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Ashima Ohri

A business economist, lawyer, and writer.

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Exclusive: BW Legal World In Conversation with Mohit Saraf On Future of Legal Practice, Economy, and Life In Pandemic

In an exclusive sharp-witted and well-rounded interview with Ashima Ohri, Managing Editor of BW Legal World—distinguished corporate lawyer; one who has also been awarded the ‘Shaurya Chakra’ a national peacetime gallantry award, Founder & Managing Partner of Saraf and Partners, Mr Mohit Saraf shares India's Legal System needs to become an enabler of deals for India to reach a $10 Trillion Economy.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS: 

In an exclusive sharp-witted and well-rounded interview with Ashima Ohri, Managing Editor of BW Legal World—distinguished corporate lawyer; one who has also been awarded the ‘Shaurya Chakra’ a national peacetime gallantry award, Founder & Managing Partner of Saraf and Partners, Mr Mohit Saraf shares India's Legal System needs to become an enabler of deals for India to reach a $10 Trillion Economy. 

Mr Saraf has over 25 years of experience across sectors & industries and on being asked about how the journey to becoming one of the most formidable lawyers in the country has been for him, he remarks: 

“It has been a very exciting journey.” 

When Mr Saraf started his practice in the early 90s, he was not only the first generation of lawyers in the family, but he was also the first generation of corporate lawyers in the country.  

Saraf recounts how foreign lawyers were flown into the country to do corporate transactions and deals as only litigating lawyers were mainstream in India back then and an Indian corporate lawyer’s role was limited to providing legal support for getting the permits and clearances. 

However, Saraf was one of the few International Counsels that India had back in the day and travelled to Wuhan, China as an International Counsel where he spent nearly 100 days as an integral part of a deal. 

How long before India becomes a $10 trillion dollar economy and what needs to change in the Indian Legal Ecosystem to sustain and spur that growth? 

Saraf states the Indian legal system needs to become an enabler of deals and businesses. The business laws in India are very prescriptive and draws an analogy between an individual visiting a doctor post an ailment to get prescriptive drugs once the illness has been suffered. He says laws need to be directional and be written by commercial lawyers to foresee the pain points much in advance in order to facilitate the business. 

Mohit Saraf’s take on opening up the legal market to Foreign Firms: 

India needs to rise to the occasion. Moving from a $2.8 trillion economy to a $10 trillion economy without opening up the markets for legal business and building capacity will not be possible. Saraf elaborates that to bring in a professional setup and transform our legal system, surviving with a feudal attitude of being over-protective will not suffice. Healthy competition is required to sharpen our skills, precedents, and technology. 

With E-courts, Virtual Hearings, and Hybrid Systems being the order of the day; where is the Indian legal landscape headed? 

A good legal infrastructure is something significantly missing in India. Courtrooms, judges, filing systems, court and case management systems—are big issues and prime roadblocks in our way that impede us from improving our contract enforcements. The virtual system has worked really well but one needs to fill in almost 388 judicial vacancies. Saraf states that continuing virtual hearings with full bench strengths, will remove a lot of backlogs and our judicial system will be able to do much more. Like seen in Malaysia, appointing a Chief Operating Officer for our courts may be the answer to achieving tech-enabled and faster disposal of cases, he adds. 

 

For more revelatory insights, please play the full interview posted with this article and available here. To explore interview opportunities please write to Ashima Ohri at ashima@businessworld.in and for business opportunities to Gareema Ahuja at gareema@businessworld.in

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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