Removing the shackles

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The Bar Council of India should recognize that advertising and online technology may be used as a weapon for good, writes Ravi Shah at Tate & Lyle Sugars

The Bar Council of India (BCI), which is the regulatory body for India’s legal profession, does not allow Indian lawyers to solicit work or advertise either directly or indirectly on any media. These rules were amended a few years ago in order to allow law firms to publish basic information, such as their names, contact details and areas of practice, on their websites. However, any further information published online would still amount to advertising and soliciting work and thus would be perceived as a violation of the rules.

Ravi Shah
Ravi Shah

Regulators of the legal profession in other jurisdictions appear less restrictive about advertising, and in some instances have actually paved the way for the formation of new management structures to free the profession from its old shackles and promote growth. For example, the Law Society of England and Wales has permitted the setup of alternative business structures, easing rules on the hire of non-lawyer partners and allowing non-lawyers to have some form of ownership through investing in a law firm.

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Ravi Shah is a dual UK/India qualified lawyer and a legal adviser at Tate & Lyle Sugars. He can be contacted at [email protected] The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the position of the company.