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Best friends Trilegal and Allen & Overy break up, citing lack of liberalisation progress

Brayne: No chance of entry?
Brayne: No chance of entry?
Breaking: Law firms Allen & Overy (A&O) and Trilegal have ended their five-year best friend relationship, according to a press release from both firms.

The firms said in a joint statement: "Unfortunately the lack of progress towards legal sector liberalisation in India has led both firms to conclude their existing arrangement is restricting their ability fully to exploit the growing opportunities in India."

A&O's India head Jonathan Brayne said in the statement: "There is an obvious need to adapt our India strategy to give us, and Trilegal, greater flexibility to both service the needs of our clients and cement our leading market position on India-related work.

"We have the highest opinion of Trilegal and we look forward to continuing to work with them when the opportunity presents itself, but also to collaborating with other Indian law firms."

Trilegal senior partner Anand Prasad said: "We believe our relationship with Allen & Overy has been of great benefit to both firms.

"But both sides agree that, in the absence of liberalisation, each firm stands a better chance of increasing its market share by broadening our options for collaboration in the market."

In late 2010 both firms had agreed to extend the best friend referral relationship, which they first entered into in January 2008.

Prasad told Legally India in 2009 that around 60 to 65 per cent of ­Trilegal’s fees were directly to international referrals, which did not change after tying up with A&O.

However, he had explained, the best friendship with the UK magic circle firm did result in other relationships becoming less lucrative.

A&O and Trilegal were the second major India-UK best friendship following Linklaters tie-up with Talwar Thakore & Associates of 2007.

AZB & Partners and Clifford Chance broke off their best friend relationship after only a year in 2011, too citing fewer referrals and a decreased likelihood of liberalisation. A few months later Clyde & Co and ALMT Legal ended their best friendship, though Clydes continued a relationship with ALMT-breakaway Clasis Law.

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