CC eyes Indian market with Amarchand hire

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  • Good work CC

    Hahaa, good work CC! All thats left with the Indian firm is baby partners. Maybe this will teach them to respect people who work for them. Indian firms need to develop their people management skills and realise that they dont own people. All these firms are owed by families with 3 generations working and owning virtually all the equity, so maybe its time to change? All these blackmail tactics 'you poach from us, we wont allow your firms in India' dont work after a point.

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  • Indian Firms

    If the standard of drafting in the Indian legal world is represented by your post above, then I can see why India has adopted such a protectionist approach. The international elite will show Indian firms up as being nothing more than high-street practitioners who are out of their depth in today's globalised business community.

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  • Indian firms

    Well said nonny mus, with experience I can say that it is not a good practice to designate anyone as a partner. This forces the truly deserving ones to find their worth elsewhere.
    Question is will this start a trend? and if the magic circle already develop India expertise sitting abroad, why will they be desperate for the Indian market to open up?

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  • Wah wah!

    Congrats to Guptan and CC on a good and strategic move.

    Just thinking out aloud here:

    I don’t know about how worried CC will be about the ‘distrust’ that their action has caused in Amarchand or to the ‘senior partners’ in Amarchand or for that matter, Indian law firms generally.

    I do know that while some senior partners of Indian law firms may have taken to picking up phones and yelling at partners in International law firms for ‘poaching’ their associates, asking them to withdraw offers to such associates and threatening not to deal with such international law firms in the past: (1) deal flow was never affected; (2) the departure of associates has not ceased; (3) India practice groups of foreign law firms are doing better than ever; and (4) at the end of the day, there is precious little that local law firms can do to worry a law firm which has revenues nearing US$ 2.5 billion. So, ‘go fry an egg’ is all that I have to say about that.

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  • Wah wah! (2)

    I wonder if the blame for Indian lawyers leaving Indian law firms in droves is attributable to law firms being run like personal fiefdoms in India instead of somehow to international firms offering a professional atmosphere and a pleasant alternative to what most law firms in India are - the 'family' (or to be fair, the single owner in some cases) gets the lion's share of the equity, special treatment, generally treat other partners and associates terribly and finally, appoint family in turn to continue to run the firm.

    Why would any self respecting individual, who has other options, continue to work in such a firm unless he or she has to? Add to this the generally dismal approach to client management, to enabling associates to develop their careers, a non professional work environment and it is no surprise that associates and partners who can, elect to leave.

    Make no mistake, the apparent uproar that there is in the Indian legal community about liberalisation of the legal services industry and entry of foreign law firms is attributable almost entirely to the owners of existing law firms in India. They make ridiculous arguments about limitations on partnership numbers (has this stopped Indian law firms from growing beyond 20 partners – no!), limits on advertising (shortly to be eased (finally)) and ‘law being a just / noble profession’ (which is an assertion so ridiculous and irrelevant to the argument, it does not even merit any text in brackets!) to essentially perpetuate their ridiculous monopoly. This medieval guild like stranglehold over the legal market must give way to a free trade consistent approach!

    Law students, young graduates, associates and even regular partners in existing law firms would likely welcome liberalisation of the legal services industry and the entry of foreign law firms in to India and frankly, God knows, many secretly hope to make exactly the same move that Guptan has today!

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  • Pls summrise

    plz smmrze...yawn

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  • Does it really work?

    After watching several unhappy Indian laterals leave my previous firm I'm not convinced that this model (of hiring lateral Indian qualified lawyers) is going to be effective. I'm not entirely sure if the firms that do this are hoping to (i) get instructed to advise on Indian law or (ii) just want to win more international work from Indian corporates. David Dunnigan's comments imply (i). However, there are plenty of firms in India which offer Indian law advice at much cheaper rates than the top City firms. Indian clients will simply not want to pay UK rates for Indian legal advice. As a means of winning international work from Indian corporates, I doubt CC needs to enhance it's credentials in India as an international firm by hiring Indian lawyers. This could be a mistake for both CC and the new hire.

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  • A summary today

    Lazy arent we? He says that Indian law firms suck and treat really smart Indian associates really badly which is why Indian lawyers leave Indian law firms for Intl. law firms. Kapish?

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  • Maybe it does

    Any law firm in the world is going to be cheaper to hire than a decent UK based law firm. But thats not the point or the correct comparison to make. CC in an East European country will not, rack rates notwithstanding, be able to or need to charge as much as CC in London. Jurisidiction specific pricing and pay is an integral part of the business. So, the question is, how would the CC India practice based in Singapore or in India charge Indian clients? With the better Indian law firms charging a broad blended of between US$ 300 - 450, I strongly suspect that the price difference between top rung Indian law firms and international law firms with teams based out of Singapore or India will not be much. The question Associate should therefore ask is: Will Indian clients be happy to pay International law firms the same or marginally more than they pay top Indian law firms for Indian advice, assuming of course, that International law firms are permitted to issue such advice? There is no question of paying UK rates.

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  • wake up call

    this should just be another wake up call for firms like Amarchand in India. Look at the number of foreign law firms recruiting directly from elite national law schools in India: A&O, CC, Simmons & Simmons, Linklaters, SJ Berwin, HerbertSmith, CMS Cameron Mckenna and a lot others, now make regular visits to India to recruit from law schools.
    So its simple, either firms like Amarchand change and start respecting their talent both in terms of money and HR or this trend would just continue, may be even more vigorously.

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  • Interesting Turn of Events

    This isn't the first time a partner has left a big firm. Needless to say, this is definitely the first time so much hype has been created over an exit. Ultimately, it's a personal choice. Why, oh why, would he feign humility and be subservient to some two bit twenty year old just because he is the "family"? With all due respect, the two bit might be smart. But not the point. The point is..when you've given ten years to a lawfirm and reached a point beyond redemption, a point beyond which all you can expect is a 2% cut in the equity, why wouldn't you leave to bigger and better things? Is it so shocking? Is there any real reason for the furore? Sharing is caring. Let us mortals live. Make some money. Feed off the carcasses of these rich clients. It's a free country! And..I guess, no matter how many strings are pulled...the firang law firms have concreted their first move into the sector. The whole "India Practice" thing is very smart. Re-locate the teams to India once the market's open, and we have ready made fully functional firms at your service. Most of them comprising of ex-big Indian lawfirm members. Partners, associates etc. On a more sombre note, for Amarchand, that is.. what's happening, boss? First the Bharuchas, now the Capital Markets Man. Where are you heading?

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  • concerned indian lawyer

    I am not sure that I understand the comment "..our second level is strong..." Why are other partners at Amarchand referred to as "second level". I though partners are "first level". Family run establishments will have to change or the Clifford Chance of the world will squash them.

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  • Second level

    Unless, in all fairness, by second level, he means when compared to Rahul who was first level. This would also be strange, since as you have pointed out - all partners should be 'first level' and because Rahul is just two years ahead of Arjun and Yash! Of course, two years make a huge difference when the average level of the capital markets team is about NQ!

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  • Nothing New!!!!

    Do not know why a furore is being created now!!! There have been various similar such instances such as Nihar's exit from WGCO Partha from JSA, Varghese from JSA, all partners and more senior in their practice than Rahul. Neither will AMSS or WGCO or JSA vanish due to such exits. People will obviously move from one pasture to a greener one... If Indian law firms need to retain their talent they may have to do more than just pay them. The chances of a structure like Trilegal or a JSA surviving over the years to come seems more likely than the AMSS structure. Look back at the crawford and the mulla days... Evolution, AMSS management sure needs to rethink their strategy on retention of partners and associates as much as any other law firm but with the shroff's and their extended family holding on to the reins, seems a difficult proposition for them.

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  • interesting...

    Its interesting that the move of a partner has created so much furore.. There have been previously documented occasions of entire teams moving out of law firms - and getting served with legal notices... In any case, I do not see why it is such a sin to quit and join another law firm. After all, its just another job! The day law firms in India become more professional, treat associates and support staff with more respect, share profits with all and sundry, invest in infrastructure and stop treating departures as a personal affront - things will start looking up!!

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  • Begning of an Era

    Well ! Well ! I think we see a trend developing here.....WAKEUP.....Welcome to the Brave New World

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  • Contemplation

    I am not a lawyer, but based on what prospective candidates speak I am not sure that the surge to go back to India has stopped. Also is it true that the "Global Elite" are truly following their international standards in India. Hmmm a thought for contemplation whether these "Best Friend Relationships" are indeed attracting the best talent. All I can say is that the best talent out there is not willing to move to these "Best Friend Relationships" (with the exception of Trilegal). This begs the obvious question of why? And why is this talent happy to move (back?) to an AMSS or an AZB?

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  • Congratulations!

    Firstly, congratulation to Mr Guptan! He has done very well for himself and every Indian lawyer should hold is head up high.
    Secondly, congratulation to Amarchand. They raised the bar for everyone in India; they have trained alot of young lawyers who are now doing very well around the world.
    Thirdly, I dont see why everyone thinks India and family run firms in India are any different to firms anywhere else in the world. Equity partners hold on to their equity with dear life and every associate wants to work less and be paid more and thinks that the grass on the other side is better. Yes the difference is that some Indian partners do treat associates as servants but everyone is free to leave and if that sort of behavior goes on, people will leave in greater numbers. But I see that as a positive both for the associates (who will be happier moving) and the firms (who will learn from their mistakes and improve).
    Look there is a big gap between Indian and rest of the world, but the ROW had a head-start.
    For god's sake, lets all be positive lawyers, the pond is big enough for everyone.

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  • The Family!

    Name 10 family run law firms of international repute. I will give you the names of 500 professionally run law firms of international repute. Name 10 family run law firms which have survived more than three generations and shown consistent standing over a period of 50 years. I will give you the name of many many professional firms which have. Forget the law - give me the name of 10 internationally recognised service sector firms which are family run. Mckinsey - Nope. Bain - Nope. BCG - Nope. E&Y - Nope. Heck, find me five examples.
    There is a reason why family run businesses are very successful when small, and complete disasters when they try to grow beyond being mom and pop shops. And before jumping to an answer, please recognize the difference between family run, and family 'owned' institutions.
    In professional firms, there is a retirement age for the partners. In family run firms, there is none. In professional firms, you are answerable to a body of partners. In a family run firm, you are answerable to a single man or a family and God help you if he or she is in a particularly nasty mood on any given day. In professional firms, you have to deal and compete with the Partner's favourites. Thats tough, but not half as bad as having to deal with the Partner's favorites and their kids! Where is the comparison? In which world do you think that working for a family run institution is comparable to working for a professional organisation?

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  • Long Live Amarchand!

    I dont think Cyril or Shardul need to wory with one exit of a partner! Amarchand is big enough to digest such exits.

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  • International Firms need to do quality check

    International Firms are in rush to create India Desk overseas so that when India opens up they can just host their offices in India, and rightly so! However, this should not create panic with Amarchand, as they brand is equally big enough and well established in India. Number of lawyers coming out of law colleges in India is increasing and with one or two exit like Rahul should not disturb Cyril. All that he need to do is a system to train them in shortest possible time. Rahul will now have to prove himself without the support of Amarchand Brand! very tall order!!

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  • distrust at industrial and institutional level

    So is Cyril agreeing that the law is nothing more than a business in India? Comparable to 'industries' with law firms acting as 'institutions'??? what about the 'purity of practice' that Cyril claims sets us apart from the foreign law firms?

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  • AMSS

    Rahul has done well for himself. A good lawyer trained by Mr. Shroff and AMSS, which needless to say is the pioneer of law in India and continues to date. Bear in mind that Rahul, was created by Mr. Shroff and AMSS. Not the other way. In fact Mr. Shroff to his credit has created a whole school of lawyers and continues to do so. Rahul or no Rahul, AMSS will continue to be the pioneer in law and Mr. Shroff would go on with the creation of some more "Rahuls". The hype in the media about CC acquiring Rahul is unwarranted and would not take away the experience of AMSS or Mr. Shroff or the people who have come to AMSS owing to its expertise enshrined in it and its Senior partners.

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  • wake up call indeed

    AMSS is anyways not the first choice for best legal minds churning out of national law schools anymore. times have changed and its the foreign firms which are attracting the best talent now.
    and as somebody already commented, amarchands, luthras and azbs should stop pretending as if they own their associates. if ppl move, its just another job, accept the fact that foreign firms r better and let ppl go.
    you only have to go to to find out that not only fresh national law school graduates but associates and senior associates from indian firms r leaving in droves. and thats just a example.

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  • sharp elbows

    congrats to guptan! he has shown the way for young indian lawyers. the ingredients for sucess include not only sharp legal skills but also sharp teeth and sharp elbows. these fat cat indian legal firms will only understand when people like guptan teach them a lesson through treachery and betrayal. after all, as ABBA said, its all about money money money, and why should we young lawyers not get a bigger piece of it??

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  • whats all the fuss about??

    The amount of comments are quite ridiculous! Whats all the fuss about?? Guptan trained in an Indian firm, built his reputation and network and, like the companies that he takes public at a market value, took himself to the market and encashed it! So whats wrong with that? Guptan is a material boy in a material world! Arnt we all?  Indian firms should however be careful of people like him. Loyalty is just a word in a dictionary…but what the heck?? It’s a mobile labour market. Can we stop this fuss please?

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  • indian culture

    India’s legal market is just evolving. Indian lawyers of any age should worry about how they are perceived. Every magic circle partner knows that Indian associates are the most trouble. Always worried about packages, whose getting how much and seeking career advancement through shortcuts. The current topic may fuel the wrong behavior. The Indian bar should develop a good reputation of dependability and ethics and not of greed and opportunism. We get 100s of CVs daily with exaggerated claims of experience and skills. As someone who has been in practice for long, I think such things don’t help the reputation of young Indian lawyers which is already quite suspect at senior levels in London firms. The Indian universities need to give better cultural and ethical training to their young lawyers if they want to be respected in the world. I feel for India and believe that Indian lawyers and academia need to give this a serious think.

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  • New Vocabulary

    "to do a guptan" (pron: To Do a GOUP-TANN)- to acheive career advancement through opportunism; the pursuit of money

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  • mediocrity

    The big danger for global firms recruiting Indian lawyers for their India strategy is the accumulation of mediocrity. Its no secret that most of the Indian lawyers in London will not make it to the partnership, and certainly not to the senior levels. In their anxiety to explore the large Indian market, the global firms need to watch out for this. As a former student from NLS Bangalore, now in London for the last several years, this is my key concern.

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  • Why the fuss!

    I certainly cannot understand the fuss about Rahul quitting Amnarchands. Why these allegations of 'trechery' and discussions re 'ethics'! Law is a profession like any other, and I certainly don't see much hue and cry when a banker from ICICI, HDFC or SBI jumps ship to a Lehman Brothers!

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  • Indian Lawyers!!

    Congratulations to Guptan and CC on their new partnership. I am sure this will be the beginning of an interesting period in the CC’s India practice. I hope this also marks the dawn of a new phase in the domestic firms’ thinking about a more meritocratic system of career advancement and remuneration, which in turn will do wonders for associate retention.

    The string of comments on this article is rather interesting. Some of them seem to (mis)use the term “Indian Lawyers” to represent a homogeneous class of lawyers.

    Just as not all English, American or lawyers trained in any other jurisdiction will not have a business case to be made up as partners, there are Indian lawyers who will make it to the partnership ranks and those who will not. So, let’s not make a massive generalisation and say that most Indian lawyers will not make it to partnership in the Magic Circle/international firms and that they are always concerned about the shortest route to the top!

    They are individuals first, lawyers second, and the fact that they are Indian does not affect either of the two characteristics, and certainly does not affect their capability. (Please take note Mr. Magic Circle Partner. So much for the diversity talk from the Magic Circle bandwagon.)

    There seems to be a lot of banter about this move being treacherous? Why in the world is it being described so?
    Talent will move where it feels it has the potential to achieve its maximum potential and is valued the most, and what is the harm if Guptan felt this was the case in CC and not with the Shroffs? It is for him to decide and he has taken a decision and left the building.

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  • white mans club

    partnership in global firms is basically a white mans club. the partnership composition in the magic circle firms is ample evidence. also, i do know from regular interactions with other magic circle firms that there is a glass ceiling. asian exceptions could be made on an opportunistic basis for market access. thats how it works!!i agree people come and go firms go on forever.

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  • hero?

    enough has been said. all this talk about treachery is nonsense, however guptan was a role model for many young associates. but, unfortunately for him his last move has done him no credit. he's just like the others.

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  • Much ado about nothing

    I wonder whether it is the deplorable condition of the markets/ envy at not being able to clinch the deal themselves/ or just plain joblessness that has led people to comment on guptan's move to CC, in such numbers.

    Fact of the matter is, Guptan has moved on, like the Bharucha's and Umakanth (who were frankly much better than guptan) and AMSS has coped. Well. How long it would continue to do so is anybody's guess. It is a family-owned firm, with hellish hours, out-moded policies and a culture that encourages junior associates to have their head up some partner/ senior-associate's ass rather than be good at their work. About time thatthey did a serious rehaul of their operating practices. As for guptan, only time will tell, if his extraordinary networking (euphemism) skills help him sham his way through CC as they did at AMSS...

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  • Significant Move

    It is a significant move indeed that Rahul has moved to CC as a partner. Perhaps it reflects the coming of age of the Indian business lawyer. As for comparisons with other Indian lawyers who have made similar moves, all I can say is that each of them seized the opportunity when presented with it. Rahul would have done himself a disservice had he not taken the opportunity to move to CC.

    Congratulations, Rahul! You've done us proud!

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