On Dec. 11, Harvard Law School’s Program on the Legal Profession (PLP) and the Indian School of Business (ISB) co-hosted a major international conference on the future of corporate business in India and the role of the legal profession. The event was held at the ISB campus in Hyderabad, India.

The conference is part of a major PLP initiative titled “Globalization, Lawyers and Emerging Economies” (GLEE), which was launched in September 2011. This unprecedented research project brings together leading scholars, policymakers and practitioners from around the world to examine how economic liberalization and forces of globalization are reshaping the corporate legal profession in important emerging economies, such as India, China, and Brazil, and how these changes are in turn reshaping legal education, the delivery of legal services, and the rule of law.

Looking to build on the critical dialogue begun last year at PLP conferences in New Delhi and Cambridge, this year’s event brought together scholars, policymakers and practitioners from around the world to focus on the intersection of law and business in India’s corporate sector, and to examine the ways in which demand and regulation will shape the evolution of professional services in the coming decade.

Katherine Dhanani, consul general, US Consulate in Hyderabad

Along with Professor Sanjay Kallapur, senior associate dean at ISB, Professor David Wilkins ‘80, faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Program on the Legal Profession, and Katherine Dhanani, consul general of the US Consulate in Hyderabad, delivered the opening remarks at the event. Wilkins, who is also vice dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, said, “The conference was an incredible opportunity to connect with top leaders from law, business, and government. We leave with a number of terrific ideas and an even greater appreciation of India and its importance in the world. We look forward to continuing to work with the incredible students, faculty, and practicing lawyers that we met at ISB for many years to come.”

More than 300 people participated during the course of the day, making it one of the most well attended events in ISB’s history. Participants included legal services professionals from Hyderabad and Bangalore’s high-tech corporate communities and partners from many Indian law firms as well as CEOs, general counsels, and legal educators from across the country. There were also dozens of attendees from China, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. Brittany Brewer ’12, a PLP student empirical research grantee and a Harvard University Frederick Sheldon Fellow, also attended the event. According to Brewer, “The PLP conference in Hyderabad convened an impressive group of vanguards in the fields of business and law in India. The caliber of the conversations inspired me to incorporate more of a focus on the impact of globalization on Indian corporate law firms in my own research on women in the Indian legal profession.”

PLP Postdoctoral Research Fellow Mihaela Papa

In addition to a keynote address by Wilkins and remarks by Erik Ramanathan ‘96, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Program on the Legal Profession, two PLP research fellows led panel discussions. Dr. Mihaela Papa moderated a panel discussion on the “Future Market for Corporate Legal Services in India” and Dr. Pavan Mamidi LL.M. ‘95 moderated a panel on the “Demands of Globalization on Corporate Business in India.”

Following the Dec. 11 event, PLP hosted a two-day academic conference for law faculty from around the world where leading scholars presented research papers on core GLEE themes. Presenters included Wilkins, Papa, Mamidi and Professor Mark Wu, who presented on “The Rise of Indian Trade Remedies.” Papers from the conference will ultimately be compiled into an edited volume on the Indian legal profession.