On a recent visit to India, UK’s Minister for Courts and Legal Aids, Sailesh Vara, urged India to open up its legal services sector. His pitch comes at a time when Indian companies are increasingly involved in transnational deals and the inherent complexity of business laws such as those related to the allocation of the 3G spectrum demand niche expertise. Also, this would raise the professional standards of Indian firms, grooming Indian lawyers to be global leaders.

In this context, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) selection of Chennai’s business lawyer, Jeevanandham Rajagopal, as a Business Law Ambassador for its Business Law Section, is an opportune development. The ABA is reaching out to lawyers of different backgrounds as part of its Leadership Diversity Outreach Programme.

Jeeva says, “Personally, it is an important milestone to be recognised as a potential leader within the ABA-BLS. This also highlights the growing importance of the Indian perspective to international business and law.”

He is optimistic about the collaborations and synergies that this opportunity could bring. “I hope to build and strengthen the bridge between the American and Indian bar associations, especially with a focus on international law and business matters. One key objective would be to encourage the building of quality within Indian bar associations,” he says.

A Fulbright scholar and co-chair of the International Committee of Young Lawyers, Jeeva asserts the need to build an extensive support system to sustain entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurial culture should be nurtured and celebrated,” he says. He sees a strong need for “socio-economic, legal and governmental support for entrepreneurship, coupled with industry support and encouragement,” to ensure the success of entrepreneurial ventures.

He has helped many start-ups navigate daunting and lengthy legal processes and ensure compliance with laws.

Law and its perception can be very different and the latter can have serious consequences that laws per se don’t intend. The opaqueness of laws and policy paralysis have dealt India Inc multiple blows.

However, he remains optimistic about the future. “The new government, which has obtained the mandate based on being business-friendly, should act to remove the opaqueness, only then the investment climate will improve and the actual potential of the country realised. There are some steps being taken in the right direction, yet we have miles to go.”

But the hope is that lawyers like Jeeva will bring their global experience and expertise to the table and raise the ‘bar’ of the Indian legal system.