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LexTalk World Talk Show with Abbhinav Thakshak, Co Founder of TSA Legal.



An Engineering & Law Graduate, Abbhinav has over 20 years of Diverse Experience into Business, Law, IPR, and Environment & Sustainability. His Counsel has been sought in matters ranging from IPR, Cyber Security, AI, and Environmental Law & Sustainability. He has helped & given crucial consultations to Global Clients including Fortune 1000 Companies in Compliance Management, IPR Management, and Business Strategy. He has Studied from Yale University (USA) in Contracts, State University of New York in International Cyber Conflicts, Lund University Sweden in AI & Law, which has helped the clients in navigating these areas of Law in their Businesses.


Interview:


Host: Tell us about a complex legal issue you worked on. Describe the complexity and tell us how you approached it


Abbhina:

Complex Issues:

  • Guiding Clients on Laws related to AI & Cloud Computing

  • Evolving Guidelines: The guidelines in this area (world over) are still evolving and it is thus a task to keep oneself updated with all the changes being introduced, any precedence being set or any recommendation(s) being made.

  • Lack of Clarity: Since the guidelines on Law around AI & Cloud are still evolving, it lacks Clarity on various aspects around it. One needs to interpret and refer to many sources to get the requisite clarity and direction.

  • Overlap of jurisdiction & laws: Being a global service the laws related to them also overlap Geographically. Though there might not be contrary Laws about a subject but there are more focused guidelines or regulations related to any one aspect related to them which might not have evolved elsewhere, thus a deeper study of the laws of various countries becomes essential

Our Approach:

  • Equipped ourselves with knowledge & exposure to handle such challenges.

  • Upskilled the team through focused learning tools, & access to international databases & laws

  • The team was encouraged to attend numerous International Training & Courses that they felt will provide insights into these areas of Law

  • Simultaneously, we deep-dived into decided cases in USA & EU to study precedence on these subjects

Host: “You cannot do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.’


Abbhinav: The sudden and unexpected onslaught of the COVID-19 crisis has thrown up new challenges in the justice and court administration but the same is proved to be a boon for the justice system. E-judiciary is a far beyond the senescent justice courtyards as it make the justice delivery mechanism transparent and cost-efficient. Recent steps towards digitization by the courts are complementing the virtual courts and electronic filings. Instances like, the introduction of e-courts portals/apps, e-filing of complaints, appeals before different forums ensures immediate access to justice and at the sometime has also laid the foundation stone for open courts enabling the public to attend court hearings as a spectator, reporter or partaker therefore, new norms, a part of the system would be the need of the hour. In the case of Youth Bar Association of India v. Union of India, the Hon'ble Supreme Court emphasized the significance of embracing technology and set forth guidelines for posting copies of first information reports (FIRs) on the websites of the police and the State, ultimately bringing convenience to the public. In this new era of technology , online conflict resolution, which is also known as online dispute resolution (ODR), can facilitate settlement but also promoting social estrangement. The quick transition from conventional court procedures to an online form has made it easier for members of the public, attorneys, and specialists to access the legal system in different jurisdictions. The data available on the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) for district and taluka courts can now be accessed through e-courts services application. The number of downloads has reached more than 58,15,211 (5.81 million) as of 2021 and is demonstrative of the popularity and utility of this application. As per the data available on National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) a total of 3.38 crores (338 million) cases (pending) and 12.49 crores (1249 million) orders and judgments of different High Courts are available online, Digitisation has reduced the reliance of the courts on the papers and helps in reducing the workload of the Judicial and non judicial officers which not only reduces cost but also saves times. Access to justice includes many other rights, including the right to have access to procedures, information and locations used in the administration of justice and also the right to be tried without undue delay which can not be achieved without adopting the technology. Given the large, diverse and constantly evolving needs of different users and the constant evolution of technology, administration of justice must not just remain as a sovereign function, but evolve as a service : to mitigate, contain and resolve disputes by the courts and a range of public, private and citizen sector actors


Key Factors:

  • Covid-related challenges& their solution

  • E-Judiciary made it transparent &Cost effective for the common man to seek justice

  • Digitization of Courts/records for better & efficient retrieval

  • Virtual Hearings to enable speedy justice

  • Electronic Filings help in removing any human error & unwanted delays

  • Various Dispute resolution forums and Tech intervention in them (e-filing and expedited resolution)

  • Pro-activeness on the part of Govt as well as the Judiciary in creating mechanisms for the resolution of disputes, especially in today’s Tech & Online mechanisms where DATA and Privacy etc are mainstays

  • Other initiatives like

  • Online posting of copies of FIRs on Police and state websites

  • The data available on the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) for district and taluka courts can now be accessed through e-courts services application

Host: How would you rate the current legal system's drive towards encouraging access to justice? Is there tangible movement in closing the justice gap?


Abbhinav:


“If the Court were not to stand by the principles which we have formulated, we may witness a soulful requiem to liberty.”

India has one of the oldest legal systems in the world with its laws and jurisprudence dating back to centuries and evolving like a living way of life with the people of India adapting to the changing times. The main source of law in India is the Constitution which, in turn, gives due recognition to statutes, case law and customary law consistent with its dispensations. Statutes are enacted by Parliament, State Legislatures and Union Territory Legislatures. There is also a vast body of laws known as subordinate legislation in the form of rules, regulations as well as by-laws made by Central and State Governments and local authorities like Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, Gram Panchayats and other local bodies.


The Indian judicial/legal system is fully controlled and governed by judicial officers, unlike in the past/history when civil servants were still part of the judicial system. The purpose of this form of structure is to establish better governance and organization in all the judicial structures of the state.


One of the most crucial challenges with the Indian judicial system is the delay and pendency of cases. The major source of pendency is the increasing number of new cases and the slow rate at which they are resolved. Over 4.7 crore lawsuits/cases are pending in courts at all levels of the judiciary as of May 2022. Throughout history, India’s judicial system has witnessed many changes. The supreme pillar and core are the Indian Constitution which has established the operation of the whole justice system in India. The country’s rapid evolution demands significant reforms in the judicial system as well. The Indian government is attempting to remove the impediments and backlog. However, there is still more progress that needs to be made.


But apart from this, it can be concluded that the future of the Indian Legal System is bright and progressive, and in this 21st-century young first-generation lawyers entering the profession, graduating from the top law schools. The above change can be brought into the system drastically if there is a will to change, as we have seen during the Covid19 or pandemic how quick changes were made into the system so that the process of justice does not get disrupted.


Key Factors:

  • Landmark Rulings

  • Pro-Active/Suo Moto Cognizance taken by courts

  • Urgency in disposing cases by courts

  • Recent CJI’s statement on Bail Hearings and why they are pending/Reluctance of lower courts to grant bail etc

  • Focus on Arbitration so that quick disposal as well as low caseload on Courts

  • Discussions on New Age Tech and its challenges have begun in Govt & Judiciary hence focus now shifting to drafting laws related to such new challenges

Host: In the era of legal technology, what are the most commonly used tools for you?


Abbhinav: Before we delve deeper into the top legal technology trends in the market, it’s pertinent to understand what this technology is, and its importance. This technology is comprised of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, and automation that can be used to provide quick and effective legal services, as well as can help lawyers reduce the burdensome responsibility of regulatory and compliance issues. The technology used in the legal sector is referred to as LegalTech, and law technology (Law tech).


Let’s Discussmost important legal technology trends of 2022 which are:

  1. Artificial Intelligence: AI is gaining momentum in virtually all industries, and lawyers are realizing the worth of AI for managing routine-based tasks. The most obvious benefit of AI software is its time-saving feature. Computer software can process more information, and more thoroughly than humans can, within a fraction of the time.

  2. Cybersecurity: Not having stringent cybersecurity measures in place, criminals and hackers can easily access valuable information including intellectual property, trade secrets, personally identifiable information (PII), and confidential attorney-client-privileged data. The National Cyber Security Centre reported that sixty per cent of law firms had to face information breaches. Nowadays, cybercrime is on the rise Hence, it’s important to implement a robust data security policy at your firm by educating employees and enforcing protocols such as using two-factor authentication for logins

  3. Automation: Legal automation in the law does not mean replacing attorneys with machines. It is a process to simplify and shift manual tasks from humans to robots. Automation offers solutions to redundant and repetitive tasks, thereby diminishing administrative costs, and providing space for lawyers to take up important work that can bring value to the firm. Also, you can make use of LegalTech tools to perform the tasks that you hate the most. A Legal Trend Report, 2019 stated that an average legal professional works only 2.5 hours of client-facing work per day. It depicts that attorneys spend a considerable amount of time doing administrative tasks that fail to utilize their expertise, which can be done more accurately by a machine.

  4. Adopt Legal Technology: Digitalization is sweeping nearly every industry, and law is no exception. Clients are increasingly employing digital tools in their legal practices, and law firms are becoming comfortable with using different types of technology. Because of the numerous benefits that can be drawn from them by streamlining workflows, improving client communication, and enhancing work-life balance.

  5. Paid Databases: Access to paid databases that give insights into Global Filings is a big help in researching and Legal Consulting

  6. Global filing: This is another good step up in simplifying the complexity of filing and a major drain on the pocket of the client & corresponding delays

  7. International Arbitration: Access to International Arbitration and their mandate of quick resolution is another area that has become popular lately.


Host: Time is money in any profession and in legal it's most of all. How do you ensure to make the best of your time as a lawyer?


Abbhinav: We make sure that we keep pace with changing scenarios (workwise & tech wise). For this we have a very robust Learning Program for all lawyers that include:

  • Regular training of Staff: we ensure that all our Lawyers get trained by senior faculty (in-house as well as external) on relevant topics that

  • Since we also do regular training at Client Site, related to some burning issues, we keep ourselves abreast about the changes and challenges thus posed

  • We have an Internal Upskilling Program where lawyers are encouraged to enroll in courses (global) and add a new dimension to their knowledge & to the team

  • We also encourage lawyers to enroll in Certification courses as offered by different Law Institutes on some new issues

  • Regular Webinars are another way how we keep ourselves acquainted with the latest in the Law

  • Internal Lateral entry & Fast-track (career) path for re-skilled lawyers

  • Regular attendance at Conferences

 

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