The TMT practise of a law firm is common now-a-days but back then, in the 20th century, it was a totally new concept for the lawyers. With the passage of time, every lawyer has now understood the use and importance of TMT practise and its benefits in the legal world. Even the legislature has given importance to it by enacting several laws from time to time for its proper implementation.
Evolution of TMT practise of Indian law firms
Imagine that you are about to substantiate your argument with a document that you left at your office. What would happen? If this were the situation back in the 19th century, then you would have rushed back to your office to get the document. However, in today’s scenario, you could have easily gotten that document on the cloud through your phone or laptop or if you are stuck somewhere, you can attend the court proceedings through VC as well.
TMT has made the jobs of lawyers so much easier with the different kinds of acts that come from time to time. It all started with the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act of 1933 and the National Digital Communication Policy of 2018 in the telecommunications sector; from the Press and Registration Books Act of 1867 to the Right to Information Act of 2005 in the media sector; and from 1953, when dictated machines were directly supplied to law firms, to the launch of AI lawyers. The TMT sector has evolved a lot for law firms.
Role of TMT practise of Indian law firms
Some advantages of TMT practise
Though the lawyers have progressed in using the online platforms but they are still somewhere stuck to the method of printing the provisions and case laws for there reference, but with the help of TMT practice, it is easy for the lawyers in doing research from these platforms by using so many tools and functions given there like search tool will help them scan and get the required data from a thousand page judgement in just a lapse of seconds, and to send and receive data from anywhere in the world in real time, able to maintain legal title management and calendaring applications giving them quick insight of what all work must be done on that day, also provides you the platform where you maintain your relationship with your client etc.
Brings transparency to your work
As we all have in some way or another come into contact with a lawyer, we know how they work,their management techniques and all that, but earlier people were clueless about what a lawyer was doing and this was often used by lawyers to showcase there cases as very complicated ones that required more time and hence more money and they also didn’t have the option to consult with another lawyer so easily. But due to the TMT practise, law firms could attain transparency in their work and also in their relationships with their clients. It can create a platform where clients can look across the profiles of the best legal professionals either through their website or through their social media platforms. The clients can even chat with different lawyers and remain in touch in real time.
TMT practise is very important for the company when it comes to performing cross-cultural communication within the company. Employees of different organisations can communicate easily by way of video calling, video conferencing, or telepresence video streaming, Lawyers can work together with the help of tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, etc. Employees could get to know more about the firm through its website or through its social media, thereby increasing the chances of knowing different companies and their work, increasing the chances of collaboration, and very much leaving behind the barrier of geographical location, which is also enabling the culture of remote law firms.
Some disadvantages of TMT practise
Increase the expense of the firm
Using TMT is very convenient but setting up the atmosphere for its use is a bit expensive for the firms at times, such as setting up webcams to huge LCD screens through sophisticated video conferencing software, making a dedicated website of the firm, developing legal software, etc. Even maintaining it costs the firm, as you must hire a few employees for the sole purpose of handling social media posts, website maintenance and the webcams and LCD screens in the long run. That is why many lawyers hesitate to use these advancements, as they will ultimately shoot up their expenses.
It takes up valuable time
Initially, a TMT practise can be very time taking for a law firm since it must understand how technology, media and telecommunication are being used by the firm, and after understanding, it must also give training to every employee for the same. And the firms must be upgraded with every update in the TMT sector.
This practise has completely changed the approach and attitude of the lawyers and clients towards the law firms, which is a marked transformation in the field of law. This practise has no doubt increased your reach to your clients very much, but it has also opened a pandora’s box of problems for the firms to maintain and make it work effectively, be it use of technology and software for daily tasks, ease of determining the scope of varied types of legal technology, regularly updating social media, etc.
Future scope of TMT practise in Indian law firms
The work of In-House counsel, also known as legal counsel, is to advise, identify the issues involved in the matter, manage and study the legal risk, thereby providing concise and helpful recommendations to tackle the issue. Lawyers who want to work as in-house counsel for companies working in the TMT space such as movie production houses, record labels, technology apps, FMCG, Google, Unilever, Mercedes-Benz, Red Hat Software, Jio, Airtel, etc. In-house counsel salaries in India range from 2 lakhs to 22.4 lakhs, with an average annual salary of 6 lakhs.
Lawyers also have the opportunity to start their own practise in the field of TMT laws, as it is an emerging law with a bright future. An independent legal practise gives the lawyer a lot of opportunities. It allows the lawyer to be his own boss by taking his own decisions on any case without any influence or interruption. This makes the practitioner independent in handling his cases according to his own rules and regulations
Legal advisor/ counsellor
One can also become a lawyer who wants to work in the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) practise of a law firm or a boutique media and entertainment firm, etc. Legal advisor salaries in India range from 1.2 lakh to 14 lakh, with an average annual salary of 4.2 lakh.
Internship in TMT firms
There are many firms that offer internships to law students. They can do internships in TMT law firms such as movie production houses, record labels, technology apps, FMCG, Google, Unilever, Mercedes-Benz, Red Hat Software, Jio, Airtel, etc. based on their point of interest or the field in which they want to pursue their career. If you get an opportunity to work with a Tier 1 law firm, then they will also give you a decent amount of stipend, which can be around 15-20K. A few Tier 2 firms also give stipends.
Boutique law firms
A boutique law firm is a smaller legal organisation that concentrates on a few specified areas related to intellectual property, tax law,etc. and selects clients for the specified problems only. It works on a smaller scale. One can think of working here if they have the same interests as the firm, as the firm has a very niche area of interest in which they want to specialise themselves and take clients revolving around that niche only. If a lawyer has a related specialisation, he can surely look for it
Examples of successful TMT practice in law firms
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
The firm was established in 2015 due to the separation of Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh & Shroff Company. It has over 1000+ lawyers and over 170 partners, and its offices are in Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, GIFT City and Singapore. It is India’s first legal tech incubator at a law firm.
It started in the year 2015 and by the year 2023, its estimated annual revenue will be $227.2 million per year and Mangaldas’s estimated revenue per employee will be $222,942.
Cases handled by the firm
Client: A leading management consultancy
On an urgent and diligent basis, the firm must review and compare 215 documents for the 5 clauses within 2 days. The firm, with the help of Kira, reviewed and extracted the relevant clause that the client needed within 24 hours. Hence, both time and money.
Client: One of India’s largest port development and management companies
In this case, the client asked them to review several thousand emails to ascertain data theft, which involved sieving through voluminous records to identify potential data theft within a short span of 2 days. Within 2 days, over 4,500 emails were reviewed and the relevant emails were identified by the firm, which was beneficial for the client either in terms of time or money.
You can get their details here
The firm was established in 2000 by Anand Prasad, Akshay Jaitly, Karan Singh, Rahul Matthan and Sridhar Gorthi. It has over 1000+ lawyers and 93 partners, and its offices are in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Gurgaon.
Its estimated annual revenue is currently $232.1 million per year and its estimated revenue per employee is $222,951.
Cases handled by the firm
Trilegal advised all three companies collectively, the “Book Running Lead Managers”, on the IPO of SBFC Finance Ltd. (Company), aggregating approximately INR 10,250 million.
Client: Apax Partners LLP
Trilegal represented Apax in securing unconditional approval from the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) pertaining to its acquisition of an approximately 30% shareholding in IBS Software Pte Ltd (Singapore) (“IBS”) from Blackstone Inc. (“Proposed Transaction”).
You can get their details here
Khaitan & Co.
The firm was established in 1911 in Kolkata by the late Debi Prasad Khaitan. It has over 1000+ lawyers and 220 partners, and its offices are in Kolkata (1911), New Delhi (1970), Bangalore (1994), Mumbai (2001), Chennai (2021) and Singapore (2021).
Total Revenue and Earnings for Khaitan (India) for the year ending 2023-03-31 were Rs 65.09 crore and Rs 0.68 crore on Standalone basis. Last quarter, on March 31, 2023-03-31, Khaitan (India) reported an income of Rs 16.86 crore and a profit of Rs 0.94 crore.
Cases handled by the firm
Khaitan & Co. advised Aakash and its founders on the sale of their shares in Aakash to Think & Learn Private Limited (Byju’s) through a combination of cash and stock that will result in Aakash’s business consolidation with Byju’s. Effected by way of a strategic merger, the deal was made for a consideration of USD 1 Billion.
Client: Rakesh Gangwal and Shobha Gangwal
Khaitan & Co. advised Rakesh Gangwal and Shobha Gangwal in the sale of their 4.5% stake, valued at approximately USD 500 million, held in Indigo (InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.), through open market transactions.
You can get their details here
Indian law firms have made significant progress throughout the years by practising in the fields of technology, media or telecommunication, which has enhanced their position in the market. With the right approach to TMT practise, law firms can gain a strong grip on the market. As discussed above, it will face many challenges, but as i have mentioned above, these problems will be initially faced by the firms. Only slowly and gradually will the firms overcome the drawbacks and flourish in the market for TMT law firms.