The Founder Members of the General Counsels’ Association of India (GCAI) have come together to define its mission and purpose, to set up defined goals, attainable actions and ongoing assessment and accountability, so that GCAI is able to achieve its objectives.
To become the voice and premier association of General Counsels in India; to seek recognition of General Counsel professional services; to collaborate towards the common professional and business interests of General Counsels and In-house Counsels; promote professional development, networking opportunities, advocacy initiatives and mentoring and encouraging In-house Counsels in the profession.
The goals of GCAI are to:
1. Ensure recognition of the GC and in-house legal profession as a distinct and specialised profession at par with other legal practitioners in India. To this effect, GCAI will seek recognition of General Counsels under various laws and legislations in India, which will permit appearance, pleadings, and representations like those performed by an Advocate under the Advocates Act, 1961; a Chartered Accountant in practice under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949; a Company Secretary in practice under the Company Secretaries Act, 1980; and a Cost and Management Accountant in practice under The Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959.
2. Ensure that GCs are allowed to appear as legal representatives of their employers in judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, as long as they possess the requisite qualifications.
3. Develop a system of accreditation for recognition of GC services as outlined below:
a) Associate General Counsels – GCs having over 10 years of continuous work experience
b) Fellow General Counsels – GCs having over 15 years of continuous work experience
c) Senior General Counsels – GCs having over 20 years of continuous work experience
4. Advance the highest ethical standards governing the practice of law in an organisation setting.
5. Promote diversity and inclusion within the in-house legal community.
6. Enhance awareness in the industry about the role and contributions of GCs.
7. Act as an influential body representing the interests of all GCs in India and make representations to the Central Government and State Governments on various proposed laws on behalf of various industry groups, including presentation of papers and views on important policy formulations on various legislations.
8. Act as a common platform for all its members to share and disseminate knowledge. GCAI shall endeavour to create a knowledge bank with specific focus on impact of any change in law on the General Counsel’s office and changes in compliance requirements.
9. Organise mentor-mentee programmes for younger members of the association on how to manage various aspects of their role including enhancing governance standards, compliances, and enforcement. Promote professional development through training sessions, networking opportunities and internships.
10. Promote public and pro-bono service amongst members.