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Editorial

Overview

 

At the time of research, it was a year since Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister of India. His pro-business approach brought a renewed sense of optimism to the country and made a positive impact on the legal market. Key reforms have been introduced allowing increased foreign investment in sectors such as rail and defence, deregulation of fuel prices, and private competition in coal mining. India’s economy has stabilised, mainly due to the drop in oil prices, but further important reforms are yet to be implemented and these remain crucial for sustained economic growth.

 

 

Law firms report that banking and finance and capital markets work remain quiet as the necessary reforms to galvanise the financial sector have not yet been implemented, resulting in the continuation of lack of new loan availability. Corporate and M&A has had a mixed year as businesses remain cautious about new mandates. On the contentious front, activity in the dispute resolution arena has a healthy outlook with firms receiving a steady flow of new cases, particularly in the context of international arbitration. Projects work is also providing fertile ground for instructions, thanks to state investment in infrastructure.

 

 

The biggest news in India’s legal landscape in 2015 has been the dissolution of India’s largest law firm Amarchand & Suresh A Shroff & Co. As a result, two new firms have launched by the firm’s former managing partners and brothers, Shardul Shroff and Cyril Shroff. The former now runs Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, and the latter has opened Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Already, they make up a significant part of the competitive legal market together with other key players such as AZB & Partners, Luthra & Luthra, J Sagar Associates, Trilegal and Khaitan & Co.. Boutiques Tuli & Co (for insurance), Anand and Anand (for IP) and Karanjawala & Company (for dispute resolution) are also worthy of note. Following the demerger of Rajani, Singhania & Partners in late 2015, name partners Prem Rajani and Ravi Singhania now head up Rajani Associates and Singhania & Partners respectively.

 

 

Foreign firms continue to request permission to operate in the country, and the Bar Council of India has agreed (in principle) to stop opposing their entry ‘provided there is a reciprocal action by foreign governments’. With India’s significant amount of cross-border activity, international firms are following these developments with close attention.

 

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