. Similarly, where an advocate is debarred for professional misconduct can merrily carry on the practice in non-litigious matters on the ground that the 1961 Act is not applicable to the persons practicing the profession of law in non-litigious matters.

The above Judgment since then is deemed a precedent on the matter of entry of foreign law firms in India.

The Indian Legal Market and the Foreign Law Firms: - The Indian Legal Industry is estimated to be $800m worth. In the last two years the amount spent by India Inc. against charges and fees towards due diligence for mergers and acquisitions alone, is comparable to the GDP of a small country. India is fast emerging as legal supermarket and foreign law firms are keen to cash this opportunity. Apart from and other than advertising by organizing seminars on different international legal issues, below are some instances of the presence of foreign law firms:-

· Herbert Smith sponsored an essay writing competition in collaboration with Indian Law School,

· Clifford Chance had sponsored a moot court competition organized by the National Law School, Bangalore,

· Herbert Smith, Clifford Chance, Covington & Burling in the past few years shared their knowledge with law students by conducting short specialization courses,

· Linklaters financially supported setting up of new school near Delhi,

· There are about 38 ‘magic circle’ firms with their liaison offices or referral relationships with their Indian counterparts, while others strike up informal associations,

· Baker and McKenzie, have been amongst the most active law firms in India for the past two decades,

· Allen & Overy regularly advises on power projects, particularly in the oil & gas sector, acts for Indian banks, besides doing advisory work for corporate houses in India,

· CMS Cameron has advised the government of Orissa on privatization of the state electricity system,

· Denton Wilde Sapte’s Indian clients include Tata Electric and Gujarat State Energy Company,

· Linklaters represents clients in their disputes with the Maharashtra State Electricity Board,

· A large number of foreign accounting firms have already set up their offices and are clearly providing legal services in the area of Tax and Corporate Transactions,

· Indian law firms are reverse outsourcing high-end Patent application work to Foreign Law Firms in US,

· Allen & Overy sent their Singapore-based Capital Markets Partner, to allied firm, to boost its ailing capital markets practice,

· Linklaters and Clifford Chance have “best friend” alliances with Indian law firms and their managing partners stay in India for several months to improve integration.

So the Foreign Law Firms are already here.

The recently filed A. K. Balaji Case:- On 18th day of March 2010, one A. K. Balaji filed a writ petition W.P. No. 5614 of 2010, before the Madras High Court on the lines of the Lawyers Collective case (Supra). Respondent no. 9 to 40 are Foreign Law Firms, except Respondent No. 15 (Integreon) which is a Legal Process Outsourcing vendor. Other respondents include UK’s Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields and US law firms, WilmerHale and Shearman & Sterling. The Petitioner inter alia has alleged immigration law and 1961 Act violations. The Petitioner also claims that there is no true “reciprocity” as Indian Lawyers has to undergo cumbersome process, enormous conditions and restrictions and subjecting themselves to qualifying tests to practice law in US/UK whereas, to the contrary, Foreign Law Firms are silently capturing the Indian market through Unauthorized Practice of Law.

To wit:- While some contentions like Immigration law and 1961 Act violations are meritorious, I do not see any reason for LPO vendors to panic from the allegations raised against LPO companies in the petition. A managing partner of a magic circle firm coming to India on a tourist visa and conducting arbitration in hotel room is violation of 1961 Act and Immigration Act. The magic circle firm receives fees in its foreign account in a foreign location thus violating Income Tax and other Foreign Exchange Act. Clifford Chance had, in 1996 and 1997, advised foreign investors on English Law for the execution of certain power projects in India. The projects included the Bhadravathi Power Project, promoted by the Ispat Group, Electric de France and Alstom; Vizag Power Project promoted by the Machen Development and National Power; Ravva Oil Fields promoted by Cairn and Chase Manhattan and the Vemagiri Power Project promoted by GMR with investment from Avondale (Projects). The advisory work was undertaken by attorneys located outside India, and consequently, Clifford Chance's bills were raised and paid outside India. These issues need to be regulated if not restricted in the best possible manner taking the entire legal fraternity and governments of both countries in confidence. Since the matter is sub-judice I am hopeful that the court will do the needful.

Suffice it is to mention here that every country has body regulating unauthorized practice of law and both litigious and non-litigious matters are recognized as part of legal profession. To exemplify,

· The Court of Appeals of New York in the matter of New York County Lawyers Association (Roel) reported in 3 N.Y. 2D 224, inter alia held thus :-

“..........................Whether a person gives advice as to New York law, Federal law, the law of a sister State, or the law of a foreign country, he is giving legal advice. Likewise, when legal documents are prepared for a layman by a person in the business of preparing such documents, that person is practicing law whether the documents be prepared in conformity with law of New York or any other law. To hold otherwise would be to state that a member of the New York Bar only practices law when he deals with local law, a manifestly anomalous statement. .............................. As heretofore pointed out, the public is as liable to injury when an unlicensed person gives advice to an individual as to his legal rights under foreign law as it is with respect to his rights under domestic law. The State need not have separate examinations for those who will specialize in real estate law, patent law, mining law, foreign law, or any other law. There are many branches of the law that a Bar examination does not reach, but the test is a general one which all qualified applicants are required to take. And so all are equally subject to the same character qualifications. Thus it is not unreasonable to require that a person desiring to engage in the practice of foreign law be admitted to the Bar here and be subject to the same rules as every other member of the Bar of this State.”

· The Supreme Court of South Carolina in its opinion No.25757 reported in 2003 S.C. Lexis 293, inter alia held thus :-

“Based on the foregoing analysis, we hold that when nonlawyer title abstractors examine public records and then render an opinion as to the content of those records, they are engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. But if a licensed attorney reviews the title abstractor’s report and vouches for its legal sufficiency by signing the report, title abstractors would not be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.”

· In the case of Legal Practice Board V/s. Wilhelmus Van Der Zwaan reported in (2002) WASC 133, the Supreme Court of Western Australia, has held thus :-

“The expression “administration of law” in s 77 is to be read as meaning “the practice of law” or “the practice of the law”. The practice of the law includes the giving of legal advice and counsel to others as to their rights and obligations under the law, and the preparation of legal instruments by which legal rights are either obtained, secured or given away, although such matters may not then, or ever, be the subject of proceedings in a court. If the giving of such advice and performance of such services affect important rights of a person under the law, and if the reasonable protection of the rights and property of those advised and served requires that the person giving such advise possess legal skill and a knowledge of the law greater than that possessed by the average citizen, then the giving of such advice and the performance of such services by one for another as a course of conduct, constitutes the practice of the law. Where an instrument is to be shaped from a mass of facts and conditions, the legal effect of which must be carefully determined by a mind trained in the existing laws in order to ensure a specific result and to guard against others, more than the knowledge of the layman is required. A charge for such service brings it within the term “practice of the law”.”

The allegations raised against Legal Process Outsourcing vendors are however abysmal. LPO’s work on a module wherein they are not a law-firm and do not provide legal advice in any domestic or foreign jurisdiction. We train our peers not to get engaged in Unauthorized Practice of Law.

Monday, April 19, 2010

List of LPO (TPSP/Vendors) with offices in India

[Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in the table below, the information is provided for general disclosure purposes only, and author does not, and cannot, provide any warranty, guarantee or promise express or implied concerning the content, completeness, accuracy, currency or otherwise of any individual item of information provided below in the table. The below information is provided on the basis that all readers take responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. In case if the information is incomplete or you want to modify any part of it, please contact the author]

Below is a near-exhaustive list of LPO (TPSP/Vendors) with offices in India

Name of LPO


Services advertised in website







Acumen LPO

Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Tenessee (USA)

Intellectual property, Contract Drafting and Management, Litigation Support and Due Diligence, Legal Research and Analysis, Paralegal Services, Patent illustrations, Immigration Services and Bankruptcy Services

Adec Solutions


Adroit Legal services


Litigation Support, Contract review, Patent analysis and Research, Discovery and processing, Drafting and management, Legal Research, Regulatory and Compliance support and IPR registrations

Aeren LPO


Litigation Support, Legal Research, E-discovery and Document Review, Deposition Summaries, Contract Management, Legal Drafting and Transcription, Document Management, IP services, Corporate Due Diligence and Transfer Pricing Services

AllZone Management Solutions

Chennai, California, Florida

Litigation Support Services

ALMT Legal

Bangalore, Mumbai, London


Amatra LPO solutions


Paralegal, Legal Support, IPR services

Amity Legal Alliance




Chennai, Texas, Washington, New York

Document Review, Legal Staffing,

Aptara Corpn.


Artemis Legato Solutions

Hyderabad, London

Back Office Support, Legal Consultancy and Solutions, Legal Research of diverse and varying nature and Will Writing Service



Legal Representation, Legal Research and Analysis, Legal Transcription, Legal Drafting, Coding and Documentation and Paralegal Services


Bangalore, Dallas, Texas

E-discovery, Litigation Support

Barrasso Consulting

Acquired by Deloitte

Beryl Lexsol




Bodhi Global

Mumbai, New York, Pune

litigation support, contract review, drafting and management, corporate due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and legal and regulatory research

BPO Experts



Brain League

Bangalore, California

IP services

Breakthrough Technologies Pvt Ltd



Delhi, Massachusets





Hyderabad, New York, California



Chennai, New York

Litigation coding

Choir De Law


Corporate Legal Services, Litigation Support, Document Management, Publishing Solutions, Real Estate Solutions, Intellectual Property, Customized Documentation, Para-Legal & Corporate Secretarial


New Delhi

Intellectual Property, Contract Drafting Management and Review, Legal Transcription, Legal Research, Legal Publishing, Legal Translation, Trademark etc.

Clutch group

Bangalore, New York, Washington, Chicago, Cleveland

legal staffing, document review, contract management, compliance and legal research

Coalscent Technology


Cobra Legal Solutions LLC

Chennai, New York, Washington, Atlanta

Document Review and Management, Legal Research and Contract Management


Chennai, Oxford, Penssylvenia

Legal Publishing


NOIDA, Bhopal

Litigation Support, Contract Review and Management, Legal Transcription, Patent and Intellectual Property, Legal Research etc.



Litigation Support, Contract/Document Review, Corporate Due Diligence and Legal Research



Document Management, Contract Management, Deposition Summarization, Immigration Services etc.

CPA Global

NCR, Jersey, Sydney, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Hongkong, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, London, US,

IPR services, Document Review, Legal Research, Deposition Summaries, Litigation Documents, Contract Management


Hyderabad, Atlanta

Litigation Support, Document Review, Deposition Summary, Fact Research, Contract Management, Lease Management, Lease Abstraction, Contract Generation, Due Diligence, Intellectual Property etc.


Hyderabad, California

Patent Analytics and other IPR services

Draft n Craft

Delhi, London

Social Security Disability, Debt Collection, Deposition Summary, Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Litigation Support, Legal Transcription etc.

Dynamic Media Solutions Limited


E ValueServe

27 Offices

Intellectual Property, Legal Support Services etc.



legal research, legal writing, drafting and vetting of contracts including company incorporation documents, intellectual property related matters like patent search, patent drafting and trademark search and Tax Services

Edgesys software





Para-legal services, contract review, Background check, Intellectual Property, Litigation support and corporate compliances and governance

Epitome Ltd.


Evergreen Valley Law Group

Bangalore, San Jose

IPR Services


Mumbai, Washington

Case summaries and headnotes, Contract review, Knowledge bases, Litigation Support, Legal articles and pages, Online research, Patent research, Translations etc.


NOIDA and about 18 other locations worldwide

Contracts, Legal Research, Litigation Support and IPR Services

EZENLPO Services Pvt.Ltd


Document Drafting, Review and Management and Immigration Services



Litigation Coding

Fealty Legal Services Pvt. Ltd

Delhi, California

Patent Services, Intellectual Property Litigation and Transactional Support Services



Fox Mandal Little

Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Dhaka, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Noida, New Delhi, London and Pune


Fusion Legal


Globait Interaction Softech


Global India Law Group

Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad

Patents, Trademark, Copyright and Litigation Support Services

Global Resource & Support Center (GRSC)

Mumbai, Hoston

Legal Documentation

Hermes Networks Pvt.Ltd.


PERM,H-1B, O, L-1, J-1 & Student Visa's, Change of Status & Extension of Status, Labor Certifications, Permanent Residence/Green Card, Extraordinary Ability Petitions, Consular Processing, N-400 Citizenship, Checklists, cover letters & follow up



IDS Infotech Ltd.

Chandigarh, NOIDA, Mohali, USA, Netherland, London

Litigation Support, E-discovery, Legal Research etc.

India Juris

New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, New York




Information & Analytics

Website not fully operational

Infosys LPO

Around 52 offices

Contract Management Services, Document Review Services, Intellectual Property Services, Legal Research Services and Other Litigation and Administrative Support Services

Innodata Isogen Pvt. Ltd.

NOIDA, NYC, UK, France, Germany, Netherland, Israel

Legal Coding, Litigation Support, Case Mapping etc.

InnovarIP Consulting Group




Prior art services, Patent Analysis, Licensing Support, Patent Drafting and Trademark Search


US, UK, PAN India, South Africa, Philippines, China

Contract management, drafting, and review as well as due diligence and legal research and drafting, Document Review and Legal Transcription



Legal drafting, Legal auditing, Legal research, Due diligence and liaisoning, Trademark, Copyright, Patent and Legal Transcription

Intrust Global


Legal Brief Writing, Legal Analysis & Memo Drafting, Case Summaries, Legal Document Review and other Paralegal services, Legal transcription, Legal Claims Processing, Coding & Indexing of Documents, Legal Data Entry, Forms Processing, Early Case Assessment Document Review, Contract review, Deposition Summary and IPR related services


Mumbai, Hyderabad, New York, Los Angeles, Alabama

IPR Consultant


Trademark, Patent, Copyright etc.

IQ International E-service


ITAG Business Solutions Ltd

PAN India, 17 offshore offices

Patent, Trademarks, Design Copyright, Geographical Indication, Integrated Circuit Layout Design, IP Asset Management etc.


Kolkata, Florida

Legal Research, Document Review, Litigation Support, Contract Drafting Review and Management and Intellectual Property Support Patent & Trademarks

Just Pillars


Kaden Boriss



Kochhar Lexserve

PAN India, Atlanta

E-discovery, Litigation Support, Legal Research and Paralegal Services



Lapiz digital

Chennai, UK, US

Legal Coding



Pleading and drafting of various agreements, contracts, deeds, and other legal documents

Law Quantum




Litigation support, Legal research, Due diligence, Contract life cycle management and Paralegal Support



Drafting, Legal Research, Transcription IPR etc.


LA, NYC, Gurgaon

E-discovery and Document Review, IPR, Corporate Transactional, Legal Research and Support

Lawvie Legal Services Pvt. Ltd.

New Delhi, UK



Chennai, New York

Litigation Services, e-Discovery and Document Review, Litigation Support and Technology, Contract Management Services, Research Support, Legal Research, Patent Research



Drafting, IPR, Contract Review and Management, Legal Research

Legal Advantage


Legal Circle


Legal Ease

PAN India, Michigan

Legal Research, Litigation Support, Contract Drafting and Review

Legal Process Outsourcing Pvt. Ltd.

Delhi, Georgia

Document Review / Due Diligence, Legal Research and Intellectual Property Services

Legal Professionals-India


Legal Research and other Litigation Support Services

Legal source India


Legal World Wide Services



Delhi, New York, Zurich

Intellectual Property Management, Contract & Contract Management, Litigation Services, Research, Due Diligence and Corporate Secretarial





Document Management, Legal Research etc.

Lex artis



Gurgaon, US

Legal Research, E-discovery and Litigation Support, IPR, Contract Review Drafting and Management etc.




PAN India, Canada

Same as Kochhar Lexserve


Kolkata, US, UK

Legal Drafting, IPR, Document Review, Contract Review and Management





Legal research, Contract drafting, Litigation support services, Legal claim processing, Legal coding, Deposition summary etc.


Hyderabad, Virginia

IPR, Contract Drafting Review and management, Litigation Support, Document Management and Legal Research



Litigation support, Transaction support, IPR services, Legal research, Corporate secretarial, Regulatory & compliance support

Link Consulting

Delhi, US


Lotus Legal





LPO India


Intellectual Property Right Services, Para Legal Services, Litigation support, General Legal Research & Review, Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, Family Law, Contract Review, Amendments & Proofing

Manthan Legal

Bangalore, Florida, Vancouver

Document Review, Litigation support, Bankruptcy, Contract Review, Medico-legal Services etc.



Document Review, Legal Transcription, Contract review and management, Legal Research, Patent Search etc.

Microbridge Solutions Private Limited

Chandigarh, Texas, Canada, UK

Litigation Support, Legal Research, Legal transcription, Litigation Coding etc.


Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, Mumbai, Pune

Litigation Support, Contracts Management, Compliance and Legal Research, Legal Analytics, Real Estate

Mindsprings Solutions


Legal Research and Drafting, IP Services, Deposition Summaries, E-discovery, Litigation Support, Legal Transcription and Paralegal Services

Miracle Legal

New delhi




Contract Review, Legal Research etc.

New galaxy

Mumbai, Pune, London, Chicago

Legal risk management, Commercial contracts, Legal Due Diligence, Legal document synopses and database creation



Document Review, Document Management and Mergers and Acquisition related due diligence

Ntrust Infotech

Chennai, California

Lease abstraction and other related services

Office tiger

Acquired by DONNELLEY

Offshore Services To Lawyers

Gurgaon, Pennsylvania

Legal Research, Deposition Summary, Document review, IPR and Paralegal Services

Omniglobe International

Gurgaon, Maryland

Legal Documentation Services



Litigation Support, Contract Management, IP, Real-Estate, Legal Research



Legal Research, Brief Writing, Document Review, Memo writing, Mergers and Acquisitions etc.


Mumbai, New York

Contract Management & Abstraction, Contract Drafting & Revision, M&A Due Diligence, Patent & IP Litigation, E-Discovery, Document Review, Litigation Support, Legal Research etc.

Patent KPO Solutions



New delhi


Philips & Co.


Legal Transcription etc.



ProDigii Ecall Pvt. Ltd


Prodigy Infotech Chennai Pvt. Ltd.


Litigation Services

Prodigy Legal

Pune, New York

IPR, Contract Management, Litigation Support, Bankruptcy, Document Review, Legal Research etc.

Proleptic Datacentric Pvt. Ltd.


Quatrro Legal Solutions

Gurgaon, Florida and 11 other locations

Litigation Support, Contract Management, Intellectual Property, Legal Research, Bankruptcy etc.


Hyderabad, NY

Litigation Services, Antitrust, Contract Review and Management, Mergers & Acquisitions, Research, Real Estate

Raj Kishore Associates

Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore

Legal Coding, Legal Documentation, Legal Research, Generating standard formats of Pleadings, Complaints, Summons etc.,

Renuka Infocom

Delhi, San Diego, California


Research Dynamics




RVS Global


Sai Outsourcing Company

Cochin, Mumbai, Australia

Insurance process etc.

Scope E Knowledge

Chennai, London, Virginia, Japan, Belgium, Netherland

Patent Search

SDD Global

Mysore, NYC, London

Legal Research, Legal Drafting, Patent Services, Litigation Support etc.

Southsoft Solutions Pvt. Ltd


SQ Global

owned by Quislex


Delhi, Florida, Virginia, Japan, China

IP services

Suntech India


Legal Research, Contract Management, Litigation Support, Legal Transcription, Paralegal services etc.

Talwar & Talwar Consultants

Chandigarh, California

Patent Services, Legal Research, Litigation Support, Document Review, Deposition Summary, Contract and Paralegal Services


Prior Art Search, Patent Illustration, Legal Research




Mumbai, Chennai

Contract Drafting and Management, Document Review, Legal Research

True legal partners


Trustman & Co.

Tusker Group

Chennai, Bangalore, 7 US location

Document Review etc.


Bangalore, New Jersey

Business Law, Consumer Law, Criminal Law, Employment & Labor Law, Family Law, Immigration Law, Intellectual Property Law, Litigation Support, Legal Research


Gurgaon, Kansas, London, Israel

Intellectual Property, Contract Review and Management, Legal Research etc.

Valgen BP


Variante Global

Hyderabad, Pune, New York

Litigation Services, Intellectual property, Immigration

VEE technology

Bangalore, Chicago

Legal Research, E-discovery, Legal Motions / Legal Briefs, Contract Drafting /Contract Management Patent support etc.

Venkat's Law Zone



Verist Online




Verve communications

Pune, Dubai, London, Texas

Corporate Legal Services, Litigation Support, IPR etc.


Bangalore, Texas

IPR, Legal and Paralegal Services

White Forest


Wipro LPO

Delhi and about 90 other locations throughout world

Contract Management, Legal Support Services, Document Management, IPR


Mumbai, New York, Middlesex and 17 other locations

Property Law, Personal Injury Claims, Law Firm Back Office, Corporate Legal Support etc.

World Outsourcing Resource Center

Chandigarh, Delhi

Litigation Support, legal Research, Contract, patent etc.

Yantram BPO Services Pvt. Ltd.


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