NMIMS Kirit P. Mehta School of Law had the privilege to host Professor David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, and Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, as he delivered the GLEE India Book Talk, on 11 December 2017. The talk was conducted in Room number 501 of the NMIMS main building, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Professor Wilkins spoke about his book, “The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization”, which is an outcome of his project named “Globalization, Lawyers and Emerging Economies”, undertaken by the Centre on the Legal Profession (CLP), Harvard Law School. The event was also graced by Bryon Fong and Catherine Flynn, members of the CLP.
[Inset: Prof. David Wilkins with Dr. Paritosh Basu (Programme Chair: MBA-Law – NMIMS & In-charge Dean KPMSoL - NMIMS), Mr. Harshal Shah (Mentor, KPMSoL – NMIMS) and Mr. Rakesh Nambiar (Assistant Professor-KPMSoL)]
The event began with Assistant Professor Rakesh Nambiar delivering the opening address and an introductory speech about the guest and his book on the legal profession. Mr. Harshal Shah, Mentor of Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, NMIMS, then spoke about Professor Wilkins and shared few engaging anecdotes describing his experience as a student of Professor Wilkins while in Harvard Law School.
Professor Wilkins spoke extensively about the increasing growth of the Indian Legal Sector, especially after the liberalisation of the Indian economy in the 1990s. He emphasised on the growth and importance of the legal sector and profession in the emerging economies, which include Brazil, India, and China (BICs) to a very attentive audience.
[Inset: Students interacting with Prof. David Wilkins]
After Professor Wilkins completed his speech, the floor was opened to questions. Professor Wilkins elaborately dealt with the various questions that were asked by the enthusiastic students. The questions covered a wide range of topics, from the comparison between the Indian and Chinese legal sector, distinguishing between in-house legal departments and law firm jobs as career choices, to understanding the expanding presence of foreign law firms in India. While answering these questions, some noteworthy observations were made by Professor Wilkins. Whilst mentioning that the Chinese legal sector is facing some problems, Professor Wilkins said that the Indian legal sector can learn a lot from its Chinese counterpart. He also guided the audience regarding the nature of work as an in-house legal department advocate and a corporate law firm advocate. He also expressed his positive views on the growth of in-house legal departments in India and stated that there was no reason for Indian firms to worry about foreign law firms coming to India. The session ended with a vote of thanks proposed by Assistant Professor Shrikant Aithal.
This session thus provided a wonderful opportunity for the students to widen their perception of corporate legal practice in India and gain valuable insights from the expertise of Professor Wilkins.