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Page 8

International Markets

Australia liberal land of opportunity

The legal services sector in Australia is forecast to generate over $23bn in the 2010–11 financial year. This number represents an increase of 2.9% above 2009-10 levels and continues a trend of steady growth over the last five years (source: IBISWorld: Legal Services in Australia 2010).

Today, Australia has what can only be described as an ‘open market’ for legal services. In fact, Australia has one of the most liberalised legal services markets in the world for the practice of foreign and international law and transparent guidelines for admission to local practice by foreign qualified lawyers.

Foreign lawyers have a right to practise on a fly-in/fly-out basis for an aggregate of 90 days in any 12-month period without registration. Alternatively, a foreign lawyer can register to practise foreign law as a sole practitioner, as part of a foreign law firm, or in a commercial association with local practitioners.

Australia’s open market has also unearthed a raft of future opportunities not only within Australia, but also in the Asia-Pacific region.

The global demand for resources from countries including China and India offers Australia – abundant in its minerals, coal and natural gas – a great opportunity to create strategic linkages, especially in the legal services market. Lawyers with a strong grounding in mining, procurement, construction and commercial arbitration are in huge demand as a result of the resources boom.

Overall, Australia’s market, while mature, has experienced strong growth and continues to provide new opportunities for ambitious lawyers.

Glenn Ferguson is president of the Law Council of Australia

 Mexico matters

To those who are familiar with Mexico’s profound structural changes and transformation of the last 25 years, it does not come as a surprise that Mexico is one of the most dynamic economies in the world. We now constantly read and hear of the importance of Latin America as a region and Mexico is a major part of this story.

Mexico promotes regional growth and transformation by being the second largest economy in Latin America and a pioneer of trade liberalisation. Mexico committed to trade integration in the 1990s and its trade policy is among the most open in the world.

Mexico has free trade agreements with 43 countries and is well positioned to take advantage of its strategic location as the gateway of trade, investment and commerce between Europe and Asia, and within North and Latin America.

Political stability is now something we are used to, and the democratic reforms implemented in the last 25 years have meant that Mexico’s transition to democracy has been peaceful and orderly.

The privatisation of the Mexican pension system in 1996 was critical to our economic stability. The pension system now has under management over US$100bn of mandatory savings of Mexican employees and recent legal reforms allow investing such funds in infrastructure and private equity projects.

Fiscal discipline and the full autonomy of Mexico’s central bank have given stability to the Mexican Peso and we now see Mexican ‘multilatinas’ expanding internationally to North and Latin America with a growing appetite for opportunities across the world.

Coupled with its, art, cuisine, music and lively traditions, Mexico has always mattered and now matters more than ever.

Yves Hayaux-Du-Tilly Laborde is a partner

in the London office of Mexican firm, Jáuregui, ­Navarrete y Nader


India Keeping the faith

Even though there may be lingering doubts about India’s capacity to realise its full potential, the immediate opportunities in India are by no means small. India’s rapid growth has translated into demand for products and services such as roads, buildings, power and communications infrastructure. These demands and the recent mainstreaming of India among the international nuclear powers offers space for transaction in these sectors, where little legal expertise is available within the country.

Weak governance has meant slow change in policies and even slower implementation. Progress is uneven and can be exasperating. Lawyers are being presented with the opportunity of advising on policy making and lobbying for positive change. Until recently there was hardly any mention of public policy advisory practice, a gap that was being filled by NGOs and educational institutions. In fact, the West can contribute to detoxifying the system of corrupt practices by highlighting and delimiting the space of professional lobbying and policy advocacy.

Another key sector that has emerged in the present decade is the LPO sector, where a growing number of newly qualified lawyers often educated at British or American universities are being inducted. These lawyers are capable of doing more complex work than the document review and proofreading that currently forms the bulk of legal outsourcing. However, it may take some time for India to move up the value chain. Thus, more and more Indian law firms and legal process outsourcing outfits have been attracting many American and British lawyers. This has created a win-win situation for all. On the one hand these lawyers benefit by having India on their CV, giving them the multi-cultural dimension, which could help them in future, but it is also good for Indian lawyers as they benefit from global mentoring and guidance. With the continuing improvement in education and training of lawyers, the legal services sector has geared itself up to facilitate India’s journey to establishing its leadership in the global economy.

Meenu Chandra is a senior associate at New Delhi-based firm Adyopant Legal ­Services

Legal Services Directory 2011

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