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Which are the most visible foreign firms in India? (Freshfields drops 8 in ranking, Davis Polk climbs 10)

Global legal
Global legal

Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy (A&O) and Baker & McKenzie are the highest profile foreign law firms operating in India, according to client mentions and perceptions, as measured by the latest analysis of foreign law firms’ India businesses by London-based RSG Consulting.

Linklaters overtook A&O this year at the top of the overall rankings, which take into account the total mentions by clients, recommendations by clients and the Indian deal volumes of each firm.

RSG’s analysis stated:

Linklaters has returned to the top of the overall ranking, displacing Allen & Overy who came out number one in 2013. Linklaters was overwhelmingly the firm most recommended by clients for having the ‘best reputation’ in India, as well as receiving the most mentions when clients were asked which law firms they had recently instructed.

However, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Baker & McKenzie were jointly favoured by Indian law firms when asked which foreign firms they had worked with or recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills, Baker & McKenzie, DLA Piper and Skadden notably ranked higher for recent instructions relative to the number of mentions they received from clients for the ‘best reputation’ in India, suggesting that these firms, though perhaps less well recognised in the Indian market, have established a strong India practice.

Davis Polk & Wardwell shot ten places up the rankings, receiving the top deals score of all ranked firms, for a number of high value deals in the past year. However, the firm’s India practice is well outside the top ten when it comes to profile amongst clients or Indian law firms.

Which firms do clients say they have instructed recently?

The top six firms clients say they have instructed in the past 12 months were Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance and White & Case.

The breakdown of mentions by Indian clients compared to foreign clients was relatively balanced for the majority of the top six firms. Only Linklaters and Allen & Overy received a significantly greater percentage of mentions as a firm recently instructed by foreign as opposed to Indian companies. These two firms received over 60% of mentions as a recently instructed firm from foreign clients; White & Case, at the other end of the spectrum received almost 70% of mentions from Indian clients.

Summary of best known amongst Indian law firms

A look at which law firms received the most mentions from Indian law firms throws up a slightly different list with Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Baker McKenzie receiving the most mentions from Indian firms. This analysis reveals that all five of the UK Magic Circle firms still hold a strong reputation among Indian firms. Linklaters, Freshfields, Jones Day and Slaughter & May receiving slightly fewer mentions than the above three, but are still front of mind.

White & Case was the only firm in the top 10 to receive no mentions from Indian firm managing partners though it features 6th in the overall rankings and scored highly with clients.

Also read, RSG’s Indian law firm rankings as recently published in Mint.

RSG top 20 foreign law firms in 2015

RSG Ranking 2015

RSG Ranking 2013

Ranking change 2013-2015

Firm

Country of Origin

Mentions score /30

Deal Score /20

TOTAL SCORE /50

1

2

+1

Linklaters

UK

26

15

41

=2

1

-1

Allen & Overy

UK

25

8

33

=2

4

+2

Herbert Smith Freehills

UK/Australia

18

15

33

4

6

+2

Baker & McKenzie

US/UK

25

7

32

5

3

-2

Clifford Chance

UK

26

5

31

6

9

+3

White & Case

US

13

17

30

7

17

+10

Davis Polk & Wardwell

US

8

20

28

8

7

-1

Jones Day

US

14

12

26

9

8

-1

Slaughter and May

UK

9

16

25

10

14

+4

Shearman & Sterling

US

8

14

22

=11

11

0

DLA Piper

US/UK

10

10

20

=11

10

-1

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

US

10

10

20

13

5

-8

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

UK

15

4

19

14

33

+19

Sullivan & Cromwell

US

3

13

16

=15

15

0

Latham & Watkins

US

7

8

15

=15

17

+2

Norton Rose Fulbright

UK

10

5

15

=17

38

+21

CMS

UK

6

8

14

=17

25

+8

Weil, Gotshal & Manges

US

3

11

14

19

33

+14

Simmons & Simmons

UK

1

12

13

=20

22

+2

Kirkland & Ellis

US

7

4

11

=20

-

-

Morrison & Foerster

US

3

8

11

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