Clifford Chance joins forces with top Indian firm” class=”inline_image inline_image_left” src=”/pictures/web/images/15668_india-taj90.gif” />Clifford Chance has underlined its commitment to its Asian practice by signing a best friends agreement with major Indian firm AZB.
Clifford Chance is putting a strong strategic emphasis on Asia after its attempts to break the New York market failed.
As reported in The Lawyer last year, the firm had been in merger talks with Australia’s largest firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques. Talks broke down due to economic conditions but the deal would have made Clifford Chance the largest law firm in Australasia, with more than a thousand lawyers in the region (8 December).
The best friends tie-up with AZB will see the magic circle firm refer work in India to AZB while the Indian firm will refer work out to Clifford Chance’s international network.
Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham, who a year ago accompanied prime minister Gordon Brown on a business delegation to India (18 January 2008), is known as a firm believer in India’s position as a global superpower.
He said of the AZB tie-up: “It’s an increasing challenge for both Indian and international clients seeking cross-border advice that they still have to look outside the country to access the requisite experience, resources and expertise.
“This arrangement will allow our two firms to offer the best possible service within the current regulatory restrictions.”
Clifford Chance global managing partner, David Childs said his firm’s ambition was to provide clients with access to “the very best Indian expertise”.
The firm made its commitment to Asia clear last year when it voted to send global corporate head Peter Charlton, a former London managing partner, to Hong Kong as Asia managing partner (8 September 2008). He has replaced Jim Baird in the role.