SJ Berwin turns on the charm in India campaign” />SJ Berwin is stepping up its operations in the Indian market by entering formal referral relationships with a group of local law firms.

Senior partner Jonathan Blake met with 10 Indian law firms and several private equity houses during a trip to India earlier this month to develop formal referral agreements or alliances and generate new client links.

He also met with representatives of the National Law School of India University in Bangalore to discuss the possibility of taking on trainees from the university and recruiting a greater number of Indian lawyers.

Blake said the firm hoped to develop a greater presence in the Indian market, particularly for funds formation and AIM work, both with clients based in India and in the UK. The initiative is also expected to broaden SJ Berwin’s ethnic diversity.

“The trip was about getting a stronger foothold of some kind in the local market,” Blake told The Lawyer. “India’s clearly a market that’s moving and firms clearly need to generate local ties there.”

The law firm referral relationships are already beginning to bear fruit, with Blake having met with one potential client at the suggestion of one of the Indian firms.

The trip follows the formation of an international working group to examine opportunities outside SJ Berwin’s existing network, particularly within China, India and Russia, as first reported by The Lawyer (10 July).

As an adjunct to this, the firm is also rolling out a separate formal global secondment programme with law firms in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia in a bid to further strengthen its international ties.