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Happy NY! (financial) / Issue 91

Legally India newsletter
Legally India newsletter

Partners were concluding the counting of money this week only interrupted on Wednesday by the India-Pakistan game (wisely a half-day at many firms). But with the new year, slates clear, bonuses paid and promotions gained (and missed), the recent lull in lateral movements and legal entrepreneurship is likely to pick up again.

First out of the blocks are two DSK Legal partners in Delhi who have decided to go back to a boutique set-up while DSK has added another partner and new office. We won’t have seen the last from both firms in 2011-12: watch this space.

Khaitan & Co sets the record in internal promotions this week, with seven new partners (thanks in part to the newly rolled-out salaried partner “groomery”). Long overdue and necessary for grooming talent at home rather than from abroad, and reasonable to expect less aggressive lateral hiring policy from Khaitan this year.

Trilegal is taking it more cautiously with two promotions in Delhi corporate (so far) while also facing small teething problems with its new more structured bonus structured.

Platinum Partners has added one, growing to five partners with the centre of gravity slowly shifting towards Mumbai.

And Vaish Associates has added one more tax expert and chartered accountant to its partnership strength.

Meanwhile Amarchand is understood to be speeding down the final leg of its long-coming (and second) Boston Consulting Group (BCG) project, with promotions to be announced a little later this year.

One lawyer was given the nod of a different nature this week: Lalit Bhasin, who was appointed to chair the movie censorship appellate board, promising to champion artistic freedom while also curbing ‘blood baths’.

For law grads in Chennai the bar exam has gradually turned into something of a Bollywood epic (both in massala content and running-time). This time local elections caused another postponement.

Elsewhere, kudos to the Bar Council of India (BCI), however, which has pushed transparency to a new level with a full statistical analysis of the All India Bar Exam (AIBE) results. Revealing as they may be, the AIBE figures also paint a worrying picture of legal education: in some states barely anyone took the exam, non-English language scores were terrible and twice as many men as women took the AIBE. Food for thought.

Championing transparency further is the Infocracy India project, which is set to launch a petition to make high school RTI drafting classes mandatory and to improve law school worker conditions. Apply by tomorrow (Saturday) to support the initiative.

But mixed performances by Indian students on the world stage this week. Two Indian teams advanced to the knock-out stage of the World Cup of Mooting (veterans NUJS and outstanding newcomers NLU Delhi), with a raft of speaker and memo citations to boot. At Stetson the Indian performance was less impressive although Nuals Kochi began to climb the ranks of the Mooting Premier League 2 sponsored by Allen & Overy.

Finally, almost as exciting as Saturday’s final between India and Sri Lanka, Amarchand will meet Kochhar in the SILF-Khushal T20 cricket tournament in Delhi after ousting Luthra and Titus. While there have been allegations of firms putting ringers on the payroll only for their cricketing skills, the others won’t take it lying down.

One retired England county cricketer and top lawyer will be boosting the batting strength of one Delhi firm next year as a cricket & BD consultant. A stroke of genius or just plain foolishness?

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