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Lakshmikumaran closes London office as Brexit paralysis kills clients’ appetite for British ventures

Lakshmikumaran exits Britain bearing brunt of breakneck Brexit
Lakshmikumaran exits Britain bearing brunt of breakneck Brexit

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS) is closing its three-year-old London office, after the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union (EU) have proved more hairy than anyone could have anticipated.

An LKS source said that Brexit was primarily the cause in closing the office, blaming a “policy paralysis” currently afflicting the UK, which had reduced Indian companies’ appetites in investing in the UK.

LKS commented in a statement: “In the last 18 months, due to unforeseen conditions arising out Brexit, we have decided to discontinue the London operations.

“At the time when we started the London operations, these circumstances were unforeseen. We continue to assist our clients by providing legal advice relating to cross border transactions and issues.

“Our commitment to our clients remains strong and we shall assess future operations after conditions stabilise.

Ex-Jones Day India partner Sumesh Sawhney who was heading the London office has exited the partnership on 1 March; the LKS office due to close on 31 March 2019.

Sawhney is a 1992 Punjab University LLB graduate, who had been a partner at Amarchand Mangaldas and at Clifford Chance’s India group in London, before joining Jones Day in 2012.

In 2016 he had joined LKS, with a brief to build London into both an execution and business development office.

Sawhney did not respond to messages seeking comment since earlier this month.

London, sharing common law and historical ties to India, has naturally been an attractive destination for Indian law firms looking to expand abroad, though its high rents and competitive legal market don’t necessarily make that easy.

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