Did you know: Indian law firms are tiny compared to China and even South Korea and Singapore... (data via ALB)Did you know: Indian law firms are tiny compared to China and even South Korea and Singapore... (data via ALB)

Asian Legal Business (ALB) magazine last month released a listing of Asia’s biggest law firms, including a round-up of the 25 largest Indian firms by total headcounts.

The numbers closely mirror the figures we’d reported on 11 November in our round-up and analysis of growth rates at India’s seven largest law firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan & Co, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Luthra & Luthra, J Sagar Associates (JSA) and Trilegal (the Big Seven).

While some of the Big Seven figures are slightly off, that could be a function of the date that the ALB survey was conducted (Rajani Singhania & Partners, for instance, was included in the ALB table but hasn’t existed since 2015).

In both cases - ALB’s as well as ours - the figures were mostly self-reported by law firms (with the exception of Luthra & Luthra in our case), with ALB stating that it used other sources or the previous year’s figures where a firm did not respond to the survey.

According to ALB’s figures, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS)’s headcount is very closely behind Trilegal’s 221 at 210.

Desai & Diwanji has reported 190 lawyers, according to ALB, while Kochhar & Co stands at 172.

Fox Mandal which had reported 400 lawyers in 2011, is now at 156 lawyers (across all its national offices and partnership presumably) according to ALB.

DSK Legal and MV Kini & Co are both 150 lawyers strong.

Other firms in the top 25 are Mumbai solicitors firms Wadia Ghandy (134) and Mulla & Mulla (122), Economic Laws Practice (ELP) (119), IP giant Anand & Anand (116).

Eight firms came in with headcounts below 100, led by HSA Advocates (93), Rajani Singhania & Partners (at 92 lawyers, though it had actually demerged back into its original constituent parts, Rajani Associates and Singhania & Partners, in 2015), Vaish Associates (90), K Law (85), Dhir & Dhir (75), Nishith Desai Associates (72), Khaitan Sud & Partners (65) and Phoenix Legal (60).

Vis-a-vis Asia

Against the rest of Asia and particularly China, India’s law firms are minnows in terms of size: Cyril Amarchand came only 17th in ALB’s top 50 Asian law firms list behind 13 Chinese law firms, Chinese-Australian firm King & Wood Mallesons, South Korean firm Kim & Chang (816 lawyers) and just behind Singapore’s Rajah & Tann, which also has 601 lawyers but far more partners at 219.

The pan-Asia list was topped by Yingke Law Firm with 1,581 partners and 4,547 total lawyers, followed by Dentons Dacheng with 4,129 lawyers (the next two largest, DaHeng Law Offices and AllBright Law Offices are only around the 1,500-total-lawyer mark).

ALB’s full November issues is available here on the web or as a PDF, with law firm rankings starting on page 31.

Help us keep up to date

We are in the process of updating our directory of Indian law firms.

If any of the figures mentioned in this story or in our directory are out of date or you would like us to include your firm’s updated headcount, please send us an email or contact us here.

ALB 2016 25 biggest Indian law firms

2016

 Rank From 2015FirmPartnersAssociatesTotal No.of Lawyers
1 = Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas 88 509 601
2 = Khaitan & Co 104 381 485
3 = Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co 84 346 430
4 = AZB & Partners 65 310 375
5 +1 Luthra & Luthra 61 275 336
6 -1 J.Sagar Associates 84 106 302
7 +3 Trilegal 36 185 221
8 -1 Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan 39 171 210
9 = Desai & Diwanji 28 162 190
10 -2 Kochhar & Co 42 130 172
11 = Fox Mandal & Co 36 120 156
12 = DSK Legal 12 100 150
13 = M.V. Kini & Company 11 139 150
14 = Wadia Ghandy & Co 36 98 134
15 = Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe 14 86 122
16 = Economic Laws Practice 28 91 119
17 = Anand and Anand 21 95 116
18 +3 HSA Advocates 28 65 93
19 -1 Rajani, Singhania & Partners 22 70 92
20 -1 Vaish Associates 12 78 90
21 = Krishnamurthy & Co. (K Law) 13 62 85 
22 = Dhir & Dhir Associates 12 63 75
23 = Nishith Desai Associates 8 64 72
24 = Khaitan Sud & Partners 13 50 65
25 = Phoenix Legal 8 52 60

Source: Asia Legal Business.
NB: The total lawyer figure may also include non-lawyer fee-earners, articled-clerks, paralegals, consultants, etc.

experts & views

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1
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Like +1 Object -0 Glitch 15 Dec 16, 17:49
Guess there is some glitch in the table for ALB 2016 25 biggest Indian law firms
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1.1
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Like +0 Object -0 kianganz 16 Dec 16, 01:22
Yes, sorry, some formatting error had screwed up the table... Now fixed...
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2
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Like +4 Object -3 Incorrect data 15 Dec 16, 18:33
Please correct the Luthra numbers. 275 is an archaic number which has been portrayed to outside world to hide massive attrition since Madhurima's departure. The number of lawyers excluding partners is around 215.
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Like +0 Object -1 Guest 15 Dec 16, 22:12
DSK'S STRENGTH IS LESS THAN 100
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4
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Like +1 Object -0 ??? 16 Dec 16, 01:20
JSA numbers don't even add up! 84 + 106 = 190 (only)!
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4.1
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Like +2 Object -5 kianganz 16 Dec 16, 01:23
The total lawyers figure includes a couple of non-lawyer fee-earners also, including probably articled clerks, etc...
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4.1.1
Like +39 Object -2 ??? 16 Dec 16, 10:42  interesting  top rated
the total lawyer figure includes a couple of non-lawyers.

How did you not find anything wrong with that statement
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5
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Like +1 Object -0 DD on DD 16 Dec 16, 02:30
Some of the firms esp after rank 7 seem to have lied on numbers even by double. The publicaton needs to do a better fact check next time.
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Like +1 Object -0 Hello 16 Dec 16, 05:09
interesting ratio for KCO - 104 partners and 381 associates! also 84 partners and 106 associates doesn't make sense for JSA.
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6.1
Like +4 Object -0 Associate 16 Dec 16, 12:51
Now you can guess the authenticity of the Report or Headcount in each firm. JSA missed to count the employees of National Hotel as KCO has added people from Tapri!
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7
Like +5 Object -0 DESAI DIWANJI joke 16 Dec 16, 09:22  interesting
Desai Diwanji hardly have 80-100 lawyers. Including non-fee earners they would have 82-85. This is an utter joke and misleading by the firm. Shame on them.
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Like +1 Object -0 Associate 16 Dec 16, 12:51
Aur tu to Ganga Naha Ke aaya hai Na!
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7.1.1
Like +8 Object -0 190!! 17 Dec 16, 02:31  interesting
Desai Diwanji with 190 lawyers means that their partners too live in their own gaga land not knowing about their own firm, or too drunk after friday parties that they see one lawyer as 2. So voila!! 85 x 2 = 190!!! Wow. Brilliant from D&D! Way to fake off!

Umm May be they count the total number of lawyers per year. They have 100 in April. 90 leave and 90 new join each year (everyone knows their attrition rate and low payment and discrimination) so well, 100+90 = 190!!! Wow!! They count total lawyers who worked in a year rather than the actual number of lawyers they have at a particular time i.e. 90-100 odd. Well, smart or stupid, clients will decide. D&D is dead already.
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7.1.1.1
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Like +4 Object -1 Dyslexia 20 Dec 16, 17:25
85x2=190?
Achha...
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Like +2 Object -1 DnD does only DDs 20 Dec 16, 06:46
is Desai & Diwanji even relevant?
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Like +1 Object -2 Doo Ah 16 Dec 16, 09:37
What about Dua Associates? Did they fail to provide numbers or have then really fallen off the chart? What about Tatva?
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8.1
Like +6 Object -0 Incorrect 17 Dec 16, 10:08  interesting
Dua easily makes the top 10 in the indian list in terms of numbers. They have over 200 lawyers while tatva has around a 100. Strange they are missing.
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9
Like +4 Object -0 Gearing 16 Dec 16, 10:00
I am extremely surprised with JSA's partner to associate ratio. In the top 7, the gearing is generally between 3.5 to 5.5 (with a 4 to 5 being considered as the generally preferred number of associates per partner) but JSA is really the joker in the pack. A partner to associate ratio of 1:1.2 is pretty crazy for India. I am aware of the fact that JSA "over-partners" its transactions (and now I understand why) but I wonder how clients don't have an issue with that.
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10
Like +4 Object -0 Headcount 16 Dec 16, 10:46 LI subscriber
A large percentage of the data provided seems over inflated. I believe D&D and DSK are definitely not the size reported, having recently moved from one to the other. As is the Anand & Anand number. The JSA numbers just don't add up, there is a 112 person shortfall, the firm does not have 112 ACs...
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Like +0 Object -0 Bilski 16 Dec 16, 12:05
Why can't I see K&S Partners in the list?
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Like +0 Object -1 Old Owl 16 Dec 16, 12:41
Kian you missed Verus Advocates. [...]
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Like +0 Object -0 and quality? 16 Dec 16, 12:51
This is about quantity. Kian, let's talk about quality as well....
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Like +1 Object -1 CrackJack 16 Dec 16, 15:50
Yes!!! I am just one man and my english may not be great, but quality wise, I am a lot bigger than all these firms put together... A veritable fountain of wisdom, i am :p
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Like +1 Object -0 TCS or ICICI 16 Dec 16, 13:00
Where will the in house departments of TCS, Reliance and ICICI feature?
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Like +3 Object -8 Please Stop 16 Dec 16, 15:54
What is the use? Are there any attorneys working in-house? They are just clerks who outsource the work to law firms..
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14.1.1
Like +4 Object -0 TCS or ICICI 17 Dec 16, 00:24
One more clueless 2nd year associate.
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14.1.1.1
Like +4 Object -0 In house 17 Dec 16, 11:07
"Please Stop" is perhaps a constable with the Mumbai police.
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14.1.1.2
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Like +3 Object -0 Please Stop 18 Dec 16, 10:54
Khatte angoor!!!
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Like +0 Object -2 Guest 16 Dec 16, 15:22
What is the strength of the captive firms, TTA, S&R and Platinum?
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Like +0 Object -0 In captivity? 22 Dec 16, 10:47
Who are these firms captive to?
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16
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 16 Dec 16, 19:26
Don;t compare China with India. China is a superpower.
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17
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Like +0 Object -0 LaaFirm 16 Dec 16, 19:49
How many law firms are there in India out if which these 25 are listed?
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Like +0 Object -0 lowfirm 16 Dec 16, 23:43
These are the only 25 firms which practice law as frms..
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Like +1 Object -0 Bakwaas 16 Dec 16, 20:20
This list is no where close to being called "Information".

D&D headcount - is lot less than the numbers mentioned here.
Rajani, Singhania and Partners - didnt they split again. hasnt it been more than a year by now ?

Kian, wouldnt take much to get an exact headcount of the firms. Any associate can confirm looking at its telephone index. Why dont you do a fact check?
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Like +2 Object -1 Alias 24 Dec 16, 18:31
This list cant be taken seriously. Glaring misses like Dua, Indus, Tatva, Samvad who are surely in top 20. Another issue is that some of the numbers seem quite manufactured by some other firms.
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 07 Jan 17, 17:32
I believe Khaitan Sud & partners cease to exist way back in March 2016 so how can i be named in the list of December 2016.. Please clarify
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 11 Jan 17, 17:01
Where is Remfry & Sagar in this? or K & S Partners? You seem to have included only Anand and Anand amongst the IP firms.
e
Ignorance Kian? You shoulde do a piece on IP firms!!
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