The Specter-Litts’ of India: Top 20 Law Firms Every Law Student Must Know

By | May 24, 2018
Top Law firms in India

Last Updated :

INTRODUCTION

Pearson Specter-Litt’, ‘Crane, Poole & Schmidt’ are names that automatically appear in one’s mind, the moment the phrase ‘law firm’ is uttered. These are popular legal enterprises in the television world, where legal dramas have become extremely popular. They are flamboyant and extravagant firms that hire only the Crème de la crème of law graduates from America’s most elite law schools.

Although it is mostly similar to what happens in actuality, the television counterparts tend to be an exaggerated scenario causing a large misperception about the lives of lawyers. Essentially, a law firm is a business entity formed by multiple lawyers who practice law. They provide legal services and advice to their clientèle, which consists of both companies as well as individuals.

Some law firms like Allen & Overy specialize only in a particular field (Human Rights) whereas firms like Doughty Street Chambers works extensively in multiple fields such as criminal justice, public law, immigration, employment and so on. The manner in which a law firm is organized varies in different countries. Some forms are:

  • Sole proprietorship, in which the attorney is the law firm and is responsible for all profit, loss, and liability;

  • A general partnership, in which all the attorneys who are members of the firm share ownership, profits and liabilities;

  • Professional corporations, which issue stock to the attorneys in a fashion similar to that of a business corporation;

  • Limited liability company, in which the attorney-owners are called “members” but are not directly liable to third party creditors of the law firm

The field of law is a highly competitive and cutthroat market and firms are on the lookout to hire the best and brightest law graduates to make their firm stand out in comparison to others.

RSG Consulting India

In India, several journals and magazines conduct research into the legal market to identify which are the best-ranking law firms in the country. The most prominent and reliable out of those reports is the one formulated by RSG Consulting. RSG Consulting is a legal strategy and research business. They have been publishing an investigation into the Indian legal market since 2009, and this year is their 6th report. The reports are widely covered in the Financial Times, the Times, on Bloomberg and our findings are used in a publication by Harvard ‘The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization’.

The Methodology

The RSG India top 40 Ranking for 2017 is based on extensive research into over 250 Indian law firms and reviews from over 450 clients.

The TOTAL SCORE out of 40 is the sum of weighted and banded scores for the following four criteria:

1. CAPACITY (out of 10): number of partners, lawyers, offices, leverage ratios, and ability to handle large-scale work.

2. PROFILE (out of 10): market profile, including the number of spontaneous mentions and recommendations the firm received in independent client interviews.

3. QUALITY OF MANDATE (out of 10): an analysis of the firm’s client base and recent work, including their major directory rankings.

4. CLIENT SATISFACTION (out of 10): the average satisfaction score from the firm’s own clients on 12 key indicators.

The Top 20

It is fundamental for every Indian law student to be aware of the highest ranking firms in the country. Knowing about the nation’s top legal entities, allows students to aspire and hope to be a part of firms that make an effect and change the legal world every day. As per the RSG India Report, these are the top 20 law firms in India as of 2017 –

  1. AZB & Partners

  2. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

  3. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

  4. Khaitan & Co

  5. Trilegal

  6. J. Sagar Associates

  7. Luthra & Luthra Law Offices

  8. S&R Associates

  9. Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

  10. Nishith Desai Associates

  11. Kochhar & Co

  12. Economic Laws Practice

  13. Anand and Anand

  14. Talwar Thakore & Associates

  15. Bharucha & Partners

  16. Platinum Partners

  17. Link Legal – India Law Services

  18. Phoenix Legal

  19. Desai & Diwanji

  20. HSA Advocates

AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners is one of the top corporate law firms in India, active inter alia in Mergers & Acquisitions, Joint Ventures & General Corporate, Private Equity, Banking & Finance, Infrastructure & Project Finance, Real Estate, Arbitration and Litigation, Regulatory Advisory with offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. The firm’s senior partners are Ajay Bahl, Zia Mody, and Bahram Vakil.

Arbitration, Aviation, Banking, Finance, Capital Markets, Competition, Antitrust, Corporate M&A, Financial Regulatory, Fund Formation, Insurance, Intellectual Property are some fields they specialize in. India today has placed the firms’ revenue at Rs. 300 crores.

Their website – http://www.azbpartners.com/

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co is a full-service Indian law firm. The firm came into existence after its predecessor Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co was split into two after a dispute emerged between the two managing partners of the firm who were heading the Delhi and Mumbai office separately. The firm has 7 offices at New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kolkata.

They specialise in Arbitration, Aviation, Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Competition & Antitrust, Corporate M&A, Financial Regulatory, Fund Formation, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Joint Ventures, Litigation, Private Clients, Private Equity, Projects & Infrastructure, Real Estate, Tax, White Collar Crime, Insolvency & Bankruptcy and so on. Shardul S. Shroff is the executive chairman of the firm while Pallavi Shroff is the managing partner of the firm.

Their website – http://www.amsshardul.com/

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas is a full-service Indian law firm, headquartered in Mumbai, India. The firm came into existence on May 11, 2015, from its predecessor Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co. A national leader in the area of corporate and finance, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas ranks as one of the most prestigious law firms in India.

The firm is located across India at Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Chennai. Their main practice areas are Arbitration, Aviation, Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Competition & Antitrust, Corporate M&A, Financial Regulatory, Fund Formation, Insurance, Intellectual Property and Joint Ventures. Cyril Shroff is the managing partner of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

Their website – http://www.cyrilshroff.com/

Khaitan & Co

Khaitan & Co is one of India’s oldest and full-service law firms. Founded in 1911 by Debi Prasad Khaitan, a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and one of the 7 members of the Drafting Committee which framed the Constitution of India. The key practice areas are Banking & Finance, Capital markets, Competition Law/Antitrust, Corporate/M&A, Dispute Resolution, Energy, Hospitality, Infrastructure & Resources, Environment, Intellectual Property, Funds, Labour & Employment, Private Client and Trusts, Private Equity, Real Estate, Taxation(Direct and Indirect tax), Technology, Media & Telecom and White Collar Crime. They have branches in New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Mumbai.

Their website – https://www.khaitanco.com/

Trilegal

Trilegal is a law firm founded in 2000. It has five offices in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Gurgaon. The firm provides services in areas of real estate, infrastructure, energy, technology and IT-enabled services, M&A, Capital Markets, Private Equity, capital funds, corporate and commercial disputes, intellectual property and banking.

Their website – http://www.trilegal.com/

J Sagar Associates

J Sagar Associates, which is commonly known as JSA, is an Indian law firm. It was founded by Jyoti Sagar in 1991. The firm now has offices in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. Their main practice areas include Arbitration, Aviation, Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Competition & Antitrust, Corporate M&A, Financial Regulatory, Fund Formation, Insurance, Joint Ventures, Litigation, Private Equity, Projects & Infrastructure, Real Estate, and Tax.

Their website – http://www.jsalaw.com/

Luthra & Luthra Law Offices

Luthra & Luthra Law Offices was established in 1990 is an Indian law firm with offices in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Its founder and managing partner are Rajiv Luthra, who runs the firm jointly with senior partner Mohit Saraf. Their main practice areas include Insurance, Intellectual Property, Joint Ventures, Litigation, Private Clients, Private Equity, Projects & Infrastructure, Real Estate, Tax, White Collar Crime, Defence, Policy & Regulatory, International Trade/WTO, Employment, Projects, Infrastructure & Energy.

Their website – http://www.luthra.com/home.asp

S&R Associates

S&R Associates is a law firm with offices in New Delhi and Mumbai providing legal services to Indian and international clients. It was founded in 2005 and specializes in Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Equity, Litigation and Arbitration, Capital Markets, Banking, Finance and Restructuring, General Corporate, Competition/Antitrust, Private Client Practice, Employment.

Their website – http://www.snrlaw.in

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan is a full-service law firm founded by V Lakshmikumaran and V Sridharan in 1985. The firm has one of the largest law practices in India with over 350 attorneys and professionals who have provided litigation, consulting and advisory services to clients in India and overseas for over 30 years. Their key practice areas are Indirect tax, direct tax, international arbitration & commercial dispute resolution, competition law, intellectual property rights, technology law, corporate advisory, customs & international trade, and food safety law. They have offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Allahabad.

Their website – https://www.lakshmisri.com/

Nishith Desai Associates (NDA)

Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) established in 1989 is a research based international law firm with offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Singapore, New York, Palo Alto & Munich It specialises in arbitration, banking & finance, capital markets, competition/antitrust, corporate M&A, financial regulatory, fund formation, IP, joint ventures, litigation, private clients, tax, white-collar crime, cross-border, employment, regulatory & public policy.

Their website – http://www.nishithdesai.com/

Kochhar & Co

Mr. Rohit Kochhar, Chairman & Managing Partner, established the Firm in 1994. Their key areas of practice are Arbitration, Banking & Finance, Competition & Antitrust, Insurance, Joint Ventures, Private Clients, Projects & Infrastructure, Shipping, White Collar Crime, Aviation, Capital Markets, Corporate M&A, Fund Formation, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Private Equity, Real Estate, Tax (Direct & In-direct), TMT, Labour & Employment.

The firm has offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad & Agra, Overseas: Dubai, Singapore, Atlanta & Jeddah (affiliate office). They represent some of the largest companies from North America, Europe, South-East Asia and Japan including 75 of the Global Fortune 500 corporations.

Their website – http://www.kochhar.com/

Economic Laws Practice

Economic Laws Practice (“ELP”) is a leading full-service law firm based in Mumbai. The Firm was established in 2001 by eminent lawyers from diverse fields. Their areas of expertise include Banking & Finance; Competition Law & Policy; Corporate & Commercial; Hospitality; Infrastructure; International Trade & Customs; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Private Equity & Venture Capital; Securities Laws & Capital Markets; Tax; and Telecommunication, Media & Technology (TMT). They have offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Chennai.

Their website – http://elplaw.in/

Anand and Anand

Anand and Anand is a full-service IP law firm, providing end-to-end legal solutions covering all cross-sections of Intellectual Property and allied areas. It was founded in 1923 and is located in Mumbai, Noida, Delhi & Chennai. The firm is professionally managed by a Partnership board comprising 23 Partners. It regularly deals with protection of IP and contentious matters in different forums including the Courts at all levels, the Patent Offices, the Trademark Offices, the Copyright Office, the Design Office, Intellectual Property Appellate Board, WIPO and National Internet Exchange of India.

Their website – http://www.anandandanand.com/

Talwar, Thakore & Associates

Talwar, Thakore & Associates also known as TT&A, has a market leading corporate practice, advising on some of the most significant and challenging transactions in this market, across a wide range of industry sectors. It has offices in Mumbai and Delhi and was founded in 2007. The key practice areas are Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Competition & Antitrust, Corporate M&A, Financial Regulatory, Insurance, Joint Ventures, Private Equity, Projects & Infrastructure.

Bharucha & Partners

Bharucha & Partners was founded in March 2008 by M. P. Bharucha, Alka Bharucha and Justin Bharucha. expertise in corporate and commercial practice with mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, litigation, arbitration, capital markets and financial regulation. They have expertise in corporate and commercial practice with mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, litigation, arbitration, capital markets and financial regulation. They are located in Mumbai and Delhi.

Their website – http://www.bharucha.in/

Platinum Partners

Platinum Partners is an Indian corporate law firm founded on 1 May 2008. It has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bangalore. The firm specializes in mergers & acquisitions, private equity & venture capital, fund formation, projects & infrastructure, securities law including delistings, competition/anti-trust, employment laws and investigations and advises many large international and domestic clients.

Link Legal India Law Services

Link Legal India Law Services is a full-service law firm with offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Hyderabad, and Chennai. The Firm was established in 1999. It has recently strengthened its national spread through a merger with DH Law Associates which further builds its bench strength in major Indian cities. The firm’s client base consists of India’s leading business groups, public sector undertakings, public & private sector banks, and international companies operating in India.

Their website – http://www.linklegal.in/

Phoenix Legal

Phoenix Legal is one of India’s foremost full-service law firms, offering an extensive range of transactional, regulatory, advisory and dispute resolution services. It is based out of Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. It mainly focuses on Arbitration, Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Competition & Antitrust, Corporate M&A, Financial Regulatory, Fund Formation, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Joint Ventures, Litigation, Private Clients, Private Equity, Projects & Infrastructure, Real Estate, Shipping, Tax & White Collar Crime.

Their website – http://www.phoenixlegal.in/

Desai and Diwanji

Desai and Diwanji were established in 1935 and has offices in Mumbai, Delhi& Gurgaon. The main practice areas of this firm are Arbitration, aviation, banking & finance, capital markets, competition & antitrust, corporate M&A, financial regulatory, fund formation, insurance, IP, joint ventures, litigation, private clients, private equity, projects & infrastructure, real estate, shipping & white collar crime.

HSA Advocates

The firm was established in 2003 and is one of India’s top firms. The firm has a well-established full service capability to serve clients across multiple industries and sectors including Automotive, Aviation, Banks and Financial Institutions, E-commerce, Education, Energy including Renewable Energy, Environment, Health and Safety, Hospitality and Healthcare, Infrastructure-urban and rural, Insurance, Manufacturing, Media and Entertainment, Mining and Exploration, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceuticals, PPP Projects, Real Estate, Retail and FMCG, Services Sector, Smart Cities, Transport, Telecommunication, IT and software. They have offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru.

Their website – https://www.hsalegal.com/

CONCLUSION

The legal market in India is a mushrooming sector. With the growth in a number of law institutions as well as the perking interest in students to study the law, it has become immensely important for students to be aware of the firms that are truly revamping the legal world. These firms provide a fantastic base platform for students as well as attractive starting salary packages. The opportunity to work with some of the world’s most famous corporations and companies, as well as the takeaways from leading lawyers, will provide a great learning arc to budding lawyers.


– Nirupama V Shankar

(The Tamilnadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University)


REFERENCES

1. http://rsg-india.com/rankings


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