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6 Emerging Legal Fields For New Lawyers

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By HemRaj Singh
27 Jun'22  10 min read
6 Emerging Legal Fields For New Lawyers

Did you know ‘Geographical Indications’ is an emerging and promising field in law in today’s times? If this just rang a bell and if you have been considering taking up law as career, this article shall acquaint you with some of the rapidly surfacing fields in law practice.

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6 Emerging Legal Fields For New Lawyers

Did you know ‘Geographical Indications’ is an emerging and promising field in law in today’s times? If this just rang a bell and if you have been considering taking up law as career, this article shall acquaint you with some of the rapidly surfacing fields in law practice.

Legal profession has significantly changed over the past decade or so with several new avenues having opened for the legal professionals entering practice, many of which areas do not revolve around litigation and do not require regular visits to the courts, which means it might sometimes feel like one was engaged in a regular corporate job without the stress and hassle of arguing cases before judicial forums, and that’s what some people might prefer. The recent developments in the legal profession, unlike earlier, make it possible for one to choose from a wider range of work lives, which presents a different kind of challenge because having too many choices, each better and worse in some respects than the other, is not easy. So let’s have a look at some of the new choices you might have, and what factors you might consider in deciding which way to go. It goes without saying that each option requires a certain kind of skill-set and every single one of them demands a great deal of hard work (such is the nature of the legal profession).

Also Read | Skills To Develop For Better Learning At Law College

Competition Law Or Anti-Trust Law

The focus of Competition Law or anti-trust laws is on ensuring healthy commercial competition among multiple business establishments and defeating the attempts to monopolise the market, which all business owners want to do without ending up on the wrong side of the law. This also means that at the receiving end of anti-trust laws are unfair trade practices aimed at rooting out competition and abuse of market dominance to prevent the entry of new players in the market.

The primary anti-trust law in India is the Competition Act of 2002 with the Competition Commission of India as the central regulatory body acting as a watchdog against all practices that tend to compromise free market. But commercial establishments constantly try to come up with new plans and strategies to either monopolise the market or maintain their monopolies through unfair trade practices, and such practices need to be constantly challenged before the Competition Commission or such other legal forums as might be available to the aggrieved party in a given case, for which they require the services of the legal professionals who are not only well-versed in relevant laws but also have sufficient understanding of how businesses and economies in general work.

This is a relatively new legal field, but is growing by leaps and bounds on account of expanding Indian marketplace, for in every arena of commercial activity, there are multiple players jostling for the same commercial space by offering better products and services at cheaper rates than the competition, and in doing that they tend to overstep the boundaries laid down by the law to preserve free-market economy and competitive space.

Mergers And Acquisitions

Spurred by the exponential growth of the multinational businesses, several of which are Indian and many more foreign, another the relatively new field of mergers and acquisitions emerged, which is fast becoming one of the preferred avenues for the legal professionals, particularly those who wish to make a career in the corporate law segment. This is one of those areas where legal practice does not involve going to the court all the often, for most of the work done by the lawyers is legal paperwork that forms the basis of the corporate expansion by way of acquisitions and mergers, requiring a sound understanding of the Companies Act and the modes and procedures of legal compliances required for the purpose. Furthermore, it is often required of the legal professional handling the paperwork for mergers and acquisitions to have an adequate understanding of anti-trust laws and the precautions to be taken so that the merger or the acquisition, as the case may be, does not fall afoul of the anti-trust laws. In addition, a lawyer specialising in mergers and acquisitions is also required to have an understanding of how Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 affect mergers and acquisitions.

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) keeps a close watch on the mergers and acquisitions of publicly traded companies, so it is important that the lawyers practicing in this area have sufficient training in compliances governed by the SEBI guidelines issued from time to time. Since this area of practice involves a fusion of business interests and transition from one business and administrative model to another, it’s useful if one is a patient and relentless negotiator apart from having a sound grip on the governing laws and regulations. One can have a flourishing career in this arena, for it’s a super-specialised niche and is very rewarding in terms of growth opportunities.

Goods And Services Tax (GST) Law Practice

With the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) by way of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act and the enactment of a bunch of legislations, including the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, the State Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017, there has been a fundamental shift in the indirect tax regime, under which there are multiple layers of taxation within a unified framework. While it might be a relatively simplified tax regime, but it is still fairly complicated for a normal businessman to find his or her way through the maze. So the assistance of tax professionals, lawyers and chartered accountants is frequently sought by small and big business owners, which is also because the GST regime requires frequent filing with the tax authorities. Large companies require a team of professionals to ensure that tax compliances are not left wanting and the companies are not burdened with heavy, avoidable penalties for regulatory non-compliance.

emerging legal technology, emerging area of law in india, what area of law should i practice, emerging areas of law, emerging areas of practiceGoods And Services Tax Law Is A Promising Field To Practise In

Geographical Indications

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) has been a flourishing field for legal professionals for quite some time. But for a long time law practice was confined to patents, copyright and trademarks issues, and then came the Designs Act of 2000, which added another dimension to the practice, and around the same time, in 1999, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 was enacted, which protects the rights of anybody — a person, a group of people, a commercial organisation — pertaining to the cultivation of any product at a particular geographical location. That simply means that only the oranges grown in Nagpur could be sold as “Nagpur oranges” and the sarees manufactured only in Benaras could be sold as “Benarsi sarees” because it is the geographical origin of these products that gave them their niche market and their high marketability. One can’t manufacture a saree in, say, Chandni Chowk and sell it as “Benarasi saree” next-door in Connaught Place even if it were indistinguishable from any genuine, made-in-Benaras “Benarsi saree” because such a practice involves active deception of the purchaser and also violates the commercial rights of the manufacturers of the genuine “Benarsi sarees” to profit from their produce. But since prohibition of an act alone does not suffice to end the practice, lawyers are required to ensure that wherever there is a breach, there is penalty as well as compensation, and that the compensation reaches those whose rights stand infringed.

This field has been a slow-mover compared to other IPR areas because most of the big corporations are mostly concerned with patent, copyright and trademarks. But ever since substantially large companies started packaging and selling products with commercial value and marketability centered around their geographic origin, the enforcement of the law protecting the commercial interests of the manufacturers of such products became part of running the business, and that gave a fillip to the law practice in this area. Litigation is certainly part of it but businesses engaged in the manufacture and trade of such products make all kinds of contractual arrangements to guard their commercial interests against encroachments, for which legal professionals are hired, retained and permanently employed.

Also Read | Things About Corporate Law Practice Aspiring Lawyers Should Know

Protection Of Plant Varieties And Farmers’ Rights

Development of new plant and seed varieties prevented the food crisis that could have set in on account of the growing population, and with new researches and innovations in the field everyday, the rights of both the scientists and the farmers working in the field need protection. The scientists and field researchers invest substantial time and effort to invent seeds and plant varieties to produce bigger and better agricultural yields and then farmers get down to the business of following the required production protocol to produce the yield of the intended quality and in the desired quantity. The rights of both the inventors and the growers are intended to be protected by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act, 2001.

Lawyers are required to enforce and protect these rights by approaching and obtaining required orders and approvals from the courts, forums and government bodies, and trade secrets are protected through multiple contracts among different parties, which are also negotiated, drafted and executed by the lawyers, ensuring that those who invent and produce to keep us fed do not go hungry, as might well be the case if their rights were not adequately protected and vigorously guarded. Law firms work to protect the individual and collective rights in the area and specialist lawyers having an in-depth understanding of the issues involved are always being looked for. It takes some experience and training to be capable of leading or even being a part of these legal battles that are worth fighting by all means, but the scope is immense and growing.

emerging legal technology, emerging area of law in india, what area of law should i practice, emerging areas of law, emerging areas of practiceLawyers Work To Protect The Individual Rights Of Farmers

Alternative Dispute Redressal

Alternative Dispute Redressal (ADR) mechanisms are a faster way of resolving the differences between competing parties outside the court through semi-formal, quasi-judicial proceedings such as mediation, conciliation and arbitration. While mediation and conciliation are aimed at arriving at a compromise solution through negotiations and conciliatory efforts mediated by an independent third party, arbitration is a quasi-judicial adjudicatory mechanism, the awards emanating from which are enforceable as a decree from a civil court through the same execution proceedings that are used to enforce a formal decree from a civil court of competent jurisdiction. The only difference is that the parties willingly submit themselves to the decision of an impartial arbitrator or arbitral tribunal constituting multiple members, and the arbitrator or the arbitral tribunal, as the case may be, makes an award after appreciating evidence led by all parties to the proceedings and hearing all sides involved. The award can be challenged in appeal before the court on very limited grounds. The process lightens the burden on the civil courts, which, in turn, speeds up the process of adjudication for the parties and that saves a great deal of time and expenses for all parties concerned. That’s not to say the process is cheap, but it’s relatively less expensive, especially when the time saved is factored in.

The list above is by no means exhaustive, but these are some of the most promising new areas that lawyers fresh out of law school might do well to explore.

Also Read | 9 Careers In Gender Studies You May Take Up

HemRaj Singh is a Delhi-based trial lawyer, specialising in both civil and criminal trials, and writes mainly on law, policy, diplomacy, and international relations. Apart from writing for magazines and websites, including Careers 360, practicing law and teaching Legal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning, he is Editor-at-Large with Lawyers Update, a monthly magazine on law and legal affairs, and was Legal Editor with Universal Law Publishing Company before he started practicing law.

  • Law
  • Government
  • Issues in ethics
  • Justice
  • Economy
  • Competition law
  • Goods and Services Tax (India)
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Mediation
  • Arbitral tribunal

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