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Clifford Chance offshore Indian lawyers work on 300 deals

Lawyers in Clifford Chance's Gurgaon "knowledge centre" have earned 12,000 hours of work in the last financial year, according to the firm's annual report which was published this week.

"Knowledge Centre lawyers worked with 15 offices last year, putting in over 12,000 hours of work on over 300 client projects," stated the report.

"On a large project for a major international bank the use of Knowledge Centre lawyers for certain aspects reduced the overall cost to the client by almost 20 [per cent]."

The report noted that the offshore legal started with four lawyers in 2007, adding that "soon there will be 30".

Lawyers from the Indian offshoring centre have been seconded to Dubai, London, New York and Singapore offices.

Clifford Chance associates have an annual billable hours target of 1,700 hours.

The India-based lawyers therefore would have worked the equivalent time of around seven London associates at 100 per cent utilisation.

One year ago the Indian offshore legal centre employed seven paralegals with another six graduates having been trained at the time.

The offshore centre also provides back office staff and functions to Clifford Chance, including secretarial, document production and related services. It is planned to save the firm £8m in costs.

Clifford Chance publishes its annual report to examine the firm's performance and strategy over the previous financial year, which saw profits per equity partner drop by 37 per cent.

The 2008-09 financial year report was published this week and referenced Clifford Chance's best friends alliance with AZB & Partners.

The report stated that this relationship was "based on trust, co-operation and alignment of interests, it's a 'two firms, one team' approach".

"Anticipating further liberalisation, we have also established a Singapore-based India capital markets team of international experts and a high-profile lateral hire from India," it said, in reference to Amarchand Mangaldas partner Rahul Guptan joining Clifford Chance in August of last year.

The report added: "[…] we can now offer our global client base Indian law capability of the highest calibre, while giving AZB and its clients access to our international reach and technical expertise."

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