International Visiting Associate Program (IVAP)

Report by Talha Salaria, 2009

Description: of the most interesting aspects of the fellowship was that I had the chance and sufficient time to experience each of the firms and the beautiful cities that they are located in, not just as an attorney or as a tourist, but as a balanced mix of both. I was always warmly welcomed, met so many wonderful people and had many discussions with colleagues on issues varying from legal systems, markets and education to the economic crisis, politics and history of the places. Such discussions were very enriching and provided me a good insight into the similarities as well as the differences between the legal cultures and customs followed in each of the regions.

Setterwalls was the first law firm that I visited. I had the interesting opportunity to review the EU Directive on Point of Single Contact and providing my views thereon on issues raised, which, I have been given to understand, are currently a hot topic of debate in the EU. I also had the occasion to conduct research on patent laws in Europe, from the perspective of the Paris Convention, the PCT and the EPC and the inter-relation between the same. Pursuant to the research, I provided my inputs on a Notice of Opposition which was filed in relation to a patent granted under the EPC. I also reviewed a distributorship agreement between a Swedish company and a UK based company, which was governed by the laws of England. I provided comments on certain issues that had arisen between the parties from the perspective of contractual obligations as well as from the perspective of the applicable sale of goods act. I had the occasion of drafting a letter/notice of intimation relating to PCI DSS. The firm also arranged for me to make a presentation on the Indian legal market and other practical aspects of the manner in which law firms operate in India. During a dinner hosted by the firm for its clients, I was provided the opportunity of interacting with people from other fields and had a very enjoyable evening. I visited several sights in the city including a visit to one of the islands, Marstrand, which was lovely and refreshing.

At CMS Hasche Sigle, I assisted in providing inputs on a query regarding data protection, from an Indian law perspective. I also provided comments on and amended documentation for an Indian subsidiary of a German company. I was given the opportunity of participating in a matter regarding software development documentation between a Slovenian company and a German company. It was very interesting to note and observe the behaviour and style of negotiations of the parties from different jurisdictions. I spent a lot of time with a colleague at CMS Hasche Sigle while we worked on an article regarding Legal Process Outsourcing in the context of India and Germany. In the process of co-authoring the article, we got an opportunity to exchange ideas on the applicable laws in our respective jurisdictions which was very informative and enlightening and provided me with a better understanding of German law, the various issues relating to Legal Process Outsourcing and its relevance and development in the German market. I had a great time visiting Tuebingen, Lake Constance and Castle Hohenzollern, which I understand is one of the most beautiful and popular castles in Germany.

During my stay with Dr. Widmer & Partners, I had the exciting opportunity to attend a session of the parliament. It turned out to be an eventful session since one of the Swiss ministers announced his resignation on that day. I could draw comparisons between the parliamentary sessions held in India and those held in Switzerland and was able to share and exchange information with my colleague, who accompanied me to the parliament. On another interesting day, I attended a rotary club lunch where I had the occasion to introduce myself as well as my firm, MMB Legal, to the attendees. I also attended a conference, the Swiss Telecommunication Summit. At the office, I worked on an agreement regarding software development between a Swiss company and a Canadian company. The team at Dr. Widmer & Partners and I also had discussions on social networking, its implications and the issues that arise therefrom, especially from a legal point of view. Pursuant to the discussions, we agreed to jointly write an article relating to social networking and I commenced work on the same during my stay in Bern. In this context, I also did some work on the terms of use of social networking sites and their enforceability under law, in the Indian context. I had the opportunity to visit Interlaken, Luzern and Zurich, which were stunning and enjoyable.

While at Lovells, I carried out extensive research on the VoIP related laws and regulations currently in force in Germany and compared the development of law from the year 2004 till date. I also continued to work on and completed a first draft of the article on social networking that I had commenced in Bern. I had the opportunity to visit the Palace of Justice. I met with nearly the entire TMT team and interacted closely with them. I was also given a lovely farewell party by the team, which was wonderfully arranged. I was also presented with a very informative and extremely well illustrated coffee table book on Munich.

My days at Gassauer Fleissner were spent working on a complex and voluminous ICC arbitration matter, wherein I provided inputs on various aspects that needed attention at the current stage of the arbitration. As a part of working on the ICC arbitration, I had discussions with my colleagues on various aspects of law and obtained a better understanding of Austrian law. I also visited the parliament in Vienna. I had the opportunity to attend a hearing in a labour matter in the labour court – it was the first time that I visited a labour court outside my country and it was interesting to note how the proceedings were conducted. During my stay, I visited several spectacular sights around the city which included spending an enjoyable evening at the Schloss Schoenbrunn followed by dinner and a concert. The firm also organized an outing with all the people at the firm as a farewell party for me, where I had the opportunity to interact with everyone from the office. I also visited Bratislava in Slovakia over the weekend, which had a charm of its own.

While at Matheson Ormsby Prentice, I worked on an outsourcing agreement relating to services and provided my comments thereon. I also spent a day visiting the different courts, including the filing sections of the courts and was given a detailed practical understanding of the manner in which filings are done at the High Court, the district court, the circuit court, the revenue office and the company registration office. I also watched two proceedings at the high court. During a meeting with the marketing department of the firm, I had the occasion to discuss the marketing efforts and channels used by the firm. I also prepared and made a presentation on Irish-Indian Business Projects, with an overview from an Indian legal perspective. It was interesting to note the similarities in the history of Ireland and India. During my stay, I also visited the various sights of the city.

As evident from the above narrative, this unique and generous ITechLaw Travelling Fellowship has, without doubt, been an invaluable and memorable experience for me, which I will never forget. I would strongly recommend it and urge my colleagues in the legal fraternity to apply for it.