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Unnatural wastage / Issue 17

Natural wastage is one of those great euphemisms that UK and US firms have been fond of during the downturn. Lawyers leave for various reasons, do not get replaced and the firm saves costs (and face) by avoiding lay-offs.

At FoxMandal Little Delhi, the resignation of two partners and five associates in the last week is unlikely to have been strategic but it will reduce the cost base of the cash-strapped firm.

B all accounts, the departing individuals are quality lawyers – its head of corporate and a senior real estate partner. This creates the real risk of a vicious spiral where future billings decrease and the cash-flow crunch continues.

This is a nightmare scenario for any law firm manager. Managing partner Som Mandal has been candid in facing up to this and says that he is working on a resolution within weeks.

Meanwhile, other partnerships are also adopting new structures.

The names Khaitan & Co LLP and Trilegal LLP are now registered with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the firms are set on the path to become limited liability partnerships.

Clifford Chance's Indian offshoring experiment appears to be progressing well, with the lawyers based in its Gurgaon "knowledge centre" near Delhi racking up the equivalent of seven associate-years in billings, albeit at a lower rate.

The LLM forum discussion continued this week and Professor Madhava Menon has replied to a reader's open letter explaining the challenges Indian LLMs face.

The admission of an 80-year old law student meanwhile calls into question the Bar Council of India's (BCI) upper age-limit restrictions on budding lawyers.

The BCI, however, has seen none other than law minister Veerappa Moily come to its defence against the HRD ministry's attempts to take away the regulation of law schools from it.

Finally, we have launched our Careers Counsel series with advice on how to write a good internship CV. We will be putting readers' legal career-related queries to our panel of experts for advice.

If you have a question on your mind, please send it to us.

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