This article was first published in the Lex Witness August 2017 issue.
The country is going through a sea of change in terms of governance, laws and regulatory environs. This has not only changed the current business synergies but has also brought in new scopes and opportunities inevitably leading to opening up or increase in business opportunities in certain sectors and industries and therefore a spike in allied practice sectors like transactional, IPR, tax related or dispute resolution.
Here are 3 such practice areas that are new and trending right now in the Indian legal space:
Film Funding – The film fraternity has started experiencing the adoption of structured methods of financing a film. Our very own Bollywood is becoming more transparent and vouches for accountability. In the past, most contractual agreements in the Indian cinema world were verbal, and hence rarely enforceable in a court of law. This created major legal hassles in cases of disputes, as the practice of not entering into well-defined and structured agreements often resulted in a great deal of complications and disputes. However, now the practice is gradually changing, and there is now an increasing need for professionalism amongst all the players in the industry. Now, instead of informal handshake arrangements, there are more formal legal agreements. This is just an indication of the emerging trend amongst filmmakers in India, who are realizing the importance of adopting international practices, and hence attracting global funds along with enticing more Indian prospects.
A few years back, Business Standard reported about Third Eye Cinema Fund (TCEF), a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) registered alternative investment fund, set to hit the market. TCEF, which will target well-heeled investors, aims to generate about 25 per cent returns.
Many such professional film funding enterprises now exist, and so do streamlined legal practices, wherein lawyers advise their clients – either the funds or the film makers on the legal intricacies of the business.
Sports Law – At a time when sports is turning into an industry sector in itself, the stakes are becoming higher than ever, dispute resolution takes on an increasingly important role. Whether it’s about regulating the associations and clubs, or the teams, players, investors and advertisers; sports law is becoming a thriving practice in India. Although the laws are not extremely clear and streamlines in the field of sports, lawyers specializing in this sector practice, showcase the industry specific knowledge and most importantly network across the different sports and regulatory bodies in the country.
Sports Arbitration has become an emerging practice, with arbitration centers located close to India offering certifications and courses in Sports Law Arbitration to be specific. With the interest in sports growing beyond just cricket, it will interesting to see how this practice of law across the various sports verticals and stakeholders.
Space Law – In an article titled ‘Why India Needs a Space Law’, published on June 17th 2017, the leading newspaper Hindu writes India is today at par with giants such as the United States and Russia. This fact raises only a natural presumption that India must be equalizing with these nations at providing sufficient state laws to regulate this field. Besides, the rate at which India continues to etch its name in the frontiers of space innovations and technological know-how only heightens such a presupposition. Unfortunately, this natural corollary does not hold true. While many nations, such as Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa and Ukraine, though not established space technology tycoons, have carefully cemented their legal framework, India is devoid of national space laws.
But there is hope. With substantial FDI being allowed by the Government in the Space sector, more structured laws rather than relying on a few international agreements and treaties are now in the works. The same Hindu article also notes that, Out of the five United Nations treaties relating to activities in outer space, India has ratified four and signed one. The only legal regime governing the space industry in India is determined by the Constitution of India, 1950, the Satellite Communications Policy, 2000 and the revised Remote Sensing Data Policy, 2011. While Article 51 and Article 73 of the Constitution foster respect for international law and treaty obligations (in consonance with the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, 1968), and strives for the promotion of international peace and security, the policies merely sketch-out what the government wishes to do, with no legal obligation attached to them.
However, with Space Law centers being set up in collaboration with legal authorities in Indian law schools, and subjects related to Space Law being given more attention, it is pertinent that the practice is set to sore heights in the coming years.
Are You Ready?
In a competitive market like today, if you are thinking of standing out, it is always a good idea to become a front runner in one’s practice. In the context of the above mentioned practice, if you are currently advising on these laws or plan to specialize in them, ensure that you do not miss out on the branding scopes. While emerging, use the opportunity to consult a branding professional and explore the different ways to create your brand and make yourself known!
I am the Principal Consultant at the Lex Witness Strategic Counsel Desk, an invitation based initiative, which caters to various entities who seek to create and improve their brand and undertake market activation strategies in the Indian legal market space. Much beyond the space of the magazine, the Strategic Counsel Desk aspires to provide a holistic framework for the firm’s positioning and business growth, primarily focusing on the strength in the Indian legal industry.