Clifford Chance kicks off hiring spree in India

Clifford Chance kicks off hiring spree in India” />Clifford Chance has made offers to a first group of qualified Indian lawyers at a time when the country is facing increasing pressure to deregulate its legal services market.

While rival Linklaters has chosen to ally itself with a local Indian firm, Clifford Chance partners travelled to New Delhi last November to recruit qualified Indian lawyers directly from the country’s capital.

Confirming the move, Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham told The Lawyer: “This is the first time we’ve actually gone to India formally. We needed more lawyers in London, but we’ve also been called on by clients for help on Indian-related matters.

“If the Indian legal services market opens, we want to have experience of working with Indian lawyers and have created a team who understand the market. The world’s looking at India.”

The firm interviewed around 25 candidates from Indian law schools and has now made job offers to around half of those applicants. Once admitted to the Indian bar, Indian lawyers can sit the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test in the UK.

Clifford Chance’s India recruitment drive coincides with increasing pressure on the country to open up its legal services market to foreigners.

The UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (Jetco), which was established in 2005, set up teams of both UK and Indian lawyers. These two teams will meet in India later this month (January).

The UK Jetco team consists of the Law Society and law firms Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Clifford Chance and Pinsent Masons. In India the committee will be accompanied by a further three firms comprising CMS Cameron McKenna, Eversheds and Herbert Smith.

Clifford Chance consultant Sir Thomas Legg, who chairs the UK Jetco legal team, told The Lawyer: “We honestly believe that the liberalisation of the Indian legal services market is in the long-term interest of the Indian legal profession.”