Indian Bar Council lifts web ad restrictions

Indian Bar Council lifts web ad restrictionsThe Bar Council of India has lifted restrictions on law firm websites, allowing Indian lawyers to launch their own websites giving basic information about themselves to prospective clients.

The decision comes after local lawyer VB Joshi filed a petition in 2000 challenging the Bar Council’s Rule 36, which bans lawyers in India from any type of advertising or soliciting for new clients.

The Bar Council has amended the rule, allowing lawyers to put basic information on their sites, including names and addresses, telephone numbers, areas of practice and their academic qualifications.

The Supeme Court of India is reviewing the decision but is yet to come to a conclusion on the legality of law firm websites.

The amendment does not yet stretch to other types of advertising, such as publishing brochures or being included in legal directories, but is being seen as a symbolic step forward towards the liberalization of India’s legal market. As the law stands, foreign firms are banned from practicing law in India.