We expect to see groups of partners and teams from large law firms break away to set up on their own. The goal will be to establish a reputed, high-quality law firm that is well suited to partnering with international law firms.
Attrition levels will increase as a result of (a) younger lawyers opting for higher education breaks; (b) lateral movement of dual qualified lawyers to ILFs; (c) lateral movement to other firms, as a second-order effect. This will be accompanied by a rise in remuneration levels, an increase in campus hires, and an increase in lateral hiring from mid-size and boutique firms.
Our survey with clients shows that fee levels are likely to rise with the entry of ILFs. See the full analysis of the GC survey here. The biggest beneficiary of this will be the large law firms that dominate ‘experience’ and ‘expertise’ related work, as defined in the table below.
Boutique firms may find it harder to attract good talent and improve profitability levels. This may result in them combining with similarly sized firms to create mid-sized firms. There’s also the prospect of them being acquired by larger firms, especially as the Indian legal market moves steadily towards efficiency and economies of scale.
The regulatory space—shaped by the Advocates Act 1961 and the BCI Code of Conduct—is one to particularly watch out for. The Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) has raised some sticky points around the entry of ILFs. These include the matters of restrictions on advertising and success fee arrangements on domestic lawyers. In the coming months, we can expect to see clarifications as the BCI and domestic stakeholders work to address concerns about ILFs gaining unfettered access to the Indian market at the cost of domestic firms.
We'd love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on India's legal liberalization and its impact on the industry.
Your input is invaluable to us, and we invite you to share your point of view or experiences related to this evolving landscape. Please feel free to write back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's engage in a constructive dialogue and contribute to shaping the future of India's legal sector together!
Experienced Professionals - Part 1
Lawyers with cross-border deal experience and international arbitration expertise will be in high demand. There will be a premium on dual-qualified lawyers (DQLs), especially those with ILF experience. We will see movement of DQLs to ILFs looking to strengthen their India-oriented practices. Such…
International Law Firms - Part 3
We are already seeing increased recruitment activity around India-oriented practices. These are primarily in the areas of M&A, Disputes and Banking & Finance, out of the UK or Asia. The demand is primarily for lateral lawyers in other international firms, who also have an India-focus as…
Corporate Legal Departments - Part 4
We conducted a survey with our client community for an understanding of how the entry of foreign law firms into the Indian market would affect their engagement with external legal counsel. The survey was attempted by 78 professionals, including General Counsel, Head-Legal, CFOs, CEOs, and Founders…
Litigators and Chambers - Part 5
One of the stated objectives of liberalisation is to make India a preferred destination for international commercial arbitration. International lawyers are being encouraged to represent their clients in international arbitration being held in India. But the BCI Rules and subsequent clarifications…
Law Students - Part 6
India’s demographic dividend is expected to pay out over the next couple of decades, with the country expected to host the world’s largest working population by 2030. The entry of international firms will create increased demand for talent in Indian law firms, in-house legal teams, chambers and in Legal Tech.