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Itemised weekend / Issue 62

Legally India newsletter
Legally India newsletter
For once it seems the American law firms rather than the Brits publicly took the lead in India.

(The stricter UK visa rules that cast a shadow over Indian lawyers' job offers would not have helped the UK lobby and judging by the account of Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham's trip to India, no real progress was made there either).

In any case, nine US firms assisted by Dua Associates coaxed well-known advocate and parliamentarian Abhishek Manu Singhvi to Chennai to plead their case in the writ petition against them and 22 other foreign firms.

After Singhvi's short appearance, the court decided progress or otherwise of the case will now hinge on tomorrow's Bar Council of India (BCI) meeting in Delhi. The agenda for that meeting is already huge.

In a cautious first tiptoe towards BCI transparency, India's media has been invited to the meeting's opening ceremony at 10:30am tomorrow morning. Apparently this is the first time all the BCI members led by solicitor general and chairman Gopal Subramanium will be wearing "ceremonial robes" and will take an oath.

Intriguing as that sounds, the really meaty discussions will be held on Saturday and Sunday behind closed doors. In them the BCI will at least try to come up with answers to the following:

In the corporate law firm world, mega-deals galore this week. India's popular travel portal MakeMyTrip made one of the hottest debuts on the Nasdaq this year, with five firms crowding around the Indian dot-com.

And one firm in particular seems to have managed just fine making the cross-over from capital markets to big-ticket corporate work. The $9.6bn Vedanta-Cairns India acquisition does prove for S&R Associates that if you float someone once they might just keep your number for life. No surprise there is such a fight to build top capital markets practices.

Because money from government work is definitely not the reason: Fee quotes for disinvestments are spiralling downwards. And although near-zero-fees as for bankers are still a while off in this market where there are only a handful of firms to do the job, FoxMandal and Gide won the bid for Manganese Ore's IPO.

This week's episode of The Firm discussed an intriguing hint left in a footnote by SEBI: could Indian Depository Receipt (IDR) and the delisting regimes merge? And should they?

For those of you have not been following the Legally India blogs regularly for the past six months, here is your chance to catch up. Vote for your favourite blogs in the categories of writing about life as a qualified lawyer and life as a law student. All the entries are brilliant and all deserve winning - please ignore the (mostly) harmless controversy and follow your conscience.

And finally, the press was under fire this week as NUJS Kolkata prof and students threatened to take Outlook India and India Today magazine to the (toothless) Press Council of India for "inaccurate" law school rankings. Then again, spare some sympathy for the magazines: ranking law schools is probably almost impossible so randomly shuffling the rankings every year might be as good a solution as any.

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