Denver Bar Association
October 2006
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Lawyer Experiences Globalization in India

by Ken Stern
Stern Elkind & Curray

It was my first day in India. I was in Chennai on my way to visit my clients who sponsored my trip, which included two lectures on American immigration law under the auspices of the National Association of Software and Service Companies.

The trip to the office captured the amazing diversity of India. Either we were stuck in what seemed like an inescapable logjam of every type of vehicle or we were racing along at perilously high speeds. Regardless of the conditions, my driver and all of the others around us were blowing their horns incessantly.

We passed modern office buildings, homeless people living along the side of the road, huge billboards depicting luxurious Western products, ramshackle houses and all kinds of animals. Order seemed absent.

I arrived at my clients’ office, the only multi-story building on a nondescript street. The first floor was an open construction site and the tiny slow-moving elevator that took us upstairs had a single fan to counter the oppressive heat.

When the doors opened on the second floor, I was almost blinded by the brilliance of the track lighting, the sheen from the modern wood furniture and the reflection from the highly polished floor. As I was shown around, I was dazzled by the sophisticated technology, more advanced than what I see when I visit my IT clients in the United States. I was impressed by the company’s cafeteria (which served free food) and its very sophisticated full-service gym. I was shown the massive server rooms where data from some of the largest corporations in the United States is stored.

In the center of the impressive office was a shrine room where individuals can worship during the day and all of the employees gather at the end of the day.

My Indian hosts could not have been more hospitable. I was taken out for dinner each night by a different principal of the company, and the president took me to a leather store to buy me a brief case. Their graciousness did not seem calculated in the slightest way, but rather a genuine desire to welcome me to their city and to deepen our relationship.

I traveled to New Delhi for a another presentation at the NASSCOM offices and then was a tourist for close to two weeks, which provided me a small sampling of the wonders of India — riding an elephant to the Amber Fort (pictured on the left), visiting the stunning Taj Mahal and seeing the amazing 10th Century erotic carvings at Khajurao.

I had prepared for my India experience by reading Thomas Friedman’s book: The World is Flat. I have done a lot of thinking and lecturing on globalization as it applies to American immigration policy. What was dramatically clear throughout my trip is that the Indian business community fully embraces globalization and sees it as a way to dramatically improve its country — a stark contrast to the fear that so many Americans have about this unstoppable economic phenomenon.

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