As of now, as per the Indian Law, Lawyers are not allowed to advertise. But, the founder president of the Indian Lawyers Association (ILA), a California based NRI advocate has a different opinion. Navneet Chug is also the founder of South Asian Bar Association of South California (SABA) and is of the opinion that the restriction on advertising in India for lawyers needs to be lifted. Other than that he is the founder of SABA North America (SABANA) with 27 chapters that represent over 10,000 Indian lawyers residing in Canada and USA besides Indian Bar Association.
He harped upon the issue of BCI not able to regulate the ‘black sheep’ amongst the lawyers in India and not even providing any freedom to them. He also mentioned that in the United States of America, the State controlled Bars are responsible for regulating advocates in an effective way. Furthermore, BCI is putting obstacles like age bar for law degrees as well which is in a way hindrance to the field of law. In the USA the laws that restricted lawyers from advertising were lifted in the year 1971 and today there are umpteen lawyers filling up the yellow pages with ads about their services and utilizing many other traditional mediums as well for showcasing their services.
Having said that, the Indian law firms are also trying to find a creative way out of this problem. They are promoting their work by organizing seminars and conferences as well as by getting into partnerships with NGOs, to name a few. As per the president of the Society of Law (SILF), such promotional activities are not listed under the prohibition of advertising rule 36 of the Bar Council and hence it is not considered a promotion or violation of the rule. As per Bhasin, the world is becoming a smaller place after globalization and there is a dire need to change the existing norms around advertising in Law. In 2008, the government did ease the rule by allowing lawyers to create a website with little information, but it did not address the problem as such.
Many law experts feel that BCI is still following the norms that had been created in the stone age even when we are living in the Tesla age and thinking of creating colonies on Mars. Present day, there are many law firms that are already opening offices overseas with information online on their websites in those countries. They want to do the same in India but aren’t able to do so due to the prohibition here.
Well, it seems the experts and lawyers in India are looking to broaden their horizons utilizing the advertising tool thus making it inevitable for the BCI to think about bringing a reformation in their rules and ethics thus allowing the Indian lawyers to offer their services across borders and flourish in their profession.