A&O splits with Indian best friend after liberalisation disappointment

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Indian firm Trilegal have ended their referral agreement, blaming India’s failure to liberalise its legal market for the split.

A&O and Trilegal first entered into a referral relationship in January 2008, when it seemed that liberalisation in India was just around the corner. The agreement was extended indefinitely in February 2011 because both firms were “happy with the way it’s gone”, according to A&O India head Jonathan Brayne (8 February 2011).

But, according to a statement released by A&O today, India’s failure to liberalise its legal sector has led both firms to conclude that, in the face of the country’s expanding economy, “their existing arrangement is restricting their ability fully to exploit the growing opportunities in India”.

In a statement, Brayne said: “There’s an obvious need to adapt our India strategy to give us, and Trilegal, greater flexibility to both service the needs of our clients and cement our leading market position on India-related work. We have the highest opinion of Trilegal and we look forward to continuing to work with them when the opportunity presents itself, but also to collaborating with other Indian law firms.”

Brayne added that although the relationship between A&O and Trilegal was non-exclusive, but rather preferential, that was not the way it was perceived in the market and so both parties were missing out on other opportunities.

Trilegal senior partner Anand Prasad said: “We believe our relationship with Allen & Overy has been of great benefit to both firms. But both sides agree that, in the absence of liberalisation, each firm stands a better chance of increasing its market share by broadening our options for collaboration in the market.”