India 2016 – GC Powerlist
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India 2016

  • Industries

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Abhijit Mukhopadhyay

President of legal and general counsel | Hinduja Group

Abhijit Mukhopadhyay heads the central legal function at Hinduja Group, one of the largest diversified conglomerates in the world. While the group’s companies are located in a number of jurisdictions...

Aditi Jha

General counsel (India) | LinkedIn

Aditi Jha joined LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking service, in 2016. Prior to joining the company as general counsel (India) and member of the Indian leadership team, Jha worked at...

Ajay Dua

Regional counsel - India and South Asia | IBM

Ajay Dua gained his Bachelors in Law in 1996 at Delhi University, before obtaining his Diploma in Law, English and European Commercial and Corporate Laws in 2000 at the University...

Akhil Prasad

Country counsel India | Boeing International Corporation

With experience gained from working at a selection of some of the most recognisable and prestigious global companies, Dr. Akhil Prasad possesses career highlights that few in the legal market...

Akhilesh Nand

Vice president and head of global legal | Biocon

Akhilesh Nand joined Biocon, India’s largest biopharmaceuticals company, as vice president and global head of legal in mid-2015. He arrived with almost unparalleled experience in the sector, having helped Ranbaxy...

Akshat Sulalit

Head of legal and general counsel | ibibo Group

Handpicked at university by India’s biggest conglomerate, Reliance Industries, Akshat Sulalit spent his first four years of his career supporting their central legal team and was exposed to the legal...

Amar Kumar Sundram

National director of legal and general counsel | EY

Amar Kumar Sundram has gained more than 20 years of experience working in Indian corporations. Since 1994, he has held head of legal positions at companies including Idea Cellular, Reliance...

Anand Srivastava

Associate general counsel/company secretary | PricewaterhouseCoopers

After two years at India Aluminium Company as a management trainee, Anand Srivastava joined multinational professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 1999. Rising through the ranks at one of the...

Anand Vardhan

Senior vice president of legal | Piramal Corporate Services

As senior vice president for legal at Piramal, one of the most diversified major conglomerates in India, Anand Vardhan has a particular focus on financial legal matters; including, funds, finance,...

Ananthanarayan K V

General counsel | Honeywell India

Ananthanarayan K V initially graduated as a bachelor of science before receiving his bachelor of laws degree from Bangalmore University. His skills in corporate law, legal research and due diligence...

Anju Jain Kumar

Assistant regional legal council | The Walt Disney Company India

After developing an interest in intellectual property (IP) rights as a paralegal, Anju Jain Kumar moved to law firm Anand & Anand’s IP practice, and studied an LL.M in New...

Arpita Mukherjee

Head of legal | Metro Cash & Carry

With over 20 years of professional experience, Arpita Mukherjee has extensive experience of negotiating contracts for financial services, information technology, telecoms and retail companies. Before taking her first head of...

Ashish Chandra

Group general counsel and head of taxation | Snapdeal

Since qualifying as a lawyer in 2001, Ashish Chandra has spent his career in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry with large industry players such as NCR Corporation, Geometric...

Ashok Barimar

Senior vice president (legal) and general counsel | Jet Airways

After graduating in 1974, Ashok Barimar’s professional career began in Bangalore as an advocate. After spells as a deputy personnel officer, law officer and assistant manager (legal and personnel) at...

Ashok Gupta

General counsel | Aditya Birla Group

When the Aditya Birla Group needed to bolster its legal operation to match its hectic M&A activity in 2009, it turned to Ashok Gupta who was at Hindustan Unilever at...

Atanu Sarkar

Group general counsel | Tech Mahindra Group

Atanu Sarkar currently leads a team of 25 highly skilled legal professionals at Tech Mahindra Group, an Indian information technology provider with over 107,000 professionals operating in 90 countries. Having...

Atul Juvle

General counsel, compliance officer and company secretary for India and South Asia | Schindler India

Established in 1998, Schindler India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Schindler Holding, the worldwide manufacturer of escalators, elevators and moving walkways. Before joining the company in 2014 as general...

Atul Sud

Senior vice president and general counsel | Mylan

Atul Sud is a professional with nearly 25 years of professional experience, both as a practicing advocate and in-house counsel. He has worked with leading counsel and law firms representing...

Badrinath Durvasula

Senioe vice president and head of legal | Adani Group

Currently heading the legal department responsible for M&A, contracting, litigation and arbitration at Indian multinational conglomerate Adani Group, Badrinath Durvasula has a distinguished pedigree in the in-house legal market. His...

Bharat Vasani

Group general counsel | Tata Group

The extent of Bharat Vasani’s role at Tata Sons – the principal investment holding company and promoter of Tata companies, commonly known as Tata Group – is broad enough to...

Bhushan Gokhale

Chief counsel India | Eaton Technologies

Bhushan Gokhale has headed legal teams in India since 1997. His first seven and a half years were spent at KPIT Cummins Infosystems, a global IT consulting and product engineering...

Chakradhar Varadarajan

Head of corporate legal | Godrej Industries

Described by a former colleague as ‘meticulous in his work and well organised’, Chakradhar Varadarajan is a seasoned lawyer with 25 years of in-house legal experience. After spells at Tata...

Debolina Partap

General counsel | Wockhardt

After 13 years of working at IDBI Bank, the Indian government-owned financial institution, Debolina Partap joined Wockhardt, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company headquartered in Mumbai. She joined as head of...

Deepak Jacob

President and general counsel of legal and regulatory affairs | Star India

Heading up the 75-strong legal team at media and entertainment company Star India, Deepak Jacob fulfils an important position at one of India’s most prominent broadcasters. The career path to...

Dipali Talwar

Group general counsel | Tata Steel

After working as a litigator at the High Court at Delhi and the Supreme Court of India, Dipali Talwar moved on to handling ‘seminal’ constitutional, civil and criminal law cases....

Divya Kumat

Head legal and company secretary | Datamatics Global Services

Datamatics is a global IT and business process outsourcing organisation, which works with a number of Fortune 500 Companies globally. Divya Kumat joined the company in 2004 as senior vice...

Douglas Barrie

General counsel | Reliance Industries

With over 25 years’ worth of global corporate and transactional experience in the oil and gas industry, Douglas Barrie is one of the most seasoned counsel practicing in India today....

Gaurav Arora

General counsel and commpany secretary | Huawei Telecommunications (India)

Prior to occupying his current position Gaurav Arora spent the majority of his career with two listed companies, both of which had overseas investments from venture capitalist and renowned financial...

Gautam Rohidekar

Chief legal officer | Cipla

Since 2003 Gautam Rohidekar has held high profile roles such as head of legal at Infosys BPO, the business process outsourcing subsidiary of Infosys, vice president legal at Obopay, a...

Girish Gadgil

Senior general manager and head of legal | Mahindra & Mahindra

Girish Gadgil began his legal career in 1994 at Indian Oil Corporation, India’s national oil company. Staying there for 13 years, Gadgil held a number of positions, and eventually becoming...

Hitesh Mehra

General counsel South Asia | Nokia

With over 16 years of holistic industry experience with a focus on corporate and commercial law, distinguished general counsel Hitesh Mehra has become a leading professional in the industry. He...

Howard Armstrong

Senior vice president, legal | Reliance Industries

Now a legal specialist in commercial transactions, joint ventures, M&A and restructurings Howard Armstrong has always been a gifted academic, having attended Princeton University and Stanford Law School. Between his...

Inderpreet Sawhney

Senior vice president and general counsel | Wipro

Prior to joining Wipro, a leading information technology, consulting and outsourcing company, Inderpreet Sawhney gained five year’s in-house experience at ITC, and 14 years at Silicon Valley law firm The...

Jasmeet Singh Wadehra

Head of legal - power | Vedanta Resources

Before joining the global diversified metals and mining group, Vedanta, in 2015, Jasmeet Singh Wadehra gained legal experience in private practice, and with law firm Dua Associates. He went on...

Jigar Shah

General counsel India | JP Morgan India

Corporate banking and securities expert Jigar Shah has been among the most influential lawyers in the development of India’s financial services market. He was a member of a committee at...

Jitendra Kumar Bodha

Executive director and chief legal officer | Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), India’s second largest publicly traded company and largest oil and gas exploration and production company, plays a key part in the country’s economy. Operating...

K.S. Suresh

General counsel | ITC

After spending over seven years at the Bar in Coimbatore, covering a wide spectrum of civil law work both in litigation and transactions, K S Suresh joined ITC, an Indian...

Kapil Chaudhary

Corporate counsel - India corporate counsel - South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) | Autodesk India

When Kapil Chaudhary was offered the chance to join the Indian operations of US-headquartered Autodesk, a leading manufacturer of software, in mid-2015, he saw an opportunity to work on the...

Kumar Das

General counsel | Vodafone India

Telecommunication services

Kumar Das started his legal career in 1989 when he joined Hindustan Unilever as a management trainee in the legal department. Years of dedication to Hindustan Unilever led to his...

Kurian Joseph

Vice president legal | Ballarpur Industries

Ballarpur Industries is India’s largest manufacturer of writing and printing paper, which has revenues of approximately $3bn and is part of the Avantha Group. Before his arrival at the company,...

Lokanath Kar

Head of legal and compliance | ICICI Lombard General Insurance


Lokanath Kar gained extensive experience of Indian corporate and financial laws whilst acting as a practitioner at the Bar Council of Delhi. He then moved to Escorts Group, one of...

Madhu Katri

Associate general counsel | Microsoft India

Since 1996, Madhu Katri has been building her formidable in-house legal career at large multinational companies. PricewaterhouseCoopers, GE Healthcare and Wipro have all benefitted from her legal and operational expertise,...

Madhu Sivaram Muttathi

Chief legal counsel– India and South Asia | Avaya India

After four years as a practicing litigation advocate and time spent at leading Indian law firms Thakkar & Thakkar and Juris Corp, Madhu Sivaram Muttathi first moved in-house in 2003,...

Meera Vanjari

Senior vice president and general counsel | Glenmark Pharmaceuticals


Meera Vanjari has almost two decades of legal experience, working at the highest levels of private practice and in-house roles. Initially serving at law firm Mulla & Mulla & Craigie...

Mrinal Sinha

Managing counsel, downstream India and legal focal point, downstream Middle East | Shell India

Before joining Shell India, Mrinal Sinha worked at reputable Mumbai law firms Swarup & Co., Kochhar & Co. and DSK Legal between 1994 and 2006. Since then he has been...

Mukesh Bhavani

Group general counsel | Bharti Enterprises

After completing his LL.B in 1978 at Bombay University and then becoming an accredited company secretary in 1981, Mukesh Bhavnani took the role of general manager of legal, purchases and...

Natasha Fernandes

Head of legal - India | B4U Television

Natasha Fernandes went in-house immediately after the completion of her legal studies in 2002, joining GP Consultants & Developers, a property development firm, as a legal officer. After gaining exposure...

Naveen Raju

Group general counsel and senior vice president | Mahindra & Mahindra

Naveen Raju, currently the group general counsel and senior vice president (group legal) of automobile conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra, can look back on a career in the legal business world...

Navodit Mehra

General manager, legal and compliance for South West Asia | Samsung Electronics

Navodit Mehra is an in-house lawyer with over 20 years of experience in various industries. He has held coveted positions such as vice president legal, head of legal and compliance...

Neena Gupta

Group general counsel | InterGlobe Enterprises

After eight years at law firm J. Sagar Associates (JSA), Neena Gupta moved in-house when joining InterGlobe Enterprises, a leader in aviation, hospitality and travel related services. She became the...

Neeta Sanghavi

Head of legal | Credit Suisse

Neeta Sanghavi has aspired to be a lawyer since she was a child, and recalls that she was ‘fascinated by lawyers from a very young age’. Now in her current...

Nilanjan Sinha

Head of legal, compliance and public affairs for Indian subcontinent | Marsh India

Nilanjan Sinha has gathered two decades of in-house experience in marketing-leading companies: India’s leading battery manufacturing company (Exide Industries), India’s largest private sector bank (ICICI), India’s fastest growing private bank...

P.M. Devaiah

Partner and general counsel | Everstone Capital Advisors

In over 25 years of corporate in-house experience, P M Devaiah has worked at some of India’s largest and most succesful companies including Tata Projects, Hindustan Unilever, Bio Products Laboratory,...

P.S.N. Prasad

Legal adviser | Reserve Bank of India


Described by one nominator as a ‘focused and dedicated professional’, P.S.N. Prasad joined the Reserve Bank of India, India’s central banking institution, in 1998. Prior to this he had a...

Pawan Singhal

Executive director of legal and general counsel | 3M India

Since 2014, Pawan Singhal has served as executive director – legal and general counsel for the Indian subsidiary of US multinational conglomerate 3M. Singhal is a senior legal professional, with...

Pramod Rao

General counsel - India | Citibank


Pramod Rao’s in-house career began in 1996 at ICICI Bank. In under 10 years at the Indian multinational banking and financial services company, Rao was promoted to the position of...

Prarabdha Jaipuriar

General counsel for the Indian subcontinent | Suez India

In 2013, seasoned general counsel Prarabdha Jaipuriar joined Suez India, a waste collection and water resource company that provides solutions to address new resource management challenges for commercial and consumer...

Priyanka Sinha

Chief officer – legal, compliance and corporate affairs | Yum! Brands India

Yum! Brands, the largest restaurant chain in the world and the company behind KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, operates around 800 outlets in India. Overseeing legal, compliance and corporate...

Pujarini Guha Maulik

Director and associate general counsel | InMobi

Pujarini Guha Maulik, associate general counsel of pioneering Indian online advertising firm InMobi, points to the volatility of the advertising technology market and a constantly evolving legal framework when discussing...

Pulin Kumar

Group senior legal and compliance director | adidas India

Pulin Kumar has built up a wealth of in-house experience since qualifying from Delhi University in 1991. He has worked at numerous Indian and multinational conglomerates such as Montari Industries,...

Rajeev Chopra

Managing director of legal | Accenture

Rajeev Chopra spent 10 years as a litigator in a corporate commercial practice before moving in-house in 2003. He represented many multinational corporations on various legal issues and transactions during...

Rajeev Uberoi

Group general counsel and group head of legal and compiance | Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC)

Dr Rajeev Uberoi is one of India’s most respected banking and finance lawyers. A specialist in operational risk management with more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector,...

Rajendra Misra

General counsel | Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

The Taj Group has been one of the leaders in India’s hospitality sector ever since Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, founder of the Tata Group, opened the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai...

Rajesh Bragga

President and group general counsel | Reliance ADA Group

Graduating in 1980 from the Law Faculty of Jammu University, Rajesh Bragga has enjoyed over 30 years of in-house experience. From 1996 to 2009 Bragga was at Hindustan Unilever where...

Rajiv Bakshi

Senior vice president and general counsel | JSW Steel

JSW Steel, part of the JSW Group conglomerate, is the largest private-sector steel company in India by market capitalisation. With 2015-16 revenues of over $5bn and over 11,000 employees, the...

Rajneesh Jaswal

General counsel | Michelin India

Known for his pragmatism in business and his ability to get things done, Rajneesh Jaswal has worked in-house since leaving his litigation practice in 2004. During successful spells at major...

Rashmi Kathpalia

Senior vice president and legal head | Technip Group

Rashmi Kathpalia gained a wealth of experience as a litigator between 1988 and 1998 in the Supreme Court of India and various High Courts and Tribunals. Representing and advising various...

Ravi Rajagopal

Executive vice president and global head of legal, governance and risk | Crompton Greaves

Ravi Rajagopal joined Mumbai-based multinational Crompton Greaves in 2014 as its global head of legal, governance and risk. A member of the Avantha Group, one of India’s largest conglomerates, the...

Ravi Sachdev

Group general counsel | Fortis Healthcare

With over 40 years of legal professional experience, Ravi Sachdev is one the most experienced in-house lawyers in India. After two years as a legal manager he joined Imperial Chemical...

Rohit Kumar

General counsel | UPL

Rohit Kumar is an eminent and well respected in-house lawyer whose achievements have seen him singled out for praise by the industry press. After completing his university education, Kumar rose...

Roop Loomba

General manager, legal | Philips Lighting India

Starting her legal career as a junior lawyer in a criminal law chambers, Roop Loomba also had a spell at Delhi-based law firm Amarjeet & Associates before moving to an...

Sabira Kadri

Head of legal | Phoenix Mills

As head of the legal department for the retail arm of Phoenix Mills, Sabira Khadri has a varied portfolio of responsibilities. Overseeing the work of over 55 legal and leasing...

Sameer Chugh

Legal director (SE Asia) | Bharti Airtel

Described by peers as ‘a very clear headed, driven professional’ with a ‘problem solving approach’, Sameer Chugh is a well-respected legal adviser with almost 20 years of professional experience. After...

Sameer Guha

India legal counsel | Mars International India

A hugely experienced legal professional with an extensive career at many top-ranking firms in India, Sameer Guha took on the role of India legal counsel at Mars International in August...

Sanjay Nambiar

Group president and general counsel | Yes Bank


Founded in 2004, Yes Bank has grown to become India’s fifth largest private bank. Sanjay Nambiar joined the company in late 2010 and, according to nominators, has shown ‘masterful judgement...

Sanjit Kaur Batra

Legal head (South Asia) | DuPont

After graduating in law at Kurukshetra University in 2000, Sanjit Kaur Batra began her legal career as an associate at the Punjab & Haryana High Court. After two years there,...

Sanker Parameswaran

General counsel, compliance officer and company secretary | ICICI Bank


Since obtaining his master’s degree in law from the University of Mumbai, Sanker Parameswaran has gained over 30 years of professional experience in the legal and secretarial field. Before joining...

Saugata Chakravarty

General counsel for South Asia | Siemens

Now general counsel for the South Asia cluster at Siemens, a German multinational engineering company, Saugata Chakravarty can look back on a career that saw him undertake a rapid progression...

Shahana Basu

Legal and regulatory affairs director | Max India

Shahana Basu is an experienced corporate lawyer with extensive global experience advising and managing legal and business issues across a full breadth of operations of multinational companies. Between 1998 and...

Shelly Kohli

Assistant general counsel | Levi Strauss & Co.

“Between 1997 and 2008, Shelly Kohli developed her legal skills at various Indian law firms. After a brief spell at leading intellectual property management and technology company, CPA Global, Kohli...

Shreenivasa P. Gotur

Deputy general manager - legal and company secretary | Toyota Kirloskar Motor

After graduating in law, Shreenivasa P. Gotur practiced in a Bangalore-based law firm between 1994-98 with a focus on constitutional laws, civil litigation, conveyancing and drafting. He then joined Toyota...

Shujath Bin Ali

Senior director of legal and risk management | PAREXEL International

Shujath Bin Ali, a legal professional with over 14 years of corporate experience, has a skillset that has been put to the test across diverse sectors during the course of...

Sivaram Nair

Executive vice president,  company secretary, general counsel and ethics officer | Mphasis

Currently heading the secretarial, legal, ethics and internal audit departments at IT services company Mphasis, Sivaram Nair has over 25 years of experience spanning across the manufacturing and services industries....

Smita Priyadarshini

Legal director | Dell

With an excellent academic background, Smita Priyadarshini was handpicked by top Indian firm Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, before being seconded to and then hired by one its large US-based...

Smitha Murthy

Assistant general counsel | Monsanto India

Described as ‘dependable, intelligent and hardworking’, Smitha Murthy has over 17 years of experience in the legal sector. After almost six years at law firm Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh...

Sree Patel

Executive director, legal and government affairs | Mondelēz

Mondelēz is the leading chocolate manufacturer in India, with 65% market share, producing well-known brands such as Cadbury’s chocolate and Oreos biscuits. The company has recently announced plans to open...

Subir Bikas Mitra

General manager, law and human resources | GAIL

As one of only seven state-owned enterprises belonging to the highest ‘Maharatna’ category of companies, GAIL – the largest state-owned natural gas processing and distribution company in India with diversified...

Subodh Karmarker

Group head of legal | Tata Power

Described by sources as an ‘effective communicator’ and a leader with a ‘resilient personality’, Karla Gross is currently the legal director for the greater Caribbean region at Colgate-Palmolive, a global...

Sudhir Kumar Jha

General manager corporate legal | HDFC Limited

After graduating from the University of Delhi, Sudhir Kumar Jha progressed through a varied in-house legal career that spanned a range of sectors and included major companies such as Larsen...

Sujeet Jain

Group general counsel and company secretary | Viacom 18

Known as a consistently high achiever with experience of both private practice and internal corporate legal work, Sujeet Jain has worked hard to foster a culture of excellence among the...

Sumant Nayak

General counsel and head of legal | Essar Power

The Indian economy is among the world’s fastest-growing, and with ever-increasing energy requirements from businesses and consumers it is an ideal market for power companies to operate in. Sumant Nayak,...

Suprio Dasgupta

Senior vice president and general counsel | Dr. Reddy's Laboratories

Starting his career in 1994, Suprio Dasgupta has held a number of senior positions at the Indian subsidiaries of some of the world’s largest conglomerates; including GE, Honeywell International and...

Tejal Patil

General counsel | GE South Asia

Having qualified as a solicitor at both the Bombay Incorporated Law Society and the Law Society of England and Wales, Tejal Patil has previously gained experience from well-known law firm...

Thirumalesh Gangappa

India Counsel | Google India

Information technology

After graduating from the National Law School of India University in 1996, Thirumalesh Gangappa spent two years as an associate at Singhania & Co. before debuting in his first in-house...

Ugen Tashi Bhutia

General counsel and executive vice president, legal | SBI Card

Having worked at law firms Fox Mandal Little and Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan between 2002 and 2012, Ugen Bhutia gained litigation experience in banking and debt recovery laws by advising on...

Vidyut Gulati

General counsel | Cairn India

Now an award-winning specialist in M&A, joint venture agreements, project equity and infrastructure deals, Vidyut Gulati’s legal career began in 2002 at DUA Associates, and continued after a move to...

Vijay Kamath

Company secretary and head of legal and governance for risk and compliance | Volkswagen Group Sales India

Vijay Kamath first moved in-house in 2003 when he joined Fiat India, part of the Italian car manufacturer. Having experienced significant exposure to dispute resolution, contracting, corporate advisory work and...

Vinod Kaushal

General counsel, India region | PepsiCo India

Food, beverages and tobacco

PepsiCo has a substantial operation in the Indian market, which is one of its top five globally. It has become one of the pre-eminent brands in India on the back...

Vivek Mittal

Head of legal | Lupin

Lupin is among the 10 largest generic pharmaceutical companies by revenue globally, the third largest Indian pharmaceuticals companies by revenue, and a significant player in the US, European and East...

Yogesh Wadhwa

Vice president and lead counsel | General Motors India

Yogesh Wadhwa, vice president and lead counsel at General Motors India (GM India), possess a wealth of experience gleaned from a career that has encompassed a variety of roles and...

For 29 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. The GC Powerlist is the latest publication from The Legal 500, turning its attention to the in-house function, and recognising those corporate counsel who are driving the legal business forward. The latest edition is the GC Powerlist: India, which identifies an array of the most influential and innovative in-house counsel working in the region.

The GC Powerlist is a series of publications, highlighting the most influential in-house lawyers in business today.

We have canvassed opinions from law firm partners and in-house counsel across India, to identify corporate counsel that have been instrumental in changing or forming opinions within their company or industry; developing brilliant technical solutions to complex issues; creating innovative structures to ensure that the in-house function is driving the business forward; or providing a business working model that other corporate counsel should follow. Our team of experienced researchers assessed the nominations, speaking both to general counsel and nominating lawyers to finalise each jurisdictional list. The GC Powerlist: India features not just information on why that individual has made the list, but also comment from the law firms about how they feel individual corporate counsel have helped shape innovation in the legal industry.


CMS logo

CMS is delighted to support the GC Powerlist India, and applauds the role that the in-house community plays in the success of India’s thriving legal market. CMS has long supported the international expansion of leading Indian companies through strategic growth and entry into key markets.

So far, 2016 has proven to be an interesting year. In the context of some of the largest consolidations ever seen, with pricing pressures consuming firms and technological innovation driving industrial growth, the liberalisation of India’s market appears to be gaining much more momentum.

General counsels have long been invested in India’s liberalisation agenda. They have promoted the advantages of easier access to international legal expertise, opportunities for enhanced legal training and opportunities for career development, and the potential to bring overseas work to India which previously had been handled by international lawyers.

The campaign for liberalisation of India’s heavily regulated legal market has resulted in proposed amendments to India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) regime. Union Law Secretary Suresh Chandra called a meeting in New Delhi to formally discuss proposed rules which will govern the entry of international lawyers into the Indian legal market. The tabled reforms will affect a range of sectors from real estate to defence, telecoms to the pharmaceutical industry. The latest reforms chime with the government’s stated objective to ‘attract and promote foreign direct investment in order to supplement domestic capital, technology and skills for accelerated economic growth’.

Change of this magnitude has been driven by impressive economic growth. India saw major interest from private equity and venture capital investors in 2015, resulting in a record $22.4 billion in investments. This trend has continued throughout 2016. Examples of India’s increased economic dynamism include: Vodafone’s $7.2 billion investment into its India division; Wal-Mart Stores Inc. potential investment of up to $1 billion into India’s Flipkart Online Services; and the entry into the market of prominent retailers Muji, Massimo Dutti and Armani Exchange, among others.

In the light of this international confidence and the growing complexity of regulatory compliance, GCs are becoming crucial to the success of a modern Indian company. CMS is delighted to see the inaugural GC Powerlist India by The Legal 500 recognise this importance.


Bowmans logo

In-house legal teams are diverse in their forms and composition, but one thing that they all have in common is the immeasurable value that they provide to the organisations they serve.

In our experience, while in-house legal teams are most often appreciated for their risk management functions and compliance activities, the best in-house legal teams deepen their value by taking this further and fulfilling a corporate advisory, policy development and business strategy role.

The general counsel (GC) who have been acknowledged in The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist India all demonstrate this depth of value, and are heartily congratulated by all of us at Bowmans for the contributions they have made to the growth and success of their companies.

The importance of GCs in organisations operating in emerging economies, such as India and those in Africa, cannot be overstated. Foreign investors, local players and state institutions embark on significant projects within these markets, driving often fast-paced and ambitious projects and strategies for growth.

Bowmans sees an increased number of Indian companies who are actively expanding in a variety of sectors in African economies, among them automobiles, services (mainly telecommunications and finance), pharmaceuticals, construction and resources.

It often falls to GCs to tease out the legal planning for projects, to ensure that they are monitored, and ultimately implemented, with speed, efficiency, low legal risk and commercial savvy. A tall order at the best of times. It is with a confident, experienced GC at the helm that projects and strategies in emerging markets such as India and those in Africa will find sustainable and scalable success.

There is no doubt that the talent pool of GCs is, year-on-year, deeper and broader than ever before. At Bowmans we aim to find synergies with, and augment the natural talent of, the in-house legal counsel of our clients to assist them to demonstrate to their organisations the value that they bring, to increase that value, and to be appreciated for that value.

As a leading pan-African law firm, we support in-house legal counsel teams operating in Africa with their most important and complex projects, by providing both domestic and cross-border specialist legal services in the fields of corporate law, banking and finance law and dispute resolution.

With over 400 specialised lawyers operating from six offices in four African countries (Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa and Uganda), and our close relationship with Nigerian leading firm Udo Udoma & Belo Osagie, we are set apart by our geographical reach, independence and the quality of legal services we provide.

Ultimately, it is our aim to assist our clients, and in particular their in-house legal teams, to achieve their objectives – smoothly and efficiently – while minimising the legal and regulatory risks they face. This enables our clients’ GCs and their teams to be confident in their contributions and certain of their respected value.


Vahura logo

Many of our dear friends and mentors, are featured in this first ever General Counsel (GC) Powerlist for India. It is an honour to be recognised by a leading publication like The Legal 500, and all of us at Vahura would like to congratulate each and every GC recognised for their excellence.

As the leading legal recruiters in India, we regular recruit for roles and also engage with GC’s on recruitment and consulting mandates. Since 2007, we’ve witnessed first-hand the rapid evolution of the GC role in India. Some of the key changes in the last decade include:

  • Change of reporting from CFO to CEO
  • Size of legal teams has grown rapidly
  • The GC is now more often than not, a member of the Executive Committee
  • Compensation has significantly increased

These changes have been brought about by the excellent work done by the leading GCs and the clear value that they bring to their organisations. The GC in India today, has a seat at the corporate table, and is an important advisor to management. The success stories of these GCs, is inspiring bright lawyers at all levels to move in-house. All of this signals an elevation in the role of the GC, within the corporate structure and the legal profession.

The future promises to be interesting and challenging for the GC. Increased ‘internationalisation’ is one such area. The GC has to shepherd their company through the laws and compliance requirements of multiple jurisdictions. With increased regulation and as businesses expand to international markets, having the right GC becomes a competitive advantage for the business.

The GC is increasingly viewed as a ‘key employee’ of the organisation, along with the CEO and CFO. With higher corporate governance standards and compliance norms, the regulators will start scrutinising the GC as the Chief Legal Officer of the company. The challenge for the GC will be balancing one’s roles of enabling business, with that of championing the law. The two are not mutually exclusive, but successful and disrupting businesses, often operate in the grey zones of regulation. The best GCs will not only captain the company through choppy regulatory waters, but also find a new route or improve the system as a whole.

We have many examples of GC’s who play this role admirably. We would once again like to congratulate, each of the GC’s featured here, and wish them the very best for the future.

Luthra & Luthra

Luthra & Luthra logo

On behalf of the partners of Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, and myself, I would like to extend warm congratulations to all the eminent lawyers who have been acknowledged in this year’s GC Powerlist India.

Having said that, I would also like to wish the large number who did not make it to the list this time round, all the very best for next year.

It is heartening to note the increasingly important role played by corporate General Counsels [GC] in India, which has witnessed a drastic change in the last twenty odd years.

The role of a GC is extremely challenging as being an officer of court, they need to enable that each action of the company is not only in compliance with law but also meets the commercial objectives of the company. Often, a GC needs to act not only as a deal enabler, but be creative so that the legal risks are contained.

In today’s ever changing world, the role of a GC has been redefined and the qualities of a good GC includes – possessing the knowledge of law and adhering to time lines; understand the intricate details about the deal, idea or the context and to be completely involved in the functioning of a company.

Not many lawyers have all of the skills required to play this role well, and those on this list are all individuals who have perfected this art, while being great managers of people.

The GC Powerlist team has worked tirelessly in collating the information received through numerous nominations, and then conducting an extensive independent research to shortlist and reach these results. Heartiest congratulations to them as well as the GCs who made it to the Powerlist.

GC Powerlist: Philippines Teams 2024

For our second edition of the Legal 500’s GC Powerlist: Philippines, we decided to turn the focus of the publication on to legal teams rather than individual lawyers, based on conversations we had with in-house and private practice lawyers in the region. By doing so, we moved our attention on to hardworking but often less heralded members of the legal team alongside the general counsel and other senior lawyers that are famous in the community. The response the community was intensely positive, and we were happy to welcome around 150 people to the beautiful Rainmakers Lounge at Villaraza & Angangco’s V&A Law Centre in Manila for our exclusive launch event.
After speeches from managing partner Sylvette Tankiang, Dodjie Lagazo of ACEN Renewables who provided the in-house legal perspective, and Legal 500 editor Joe Boswell, we moved on to the award ceremony where each legal team was given their accolade on stage by Sylvette. As you can see from the photos, we had a huge range of teams in attendance, many of whom made great efforts to represent their companies. Of particular note are the team from Globe who attended wearing matching T shirts to fly the flag.
As always, celebrations continued well past the official end time and the energy in the room was hugely positive. Special thanks for the massive success of our second GC Powerlist Philippines must go to our excellent sponsors V&A, who were helpful throughout the research in giving nominations and tips regarding the in-house legal community there, as well as faultlessly organising a complicated reception and award ceremony.