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Allen & Overy (A&O) and its Indian best friend firm Trilegal have extended their preferred referral arrangement indefinitely after having first entered into it for a limited three-year term.
At the end of last year A&O senior and managing partners David Morley and Wim Dejonghe, India head Jonathan Brayne and other key A&O India group partners met with Trilegal founding partners in India. Since the meeting they have decided to extend the best friend referral relationship that they first entered into in January 2008.
Brayne said: “The original arrangement was that it would be a three-year one. We’ve extended it, frankly indefinitely now because both of us were happy with the way it’s gone.”
Although the agreement between the firms is a formal contractual tie, the extension was “a bit of a formality”, added Brayne.
Trilegal co-founding partner Anand Prasad added: “It was a three-year thing that we’d signed. Part of the thinking was, let’s see how the relationship works in those three years, and I think the relationship has been working extremely well so then we decided to extend it. The question was – do you extend it for another three years, do you renew it for a term?”
“At the time when we signed it, it seemed as if liberalisation of the legal market was just around the corner so three years looked as if it was a decent period,” he explained, “but nobody now knows when the market is going to open up.”
In August 2009, A&O Singapore partner Srinivas Parthasarathy joined Trilegal’s Mumbai office (18 August 2009).
At the beginning of this year, AZB & Partners and Clifford Chance broke off their best friendship of two years after receiving fewer referrals than expected and Indian liberalisation failed to materialise (21 January 2011).