City firm Kennedys is opening a second Indian office, effectively doubling the size of its domestic practice.
The firm plans to open an office in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, at the end of 2001. It will be staffed by one partner and up to five associates. The New Delhi office, which specialises in commercial, insurance and litigation/arbitration, has two partners, Neeraj Tuli and Pradeep Bakshi, and four associates. One of the two New Delhi partners is likely to head the new office.
Tuli, who specialises in professional indemnity, product liability and construction, says the addition of a Mumbai office will enable the firm to handle work locally. "It takes one and a half hours to travel from New Delhi to Mumbai, so there's a lot of shunting back and forth, which will be avoided by having a local office," he says. "In Mumbai, Kennedys has three important insurance clients, and we also do general commercial and litigation work."
Kennedys has bypassed the problems of India's protectionist policy towards foreign firms by hiring only local lawyers with Indian practising certificates.
But despite local protests, India is scheduled in several years time to open up to foreign law firms under its World Trade Organisation membership obligations.
Kennedys' decision to expand in India follows hard on the heels of Andersen Legal, which recently established a formal association with Mumbai-based firm DSK Legal, its first presence in India (The Lawyer, 9 April).