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Third wheel / Issue 94

Legally India newsletter
Legally India newsletter

The best friendship bandwagon has not yet crashed and burned but it is clearly smouldering.

Following the end of AZB’s and Clifford Chance’s ill-fated tie-up in January, ALMT & Co and Clyde & Co are the second engagement to topple over this year.

Yet again, a major reason for the split: a drop in referrals from other non-best-friend firms. Is the best friends model broken?

But for Clydes this could actually be a good deal. Making best friends with a large and democratic one-vote-one-partner firm such as ALMT was never going to be easy.

But with five ex-ALMT partners and a Clydes Dubai partner setting up the new shop Clasis Law – a name which tellingly could only be an acronym of Cl(ydes) and the initials of several founding partners’ first names - the UK firm is now likely to have something more wieldy on its hands in India (and London). Whatever their plans, Clasis and Clydes are keeping schtum for now about their intentions.

However, the core of ALMT – particularly in Mumbai and Bangalore – remains strong and the firm is setting its sights on aggressively rebuilding a Delhi office and setting up in London again.

Foreign affairs

Other foreigners doing business in India remain undeterred.

DLA has promoted an Indian capital markets lawyer to partnership, and Milbank ramped up in Hong Kong with a Cleary’s India practice lateral.

And although the Chennai writ petition still hovers overhead (the case against the foreigners was adjourned again last week), there could be movement on that front.

The law ministry and the BCI are actually talking now and it is understood that a new BCI draft affidavit about the BCI's stance on foreign firms is waiting on a few desks for input, though it is unlikely to be a radical departure from the norm.

Youth wing

For some of the national law schools getting jobs seems to be getting easier every year.

Nalsar Hyderabad has managed to place all of its current batch with a record number going to law firms.

And the next batch has got a head-start already: 29 law firm jobs have already been accepted by 2012 Nalsarites, months earlier than last year.

But despite what such reports might indicate, all is not actually well in India. There may be a few hundred, maybe a thousand, high-paying law firm jobs out there but that is nowhere near enough to go around to everyone.

CNLU Patna fell victim to this after the administration allegedly did not make good on its promise to secure students lucrative jobs on graduation. CNLU students went on hunger strike for more than a week, which only ended on Tuesday of this week.

Mooting season

The second season of the Mooting Premier League (MPL) sponsored by Allen & Overy is now all but likely to have a confirmed new champion after its rivals failed to make a big enough dent at the giant Vis Vienna moot and the probable champion’s strong showing at the ICC Trial Moot in The Hague. We are awaiting final confirmation from Vienna and will update as soon as it is received.

Join the Bar

The second all India bar exam will happen on 26 June and this time opposition is muted and online applications are now possible. Is the AIBE now the status quo?

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