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foreign law firms

26 March 2015

The global chartered accountancy (CA) firms dwarf even global law firms in revenue and have increasingly been getting into legal services, with PwC’s legal arm now having a headcount of lawyers equivalent to the world’s tenth-largest firm already generating $500m per year from law, reports the Economist:

Those most at risk from the attack of the bean-counters are the profusion of mid-tier legal firms in liberalised markets. Since their profit margins are already low, they cannot afford even a modest loss of market share. Unfortunately for them, much of their business is high-volume, repetitive tasks—just the sort of work that the Big Four excel at standardising and automating.

In India, CA firms have been making inroads into legal too, with Ernst & Young (E&Y) having arguably been the most visible via its close alliance with aggressively growing start-up PDS Legal. Even domestic CA firms such as Mohinder Puri & Co have made forays into legal best friendships, having hired former Amarchand Mangaldas tax head Aseem Chawla in 2012.

The Society of Indian Law Firms (Silf) and the Bar Council of India (BCI) have also been in talks about the growing threat of CA firms, other than just foreign law firms, with the Madras high court having indicated that CA firms might be in violation of the law by practising it.

04 March 2015

Law minister https://www.legallyindia.com/Law-firms/legal-market-liberalisation-investigation-into-lobbying-and-policy told The Hindu: “Yes, Japan has written to us. We are taking the issue of opening up our legal sector on a positive note, but on the condition that it will increase the face-value of our lawyers globally and there will be a mutual exchange of lawyers, law firms.”

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra told The Hindu: “The Union Law Ministry has handed us Japan’s letter which says that they are ready and eager to invite and allow Indian lawyers and Indian law firms to practice Indian laws in Japan. The BCI is studying the proposal.”

“We will be framing this rule of reciprocity after carefully examining the situation for lawyers in each country. For example, if they create a hurdle, like a test which is very difficult to crack, we will also do the same here for their lawyers looking to practice here.”

Legally India and Mint reported earlier this week that in discussions with Society of Indian Law Firms (Silf) and the Bar Council of India (BCI), the government was taking a proactive approach in liberalisation the legal market, possibly within the next two years.

03 March 2015

Lalit BhasinLegally India investigates in Mint how special interests have succeeded at and could end up indefinitely stalling reform of legal services, despite the government's best laid intentions.

24 February 2015

Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) president Lalit Bhasin told the Business Standard that a plan of phased entry into India of foreign law firms should begin in 2015, subject to a number of conditions.

29 January 2015

Narayan IyerNarayan Iyer, who had left Linklaters Singapore in 2009 to join the magic circle firm’s best friend Talwar Thakore & Associates, has been appointed as head of the India practice.

15 December 2014

Lalit Bhasin: Lalit Bhasin has written in a Business Standard column that he was now in favour of allowing the phased entry of foreign law firms…

06 November 2014

Feda MetaniosAZB & Partners has hired the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) former assistant director Fadi Metanios as a senior consultant in its Delhi competition team.

28 October 2014

Penningtons Manches partner and India co-head Saionton Basu has joined US firm Duane Morris’ London corporate practice, according to a press release from the firm.

The NLSIU Bangalore graduate had joined Penningtons, as it was then called, in 2011 from Platinum Partners in Delhi, where he had returned after two years with White & Case in London.

Basu was not reachable for comment.

Penningtons’ India co-head Teja Picton-Howell did not comment at the time of going to press.

16 October 2014

lshf5damSupreme Court advocate, Lok Sabha member and BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi, speaking at a legal conference yesterday, said that she would ‘extend protection’ for Indian lawyers against the entry of foreign law firms to India.

23 September 2014

ChatterjeeDLA Piper India group partner and NLSIU Bangalore grad Biswajit Chatterjee has joined US firm Squire Patton Boggs.

22 August 2014

Vivekananda NSingapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) deputy registrar Vivekananda Neelakantan joins top Singapore firm Allen & Gledhill.

30 July 2014

Clyde & Co Dubai aviation partner Sidanth Rajagopal joined the London office of Kaye Scholer with the same designation, reported Bar & Bench.

The ILS Pune alumnus, who had also briefly worked at Clyde’s Indian best friend firm Clasis Law, told B&B: “This was a fantastic opportunity to be part of a top rated Aviation Finance & Leasing Practice that is expanding its global reach.”

We have reached out to Clydes for comment.

05 May 2014

UK-headquartered magic circle firm Allen & Overy, which used to have a best friend relationship with Trilegal but gave up because it saw no prospect of the Indian legal market opening up, is set to open an office in Myanmar, which recently liberalised its economy, following Baker & McKenzie having announced an office in February and US firms Duane Morris and Herzfeld Rubin Meyer & Rose opening in the traditionally protectionist Indian neighbour in late 2013, reported the American Lawyer (paywall).

29 April 2014

Foreign lawyers should be allowed to work on arbitrations in India to make domestic arbitration more attractive and to unburden the courts said Supreme Court justices SS Nijjar and PC Ghose and retired judge AK Ganguly, reported Kolkata paper The Telegraph.

Nijjar said at the seminar by the Indian Council of Arbitration that “we need to open up. Let’s come up with a comprehensive act (and become) an arbitration-friendly nation and judiciary”, adding that the process must be liberalised and foreign lawyers should be allowed to participate.

Ganguly added “It is natural that foreign companies will depend on foreign lawyers. If we want the arbitration process to become popular in India, we need to provide a level playing field to foreign lawyers. This will improve the legal system in India.”

Foreign lawyers are currently banned from practising in Indian courts or running offices here.

25 April 2014

Magic circle firm Clifford Chance has promoted four women and three men to its partnership in London after Linklaters did the same earlier this month for the first time.

Women still make up a minority of partners in UK firms but some firms, such as Herbert Smith Freehills, have recently introduced a 30 per cent female partner target by 2019 in a bid to address the imbalance (63 per cent of fresh recruits to UK law firms are women). [RollOnFriday] [HSF quota story: The Lawyer]

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