Legal Opportunities Are Set to Grow in Cochin

Until now, the south Indian city which was being eyed for its bright future and opportunities was Bengaluru. It was Bengaluru which was considered the crown prince of growth and development down south, through the fillip given to it by the start-up culture prevalent there. However, there is a new player in town. It is none other than the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’-Cochin aka Kochi. The city has, over the last five to ten years, witnessed drastic changes, with several commercial establishments, malls, cine-complexes and BPOs coming up. Kerala’s growth rate has also been pretty impressive, at 7 per cent, and has the potential to grow at an even higher rate, as per experts. A huge contributor to this growth has been Cochin, being the State’s capital. Much to everybody’s surprise, Cochin recently topped the list of most prosperous cities in the world. This is as per a study conducted by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) on behalf of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Cochin has also, in the past, been pegged as a prospective highly preferred real estate destination in the country, driven by various infrastructure development projects in the city. This was because all potential drivers such as IT development for employment generation, Metro rail for intra-city connectivity, the Smart City tag for basic infrastructure, port-based development for industry and commercial growth, airport terminal for international connectivity and foreign investment and tourism for the hospitality industry are emphasized in Cochin. This is, of course, expected to boost real estate law and practitioners. Further, the smart city project poses numerous opportunities for lawyers engaged in various activities. For instance, such projects require assistance from project finance specialists and teams at law firms, due to the sheer vastness of the financing options and requirements in the projects. There’s also enough for technology lawyers to have a say, as smart city projects thrive on the technological advancements that they can offer, when compared with normal real estate projects. These compliances are especially essential, in view of the fact that several such smart cities across the world are finding themselves in legal troubles even before their launch because of concerns regarding data privacy, as raised by potential home buyers and occupiers, as well as civil society activists. Furthermore, these smart cities might change the face of builder-buyer agreements too, leaving scope for litigation in this space. The growth of real estate has anyway created opportunities for lawyers, after enactment of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 and the connected Rules. Cochin is, therefore, a thriving legal industry, waiting to be explored and exploited by lawyers and law firms alike. It is, arguably, set to replace Bengaluru and Hyderabad as the preferred location for establishing law firm offices and putting in place a full-fledged team to handle the multitude of cases that the city can provide. It is, therefore, advisable for law firms to explore the development of their businesses here, before it’s too late to enter the market.

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