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26 February 2010

Legally India newsletterThis was an exciting week not just for India's business media but also for tax lawyers, who will no doubt spend the long and colourful Holi weekend getting to grips with the changes in the 2010-11 Budget.

Lawyers and corporates have generally welcomed the Budget's safe smorgasbord of changes, which could increase lawyers' work, despite heavy lobbying efforts having given no respite to law firms on service tax. But it is also very unlikely there will be a repeat of last year when litigators went on strike over the service tax imposed on their law firm brothers and sisters.

25 February 2010

Legally India newsletterAshurst has decided to shut its Delhi liaison office, which in all honesty will not be a shock to anyone who's read the Lawyers Collective judgment.

To find out what this means for Ashurst's India practice (if anything) read our interview with the firm's India head Richard Gubbins. We have asked him lots of questions but we have not been able to confirm what will happen to Ashurst's shiny India ball.

18 February 2010

Legally India newsletter

In an age-old tradition, Amarchand Mangaldas co-managing partner Shardul Shroff has sent all Delhi office female associates boxes of chocolates this week.

05 February 2010

Legally India newsletterThis week J Sagar Associates (JSA) partner Nishith Dhruva left the firm to set up his own practice. And on good terms too, throwing a party last Friday where most of the firm and partners put on their dancing shoes.

Now that is what is called "amicable".

29 January 2010

Legally India newsletterThe Republic of India celebrated its 60th birthday this short working week.

In Mumbai at least, deserted streets on Tuesday and a pensive time to look back. Also a good week to count chickens, amongst other things.

In Maharashtra and Goa vote counting started for the Bar Council elections - rural turnout in Pune was a staggering 79 per cent, in the city less than 50 per cent. It'll be an interesting fight.

24 January 2010

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180Record-breaking deals were inked this week to much merriment from law firms.

Wadia Ghandy will have been cheering for its client, which won the race in what is apparently the largest cash asset acquisition in Indian corporate history: Wadia's client GTL is buying network operator Aircel's tower business for almost $2bn. Amarchand Mangaldas is the happy advisor to Aircel but the suitor mandate could have gone to any of a number of firms, with a who's who of telecoms majors competing for the same assets. Not bad for early January.

(A second, unrelated reason to cheer at Wadia Ghandy: the firm won the ELP Cricket Masters Cup last weekend, persevering over tournament organiser and defending champions Economic Laws Practice in a dramatic final.)

19 January 2010

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180Amarchand Mangaldas and Desai & Diwanji reigned the 2009 year-end M&A throne by value and total number of deals done respectively, while Khaitan & Co and AZB & Partners sit comfortably near the top in a year of Asian M&A activity keeping a steady keel.

In Legally India's IPO league table for Q3 of the 2009-10 financial year Luthra & Luthra has usurped Khaitan & Co for the runner-up spot behind Amarchand's throne. Together the three firms picked up 49 mandates with a healthy 70-odd IPOs having been file d in that time period.

11 January 2010


Massive lawyer mobility, entrepreneurism and Indian firms becoming global/Asian - what more evidence could there be of a rapidly maturing legal market?

18 December 2009


Almost everything that could happen, did happen this week in Indian law.

And then hell froze over.

Legally India was the first to report one of the biggest items of foreign law firm news in 15 years: the Bombay High Court finally gave its judgment in the infamous case of Lawyers Collective v Ashurst, Chadbourne & Parke and White & Case.

11 December 2009

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180The full swing of Indian shaadi (wedding) season is taking its toll on lawyers' time, with most attending a ceremony seemingly every other day.

Nevertheless, or perhaps especially because time is of the essence, lawyers have been acting quickly this week in the run up to the holidays.

04 December 2009

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180JSA has seen a swap in two very hot practice areas: Khaitan & Co is starting up a competition law practice with JSA talent but in compensation JSA took AZB talent to kick off a direct tax practice.

Kaden Boriss was one of the first Indian firms to convert to limited liability partnership (LLP) this year, even before the implications were completely clear. Seven months later the firm has made up four partners and is happy. We have asked why.

27 November 2009

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180Things usually start out nice and steady and the managing partner wears the star rainmaker cap and every other hat on top of it.

But with greater size come greater responsibilities.

It is therefore not a huge surprise that Amarchand Mumbai has taken on a chief operating officer (COO) to relieve the Shroff family of some of its internal management duties.

That Amarchand has hired a non-Indian COO from the UK is more unusual.


20 November 2009

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180As is to be expected in an adversarial legal system, lawyers are generally a competitive lot, fighting for instructions, poaching talent and besting the opposition in negotiations.

However, while not yet fully-fledged, law students are easily on par with their qualified counterparts in the competitiveness stakes.

Rivalries range from national versus non-national law schools, five-year versus three-year courses, LLMs versus LLBs, North versus South and more or less everyone versus NLS Bangalore.

16 November 2009
LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180This week a cyclone was forecast to ravage Mumbai. Government offices closed at 3pm, slums were evacuated and several law firms shut their doors and sent staff home as a precaution.

However, the cyclone fizzled out and Khaitan & Co managed to go ahead with its new Mumbai office housewarming party, the paint barely dry on the walls.

In Delhi meanwhile, an overheating lamp caused a small fire in Phoenix Legal's office. Just like in Mumbai's supposed cyclone, fortunately no one was hurt and the tiny inferno was brought quickly under control by firefighting lawyers.

But not just forces of nature caused excitement this week.

The Lawyer magazine first reported on Monday that Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi has hired a non Indian-qualified competition law expert from Ireland.

Several law firms have reason to be happy (no, the Advocates Act's restriction on foreign lawyers practising has not been repealed).
06 November 2009

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180The Ambanis yet again dominated the national headlines as the multi-billion dollar dispute between brothers Anil and Mukesh began limping through the Supreme Court.

Then, as though there was not nearly enough drama in the saga, one of the three judges discovered that his daughter was a partner at AZB Bangalore.

04 November 2009

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180Indian law firms have been modernising at breakneck pace, in part spurred by the threat of liberalisation, however distant.

But the backs of many legal minds are still niggled by the concern that innovation in India's actual legal machinery remains largely stagnant.

Tired of the "in India you litigate for 18 years"-joke, transactional lawyer and advocate Elizabeth Seshadri argues how India's Bar and Bench should be saved.

23 October 2009

LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180Legally India is a big fan of South Mumbai but the city's centre of legal gravity is gradually shifting North.

Both Khaitan & Co and Trilegal will take up residence in a new development in Lower Parel, joining Amarchand and several smaller firms in the area.

Last month Phoenix Legal also took a new address above the trendy nightspot Blue Frog in Lower Parel; the new office has a capacity of 30 but the firm is currently only six lawyers strong there.

16 October 2009
LegallyIndia_KianGanz-180The Indian festival season is now in full swing and almost everyone seems to be celebrating already. We will therefore keep this one brief and joyous.

Clifford Chance and AZB have entered a new stage in their friendship as CC has opened up its training academy for a potentially limitless number of AZB associates. Expect queuing.
11 September 2009

mail_at_triLaw schools, law firms and law-related businesses are mushrooming all over the place these days as India does one of the things it does best: building enterprises.

04 September 2009

mail_at_triLaw firms have been seizing the week of Lord Ganesha's birthday to do many interesting things.