International Visiting Associate Program (IVAP)

Report by Vineet Subramani, 2008

At the outset, I would like to thank the International Visiting Associate Program Committee for having selected me for what is obviously a wonderful opportunity, and the sponsor firms for making my visits to their offices an educational yet enjoyable experience.

My personal thanks are due to Don McAleese at Matheson Ormsby Prentice (Dublin, Ireland), Ursula Widmer at Widmer & Partners (Berne, Switzerland), Wolfgang B├╝chner at Lovells (Munich, Germany) and Axel Funk at CMS Hasche Sigle (Stuttgart, Germany) all of whom took great pains to make the experience of working in their office extraordinary. I was warmly included in their team, and was encouraged to participate in their work and professional discussions.

During the course of the fellowship, I was asked to prepare and make a presentation to lawyers and business leaders on doing business in India. Essentially, this assignment was to provide an overview of the regulatory and commercial environment in India, the major investment avenues and tax structures applicable, as well as recent developments in the outsourcing sector. I also presented an analysis of recent Supreme Court judgments on the taxation of offshore service providers / suppliers on income arising from Indian customers. Other assignments included reviewing contracts, drafting confidentiality agreements, preparing a fairly exhaustive comparison of the major Open Source Licenses and related projects. I was also given an introduction to Irish and Swiss contract law. The Civil Law traditions are obviously different from the Common Law, but it was educational to note that there are key distinctions even within the Common Law traditions.

The social activities provided a perfect setting for understanding the social underpinnings of the legal systems, which was one of my objectives in securing the Fellowship. The Fellowship offers an unbeatable opportunity to gain insights into international traditions and cultures, an understanding of which can so often make a difference in maintaining client relations or a successful closing in our ever-shrinking world. My experience was unquestionably enriched by the people I worked with in each of the Sponsor firms and I can look back on many of them as friends.

I strongly recommend the TFA as an enriching experience for young lawyers.