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A ranking of India's 25 largest law firms • LKS nips at Trilegal heels • Desi firms still far far smaller than China's

While headcounts aren’t everything, there is clearly still a lot of headroom for Indian firms to grow

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.

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