SCL Annual Lecture 2010: Transformations: Technology, India and the Law

February 6, 2010

Considering the long history that we have in common, and the many British people with strong Indian connections, the level of knowledge and understanding of India among most Brits is quite shockingly low. The Raj, poverty, Gandhi, spices and a vague awareness of things changing – and that’s about it, among the educated classes at that. But, for the first time in 120 years, an understanding of India, and its technological advances and its rising world role in particular, is vital equipment for all in business – especially lawyers.  

India has changed. India is now an IT powerhouse and Indian IT companies are now winning twice as much new IT outsourcing business as the established European players. This means that understanding India is especially vital for English IT lawyers.  We can be sure that Indian lawyers have a real understanding of us – they have been to our universities and worked in our law firms. The days when Britain could rely on deference and innate superiority are long gone. 

This year’s SCL Lecture is designed to further your education and understanding of the Indian technology environment. The lecture will focus on what lawyers, and IT lawyers in particular, need to know – it will not be a back-packer’s guide. You need to know about the cultural chasms that await the unwary – we may have a language and a legal system in common but the climate, figuratively and actually, is very different. You need to know about the contractual challenges that face Indian lawyers in the UK outsourcing market. And you need to know about the things that UK lawyers do that drive their colleagues in India to distraction.

Our lecturer is especially well placed to shine a light on all these issues. Samuel Mani Kallupurakal is the Head of Legal for Infosys Technologies Limited, a global leader in the next generation of IT and consulting with revenues of over $4 billion. As Head of Legal, Samuel has overall responsibility for all legal affairs across Infosys’ global operations, including those of its subsidiaries.  He manages a team of 35 counsel working across the globe. Samuel has a particular interest in commercial contracts. He has spent over a decade working on a variety of commercial contracts, primarily in the information technology, business process outsourcing related and telecommunications sectors.

He intends to speak about three or four discrete examples of how technology has transformed aspects of Indian life in a deep and meaningful way –  the digitization of land records, a technology based agrarian procurement scheme and web-based marriage portals and the Indian outsourcing industry. The first three areas are existing facets of economic and social activity on which technology has had a transformative effect. The last is entirely a creation of technology and its advances. Each area also has intersting implications for India’s legal systems which bear exploration.

Technology-based transformation is broad and secular and not necessarily visible to the outside world but it has had a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of Indians.

From transformations within India, he will move on to transformations as they affect the outsourcing lawyer, providing a perspective of the understanding and needs of Indian lawyers working within the UK IT environment. India understands globalisation and has lessons for those who do not.

Few are better placed than Samuel to observe and comment on the transformations wrought by technology in India. Virtually no-one is better placed to draw to your attention the lessons that you need to learn from those transformations and their impact on IT business and its implications for IT lawyers in the UK. That’s what makes this year’s Lecture an event that you will not want to miss.

The Lecture takes place at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place , London at 6.30 pm. Book via the SCL web site – the demand from non-members is expected to be high.

The Lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

Note: there is an SCL Partnership and Outsourcing Seminar on the same day at the offices of DLA Piper. See here for full details.