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Despite downward pressure on fees post-AMSS, senior partners now charge avg Rs 22,000 / hr, associates on Rs 10,000

Law firm billing rates have faced downward pressure amidst pricing wars triggered by Shroff break-up
Law firm billing rates have faced downward pressure amidst pricing wars triggered by Shroff break-up

Senior Indian law firm partners’ billing rates have increased by around 17% over two years to an average of $335 an hour (Rs 21,580 at current exchange rates) from $292 in 2015 (Rs 18,500 at exchange rates at that time), according to consultancy RSG India's latest research and its figures from 2015.

Junior partner rates meanwhile have risen by 28% to $237 (Rs 15,267) from $188 in 2015 (Rs 11,911 then).

Associate rates have nudged up by 30% to an average of $158 (Rs 10,178) from $123 in 2015 (Rs 7,793 then).

However, those increases are not the whole story. RSG's founder Reena Sengupta explained that the figures were an average compiled by figures supplied by law firms and clients.

And while the averages had risen slightly over 2015, the ranges had changed and “in reality, the firms can no longer really ask for the top of the range anymore. 90% of all the managing partners we interviewed said there had been downward pressure on fees”, she said.

RSG added in an excerpt of its report: “Indian law firms reported a drop in fee rates across the market. This has been explained by the turmoil in the market following the split of one of India’s largest law firms into two separate businesses.

“Law firms with large litigation practices fared better than those who are more heavily reliant on transactional work.”

At the six biggest firms, two years ago, the average billing rates for senior partners were $328, for junior partners $229, and $152 for associates at those firms.

Read our 2015 analysis in Mint on billing rates.

Average hourly fee rates (USD) for Indian Law Firms

Senior partner

$335 ($292 in 2015)

Junior partner

$237 ($188 in 2015)

Associate

$158 ($123 in 2015)

Source: RSG India

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