Indo-American Chamber of Commerce hosts first ever India-US Legal Services Summit in New Delhi

The summit is an initiative dedicated to fostering collaboration on corporate and legal issues between the two nations.
India-USA legal services summit
India-USA legal services summit

The first ever India-US Legal Services Summit organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) commenced on Monday at the Lalit, New Delhi.

The summit is an initiative dedicated to fostering collaboration on corporate and legal issues between the two nations.

Attorney General (AG) for India R Venkataramani and Solicitor General (SG) of India Tushar Mehta were among those present at the inaugural session of the summit.

Additional Secretary of the Union Law Ministry's Legislative Department Dr Manoj Kumar; National President of IACC Pankaj Bohra; American Bar Association (ABA) South Asia/Oceania and India Committee Chairperson Pratibha Jain; Accenture Managing Director-Legal Rajiv Chopra; Executive Chairman of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co Shardul Shroff; and Lazare Potter Giacovas & Moyle LLP Partner Jaipat Jain were also present.

In the welcome address, Dr Lalit Bhasin, Chairman of the IACC National Committee on Legal Services and President of the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) emphasized that the summit on Indo-US Cooperation on Corporate and Legal Issues was significant as legal professionals of the two countries would discuss contemporaneous developments not only in the two countries, but also globally.

"India and the US have a very responsible role to play for the promotion of the economic well-being of their respective citizens and this can only be achieved by sharing ideas, concepts, and knowledge. The summit promises to enrich our quest for knowing the fast-changing favourable dynamics of the economic relations between the two countries," he said.

Shardul Shroff in his keynote address highlighted the need for engagement between the two countries in terms of sustainability and actions to curb climate change.

Pratibha Jain said that although both the US and India give significance to pluralism and diversity, there is need to have a greater number of women holding top offices in India in the private sector.

"I would like to mention one aspect of diversity that requires greater attention and even greater work for the years to come. This is about the status of women and the overall role of women in positions of leadership and decision making in the private sector. While we have come a long way in breaking many barriers that historically discriminated against women in positions of power and responsibility, there is still a lot of work to be done."

Jain highlighted that while the participation of women in the workforce in India has increased to 37% in 2023 as per the Ministry of Women and Child Development, it is still one of the lowest in the world.

"The boards of various companies and corporations have very little representation as far as women are concerned. The power of decision making to a large extent unfortunately still remains with men, in the Indian context," she added.

The IACC could play a significant role in creating a level playing field so as to build a greater degree of awareness, sensitivity and an enlightened approach towards promoting diversity, she concluded.

AG Venkataramani called for setting up an Indo-US comparative and collaborative law platform in a bid to create vibrant exchange platforms in the domains of law and justice. He said that there is a need for global legal knowledge and resources.

He was of the view that Indians have been playing a significant role in the American economy and also have taken up major roles in the country's legal sector.

"Indians occupying important positions in the legal field is a great story. Alongside, we must create more enduring and vibrant exchange platforms in the domains of law and justice. An Indo-US comparative and collaborative law platform can be visualized," he said.

SG Tushar Mehta urged the IACC and the gathering to contemplate on setting up a permanent mechanism which investors and businesses of both the countries can approach for legal help and consultation in terms of investments both in India and the US.

"IACC started somewhere in the late 60s essentially by the industrialists who were leading the industries of the day. It appears that thereafter the lawyers were also involved in the process, but today also the role of lawyers in this IACC may not be as formal as it should have been. My suggestion is that it should be more formal and something should be done to ensure that there is a permanent mechanism under which both countries in terms of investment, business opportunities etc. can get legal advice from one particular center specially designated by IACC," he said.

SG Tushar Mehta
SG Tushar Mehta

Talking of the significance of rule of law both in India and the US, Dr Manoj Kumar said,

"The rule of law forms part of the backbone of the legal systems and governance frameworks in both countries. Firm constitutional foundation, independent judiciary, equality before law, ease of access of justice, a robust human rights guarantees form the bedrock of the rule of law frameworks in both the countries."

He noted that the challenges regarding development goals in both the economies require constant engagement to drive a global sustainable and a globally prosperous environment.

Dr Manoj Kumar
Dr Manoj Kumar
Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news