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RSG law firm rankings: Khaitan draws with AZB, nimble firms score, clients complain about Big Six service

SenGupta: New constellations possible
SenGupta: New constellations possible

London-based legal industry consultancy RSG Consulting has released its 2013 ranking of law firms showing few changes in the top six but documenting smaller firms gaining increasing client confidence.

Talwar Thakore & Associates, Platinum Partners, Economic Laws Practice (ELP) and Phoenix Legal and HSA Advocates got the biggest boost in the rankings that were compiled by RSG after surveying 350 clients of Indian law firms.

Firms were ranked by a score out of 40 points taking into account capacity, profile, quality of mandate and client satisfaction, derived from 35 different data sets devised by RSG.

While Amarchand Mangaldas retained its top position from RSG 2011 India rankings, Khaitan & Co drew level with AZB & Partners into joint second place, nudging ahead of J Sagar Associates (JSA) in third.

Trilegal fell a whisker behind Luthra & Luthra into sixth position in the rankings, with Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan came in at a strong seventh from 10th place last year.

Circle of six, closed?

However, foreign purchasers of legal services were beginning to drive changes in the law firm pecking order by instructing smaller and newer firms, stated the report.

“The constellation of the top six firms is not set in stone,” commented RSG managing director Reena SenGupta. “Within it the order could change - witness the meteoric rise of Khaitan and how Trilegal’s domestic profile is rising post the ending of their special relationship with A&O [Allen & Overy].”

“Out of the up-and-comers, the best chancers are S&R, Platinum and we are beginning to hear good things about Phoenix,” she added, noting that some of the largest UK companies and law firms were already instructing S&R and Platinum as alternatives to the older firms on some deals, because of greater senior partner attention and their international approach.

“These firms just need to have the desire to break into the top six to become contenders.”

Can’t get no satisfaction

Client satisfaction scores support her argument: Trilegal was the only firm in the top six where the client satisfaction score at 8.6 was consistently above the 8.2 market average, according to the rankings. The highest client satisfaction ratings in top 20 firms accrued to Phoenix Legal (9.3), S&R Associates and Platinum Partners (8.9 each).

By contrast, India’s largest firms were generally marked down by clients for worse service delivery levels than top smaller firms, with complaints including problems in availability, timeliness and budgeting. Amarchand, AZB and Luthra scored only 7.8 in the average client satisfaction count.

Firms focusing on specialist practice areas, such as Nishith Desai Associates, Lakshmi Kumaran, Vaish Associates Advocates and Anand & Anand, were increasingly recognised by clients for their niche expertise, said RSG’s report.

2013 RSG India Top 40 rankings

2013 Rank

2011 Rank

‘11-13 change

Firm

Total score**

2013 partners

2013  total lawyers

RSG profile score

RSG client satisfaction score

1

1

-

Amarchand Mangaldas

36

69

600

196

7.83

2

2

-

AZB & Partners

34

20

250

152

7.84

2

3

1

Khaitan & Co

34

57

300

130

8.14

4

3

-1

J Sagar Associates (JSA)

30

50

240

70

8.06

5

5

-

Luthra & Luthra

29

45

290

61

7.79

6

5

-1

Trilegal

28

20

150

58

8.55

7

10

3

Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan

27

28

120

6

9.05

7

8

1

Nishith Desai Associates

27

7

67

33

8.67

7

10

3

S&R Associates

27

7

42

18

8.93

7

19

12

Talwar Thakore & Associates

27

4

20

33

8.68

11

19

8

Platinum Partners

26

5

27

12

8.93

12

10

-2

Anand & Anand

25

13

84

13

8.15

12

8

-4

Desai & Diwanji

25

24

187

16

8.32

12

19

7

Economic Laws Practice

25

19

99

31

8.32

12

15

3

Wadia Ghandy & Co

25

27

155

27

8.38

16

31

15

Phoenix Legal

24

6

45

15

9.33

17

19

2

Vaish Associates Advocates

23

13

91

7

8.41

18

7

-11

DSK Legal

21

15

104

34

7.34

18

35

17

HSA Advocates

21

14

70

3

8.63

18

13

-5

Kochhar & Co

21

35

160

4

7.33

20

25

5

ALMT Legal

20

20

100

0

8.52

20

19

-1

Fox Mandal

20

30

250

6

7.98

20

13

-7

Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe

20

14

100

19

7.92

23

31

8

D.H. Law Associates

19

9

44

2

8.39

23

15

-8

Majmudar & Partners

19

10

60

2

8.07

26

25

2

Tatva Legal

19

12

65

7

7.75

26

15

-11

Bharucha & Partners

18

5

32

0

8.54

26

25

-1

Kanga & Co

18

12

50

5

9.25

26

28

2

Rajani Associates

18

9

33

7

8.86

30

   

Link Legal

17

9

43

6

9.08

30

   

Singhania & Partners

17

12

65

0

8.37

32

28

-4

Juris Corp

16

15

62

8

7.25

32

   

Seth Dua & Associates

16

9

30

2

8.62

34

35

1

IndusLaw

15

10

53

2

8.47

34

   

Krishnamurthy & Co (K Law)

15

5

70

4

9.01

36

15

-21

Crawford Bayley & Co

14

17*

100*

18

5.58

36

   

Mundkur Law Partners

14

3

8

0

8.92

36

31

-5

P&A Associates

14

1*

20*

0

9.09

39

19

-20

Dua Associates

13

40*

190*

4

8.58

39

39

0

Lexygen

13

3

12

2

7.72

*Headcount numbers based on RSG research and estimates. All other headcount figures supplied by the law firms.

**TOTAL Score out of 40 is the sum of weighted and banded scores for CAPACITY (/10), PROFILE (/10), QUALITY OF MANDATE (/10) and CLIENT SATISFACTION (/10). These banded scores against the four indicators are not shown. They are derived from 35 different data sets, weighted and ranked based on RSG Consulting’s Top 40 Indian Law Firms methodology. However, we do show data against two indicators: profile score which shows the total number of mentions (which includes a weighting for top and second tier commendations) and the actual average client satisfaction score each firm receives from their scorecards from their clients. In addition, we show headcount figures for total number of partners and lawyers based on the firm’s submissions to RSG Consulting.

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