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Amarchand turnover near $40m, law firms bill $350m, says report


Turnovers at India's top 50 corporate law firms range from $500,000 (Rs 2.2 crore) to $40m (Rs 181 crore) with aggregate revenues of all firms amounting to $350m (Rs 1590 crore), estimated an analyst report on the Indian legal industry.

Around 15 corporate law firms in India have annual revenues in excess of $15m, according to the 2010 India report by legal consultancy RSG India, while the largest Indian firm has generated around $40m in turnover.

The report did not identify Amarchand Mangaldas as the largest Indian firm by turnover but it is understood that turnover at Amarchand is likely to be significantly higher than $40m.

With 443 lawyers the firm has more than twice the number of lawyers of its nearest rivals in the RSG league table; AZB & Partners, J Sagar Associates (JSA), Khaitan & Co and Dua Associates have 180, 180, 209 and 190 lawyers each, according to RSG data.

In terms of headcounts FoxMandal Little is listed by RSG as the second-largest firm in India with 400 lawyers.

A turnover of $40m would be roughly equivalent to the turnover of UK regional firm Ward Hadaway, which is the 84th largest firm in the UK by revenue according to The Lawyer magazine's UK 200 ranking.

The largest UK firm without significant offices outside of London is Slaughter and May, which bills around $760m annually – almost 20 times as much as India's largest firm.

RSG also ranked Indian law firms using the criteria of quality, reputation and capability to arrive at a combined score, based on performance in deals league tables, feedback from clients and the bandwidth of each firm.

Amarchand and AZB were ranked top and tied in the top spot and followed by JSA, while Khaitan & Co and Luthra & Luthra shared the joint fourth place.

Trilegal was placed sixth, Desai & Diwanji seventh, and DSK Legal, Nishith Desai Associates and Wadia Ghandy shared a joint eight place.

The report also estimated that all of India's litigation-focused firms are billing around $100m per year, with foreign firms generating around $350m per year from India.

RSG said that foreign firms picked up $250m of their fees from domestic clients with only $100m being billed for foreign clients, while 50 per cent of litigating firms' fees came from abroad.

The methodology for those estimates involved interviews with Indian and foreign law firm partners and corporate counsel. Averages were taken of estimated in-house legal spends and turnover figures to arrive at a hypothetical size of the entire market.

The total legal spend by the 100 largest Indian companies was $480m, said RSG, while foreign clients spent around $330m on India-related legal advice.

The sectors with the largest legal spend were banking, finance and insurance, closely followed by telecoms and communications, where the average company spent upwards of $2.3m per year on external lawyers, according to the report. Companies in the energy and power sectors spent less than $1m annually, with other sectors' legal budgets being $600,000 or less.

Photo by Alan Cleaver

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