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A&O tops ranking of India foreign firms ahead of Magic Circle, Herbies, Americans

London-headquartered Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O) has come out at the head of a new ranking of foreign law firms’ Indian practices, narrowly beating magic circle rival Linklaters, and a raft of US firms.

The rankings were compiled after consultancy firm RSG Consulting carried out interviews with Indian and international companies and Indian law firms, and analysed deals data, to rank the top 20 international firms with an India practice.

A&O picked up 17 client mentions for the best reputation in India, two fewer than both third-ranked Clifford Chance and Linklaters, but pulled ahead of its rivals due to having more mentions for recent instructions and a higher score when it came to deals rankings.

However, the firm was not mentioned by any Indian firms, in contrast to Clifford Chance and Linklaters. Both those firms, as well as Baker & McKenzie, Norton Rose and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, were mentioned three times by Indian firms.

There were no firms originating from outside the US or UK in the top 20 except Australian firm Minter Ellison, ranked joint 17th.

RSG said that Indian companies mentioned 45 different US law firms during the course of its research, compared to 33 UK law firms, although the UK firms dominated the top of the rankings.

The survey also found that both clients and Indian lawyers said cross-border deals involved a greater spread of jurisdictions in 2012 than previously, including inbound investment from Japan and South Korea and outbound investment into India. However, instructions to international firms were focused on the major global players.

A longer version of this story was first published in The Lawyer

Read RSG’s top 40 ranking of Indian firms

International law firms: India practice rankings

RSG Ranking 2013

FOREIGN LAW FIRM

Country of origination

Mentions score (/40)

Deal score (/20)

TOTAL SCORE (/60)

1

Allen & Overy

UK

39

18

57

2

Linklaters

UK

40

12

52

3

Clifford Chance

UK

33

7

40

4

Herbert Smith Freehills

UK/Australia

14

18

32

5

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

UK

20

11

31

6

Baker & McKenzie

US

28

2

30

7

Jones Day

US

10

18

28

8

Slaughter and May

UK

11

14

25

9

White & Case

US

10

14

24

10

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

US

5

14

19

11

Ashurst

UK

5

13

18

11

DLA Piper

UK/US

8

10

18

13

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

US

3

14

17

14

Shearman & Sterling

US

4

12

16

15

Latham & Watkins

US

7

7

14

16

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

US

2

11

13

17

Minter Ellison

Australia

1

11

12

17

Davis Polk & Wardwell

US

4

8

12

17

Bird & Bird

UK

5

7

12

17

Norton Rose

UK

7

5

12

Source: RSG Consulting

Methodology

The research includes data from over 400 Indian and international companies and deals in 2011 and 2012.

RSG surveyed major legal purchasers and Indian law firms to ask which foreign firms they felt had the best reputations in India and which they had recently instructed. In addition, RSG analysed deals databases and published league tables for activity over the past one, two and five year periods. Law firms are ranked by a ‘Total Mentions Score’ and the ‘Deal Score’. These are banded scores which reflect a benchmarking analysis of the firms’ raw data.

The 'Total Mentions’ score (out of 40) is calculated as a weighting of the sum of the following:
- Total client mentions for having the best reputation in India
- Total client mentions as a foreign law firm it had recently instructed
- Total Indian law firm mentions as a firm it had recently worked with or received a referral from

The ‘Deal’ score is a weighted score (out of 20) calculated from the following:
- Deal value (out of 10): sum of deal values published in Zephyr deals database for the past one, two and five years, and deal values from MergerMarket’s M&A league tables 2012.
- Deal volume (out of 10): sum of deal volumes published in Zephyr deals database for the past one, two and five years, MergerMarket’s M&A league tables 2012, Bloomberg’s India IPO league tables 2012, and Venture Intelligence’s M&A and private equity league tables 2012.

Research was conducted between December 2012 and April 2013.

photo by Duncan Harris

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