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Fresh senior counsel Ritin Rai (DU ‘95) takes tenancy at UK barristers chambers 7KBW

Ritin Rai latest Indian lawyer to join the English (arbitration) bar
Ritin Rai latest Indian lawyer to join the English (arbitration) bar

Senior counsel and 1995 Delhi University law graduate Ritin Rai, who was bestowed the senior counsel title by the Supreme Court earlier this year, has joined London barristers’ chambers 7 King’s Bench Walk as a door tenant, according to its press release.

Tenancy in English barristers chambers essentially boils down to a bunch of barristers sharing rents, clerks and other overheads, as well as marketing expenses. Door tenancy usually means that the arrangement with the chambers is not exclusive. That said, tenancy is not generally easy to get (demand usually far outstrips supply).

Rai said that his Delhi-based work as a senior would not change significantly after entering into a tenancy with the chambers: “This is just an international dispute facet of it when I get work that is international, it’ll go through chambers, and it hopefully it increases my availability to get those kinds of matters.”

“I continue my Delhi practice exactly as it was.”

7 KBW head of chambers Gavin Kealey QC said in a press release: “Ritin will be a huge asset to 7 KBW, increasing its talent and extending its reach in the world; and 7 KBW will be an ideal chambers from where Ritin’s already recognised skills, expertise and reputation will blossom even further.”

Rai had also completed a BCL from Oxford University in 1997 and an LLM from Harvard Law School in 1998, qualifying as a US lawyer.

He then worked at US-international law firm Jones Day’s Cleveland, Ohio head-office for two years, followed by its then-Indian-best-friend-firm Pathak & Associates from 2000 until 2003.

Rai went independent as an advocate in 2004.

He focuses primarily on regulatory disputes. He has also previously acted as Indian law expert to English courts, mandates which he expected to increase, he said.

(Rai’s move, of course, also belies any arguments against liberalisation of the Indian legal market based on first demanding reciprocity of legal practice in jurisdictions such as England).

However, despite joining Rai is not qualified as an English lawyer and said it was unlikely that he would: “There’s enough Indian law work which is international, whether inbound or outbound.”

Incidentally, Rai is married to recently-appointed Oxford University Prof Lavanya Rajamani, who had moved to the UK last month.

Notwithstanding that, Rai said that he would probably not spend weeks or months at a time in London for work.

Joining the English bar has been increasingly common for Indian seniors.

In 2013, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium joined 3 Verulam Buildings while Harish Salve joined Blackstone Chambers, where he is understood to be spending much of the summer months on his primarily-arbitration practice.

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