By James P. Duffy, III
From February 13 – 15, 2014, the India Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law participated in the holding of a historic Conference in New Delhi, India, entitled “Threading the Needle in U.S. India Deals: Safe Passage through Formidable Legal Risk.” The Society of Indian Law Firms and the Services Export Counsel played leading roles in the presentation of this most important Conference. Dr. LalitBhasin, Erik Wulff, and James P. Duffy, III, where the Convenors of the Conference. This was the Section of International Law’s second conference in India, the first being in Mumbai in January 2012. These two conferences grew out of a historic ABA ILEX delegation to India in 2009 and reflect the ABA’s continuing growing interest in India.
While it is not possible in this brief article to name all of the people from the United States and from India, who worked tirelessly to make the Conference a great success, RichaNaujoks, Sajai Singh, Kaviraj Singh, and ShikhilSuri deserve special mention as does Judge Sanjay Tailor. Similarly, it is not possible to name all of the many important Indian legal personalities who spoke at the Conference, but notable participants included Gopal Subramanium, FaliNariman, and Ram Jethmalani among others. Notable participants from the United States included Laurel Bellows, Immediate past President of the American Bar Association and William T. Robertson, III, another recent past President of the American Bar Association as well as Section of International Law Chair Elect Marcelo Bombau.
The Conference began on Thursday evening, February 13, 2014, at the Lalit Hotel in New Delhi with opening remarks from a number of personalities, including, Mr. P.H. Parekh, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association in India, Mr. Manan Mishra, the Chairman of the Bar Council of India (the regulatory body for lawyers in India), and Mr.KapilSibal, the then Minister for Law and Justice. Cocktails were served during the opening session and remarks and an extensive dinner followed. This was the first of many important networking opportunities that were available throughout the Conference.
The following two days, namely, Friday and Saturday, February 14 and 15, 2014, respectively, took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Delhi and 17 substantive legal programs were presented on a wide variety of legal topics that were germane to the theme of the Conference. While space does not permit the listing of the titles of each of the 17 programs, there were several programs on various aspects of the new Company’s Act, as well as programs on cyber security, listing of Indian companies on US exchanges, taxation, intellectual property, bilateral trade, arbitration, commercial aviation and wealth transfer, to mention but a few of the topics covered. The final plenary session dealt with increasing opportunities for young lawyers in India.
The program schedule included numerous networking breaks on Friday and Saturday as well as formal lunch sessions that were designed to foster networking and interchange among the US and Indian participants. There was also a formal reception and dinner on Friday evening for the same purpose. The Conference ended with “High Tea” late in the afternoon on Saturday, which was a further networking opportunity for Conference participants. These networking opportunities proved to be invaluable in enabling lawyers from the US and India to network and exchange their views as well as develop friendships and relationships.
The participants numbered about 150, and consensus of all involved was that the Conference was a huge success and more than accomplished the purposes for which the Conference wasconvened.
In view of the obvious success of the Conference, the India Committee would like to make this a biannual event and build upon these activities going forward with a view towards increasing understanding and awareness of important trade, business, and other issues that will confront US and Indian lawyers as the two countries expand their relationships and do more business and commerce together.
Now that the India Committee has participated in the running of two very successful meetings in India, it has acquired a considerable amount of expertise related to running a successful meeting in India. The India committee intends to build upon this expertise as it works more closely with its Indian colleagues on future meetings.
James P. Duffy, III, was a Co-Convenor of the February 2014 conference in New Delhi entitled “Threading the Needle in US India Deals: Safe Passage through Formidable Legal Risk.” Mr. Duffy is a founder and senior partner of the firm Berg & Duffy, LLP in New York City. He specializes in international banking and finance, international commercial law, taxation, finance and securities, international estate planning, intellectual property and issues involving the First Amendment of the United States Consitution. He is a member of the India Committee of the Section for International Law of the American Bar Association and a founding member, past Chair, and permanent member of the Executive Committee of the International Law and Practice Section of the New York State Bar Association. He currently serves as one of the Section’s representatives to the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org