Emerging Areas in Law and Building a Successful Legal Career | Overview
- Competition or Anti-trust Law
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Information Technology and Cyber-security Law
- Insolvency and Bankruptcy Law
- Goods and Services Tax (GST) Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
In this article Prof. (Dr.) Yogendra Shrivastava talks about the emerging areas in law and how to build a successful legal career.
Legal practice is not what it was used to be. The legal profession has grown and expanded in many dimensions and has become extremely competitive and highly lucrative in contemporary times. With rapid industrialization, globalization, and liberalization of the economy, the law has also evolved and presents a law student with ample opportunities in many new areas which will be discussed crisply in this article.
Choosing the path of law is just the start of your career. Your journey will present you with many choices and making the right one can be a challenging task. With the right guidance and support, you can make the right choices and become a responsible legal professional who is an asset to society. Becoming a successful and revered lawyer is not a simple job. It requires years of rigorous training as it is crucial to develop one’s personality in a comprehensive manner.
The skill-set of any good lawyer constitutes of communication skills, analytical and reasoning skills, argumentation skills, and research skills. In addition, a lawyer must be a hard-working, honest, compassionate, and ethical individual with a fine eye to grasp the nuances of the law and the ability to work the facts of the case in his/her favour.
Let us look at some of the booming avenues of law which the students can explore with respect to their careers:
Competition or Anti-trust Law
Mergers and Acquisitions
With the exponential growth and expansion of many multi-national businesses, mergers and acquisitions have become a common practice. M&A is a critical aspect of business and is regulated by various statutes I.e. Companies Act, 2013 Competition Act, 2002 read with the Competition Commission of India (Procedure in regard to the transaction of business relating to combinations) Regulations, 2011, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
Moreover, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 keep track of mergers and takeover of publicly traded companies Therefore, leading corporations require trained corporate lawyers to oversee their mergers and acquisitions in order to best safeguard their business interests. It is an interesting area of practice and requires training in the area of negotiation, settlement, and persuasion. It is also an extremely lucrative domain of law practice.
Information Technology and Cyber-security Law
We are living in a day and age where a significant portion of human activities, especially monetary transactions and communications, happen on the internet. With the world getting digital and connected through the internet, various legal issues relating to cyber-security, data-privacy, data-theft, identity-theft, cyber-bullying, etc., have emerged drastically and posed a grave threat. The threat looms on both government as well as the private sector alike and they require certified and trained legal experts in the field. India, right now, only has the Information Technology Act, 2000 that governs the issues related to computer and internet activities.
A Personal Data Protection Bill was introduced in the Parliament but has not been passed yet. Thus, it can fairly be asserted that practice in the field of cyberlaw and cyber-security is an extremely exciting and challenging endeavour. Surely, it can also prove to be a fruitful one as it has tremendous prospects in the upcoming future.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Law
Indian government consolidated the laws relating to insolvency and bankruptcy in 2016 and enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) because it was necessitated due to huge pile-up of non-performing loans of banks and delay in debt resolution. IBC applies to companies, partnerships, and individuals. It provides for a time-bound process to resolve insolvency. When a default in repayment occurs, creditors gain control over the debtor’s assets and must make decisions to resolve insolvency.
Under IBC debtor and creditor both can start ‘recovery’ proceedings against each other. It is a complex code that requires a comprehensive understanding. Insolvency professionals and corporate lawyers have immense opportunities to broaden their horizons and enhance their income through practice in insolvency and bankruptcy law.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) Law
In 2016, after a long parliamentary journey, the entire indirect tax regime of India went through a paradigm shift when all kinds of indirect taxes were merged into Goods and Services Tax through the 101st Constitutional Amendment. GST Law comprises of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 including Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Act, 2017, the State Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 as notified by respective States, the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 including Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir Act, 2017), and the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017.
Tax professionals, chartered accountants, and lawyers across the country have been engaged in understanding this multi-levelled yet uniform tax system. Big companies require professionals who can assist them with their GST liabilities. From the point of view of career prospects, practicing in the area of GST can be very advantageous as it is a complex and emerging domain.
Intellectual Property Law
With the rapid globalization and opening up of the Indian economy, “Intellectual Capital” has become one of the key wealth drivers in the present international trade. Intellectual property rights have become significantly conspicuous on the legal horizon of India both in terms of new statutes and judicial pronouncements. India ratified the agreement for establishing the World Trade Organization (the “WTO”), which contains the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Indian Statutes, enforcement provisions, and methods of dispute resolution with respect to intellectual property (IP) protection are now fully TRIPS-compliant.
India has a significant framework to protect various kinds of intellectual property rights I.e. Patents Act, 1970 protects the right of an inventor to commercially exploit his new invention (such as new technology), Trade Marks Act, 1999 protects the right of a proprietor to market his goods and services (logos of various companies), Copyright Act, 1957 protects the right of an author of creative work (such as painting, song, poem, story, etc.), Designs Act, 2000 protects the visual design of a product (such as the design of a bottle, shoe, etc.),
Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 protects the right of a person or a community in relation to a product being made or cultivated at a specific location (such as Nagpur oranges, Banarsi saree, Darjeeling tea, etc.), Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000 protects the rights of a developer of electronic chips inside the devices like laptops, tablets, phones, etc.,
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act, 2001 protects the rights of plant breeders and farmers who develop new plant varieties and seeds. Apart from this, trade secrets are also protected through contracts though there is no separate legislation granting them protection. Legal issues relating to IPR have been rising. Both litigation and settlement of IPR disputes require trained professionals. Intellectual Property law is an exciting and developing field and being an intellectual property lawyer is an adventurous and fulfilling venture.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The concept of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism is capable of providing a substitute to the conventional methods of resolving disputes. ADR offers to resolve all types of matters including civil, commercial, industrial and family, etc., where people are not being able to start any type of negotiation and reach the settlement. Generally, ADR uses a neutral third party who helps the parties to communicate, discuss the differences and resolve the dispute. To deal with the situation of overburdened courts of India, ADR plays a significant role in India by its diverse techniques.
Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism provides scientifically developed techniques to the Indian judiciary which helps in reducing the burden on the courts. ADR provides various modes of settlement including, arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation (through Lok Adalats as well). ADR Is a great and lucrative avenue for lawyers to be successful as big organizations and corporate houses usually prefer to settle their commercial disputes without the hassle of prolonged litigation.