Andersen Legal has formed a formal association with Indian firm DSK Legal.
It is believed to be the first time that an Indian firm has linked up to an international legal network.
While other law firms sought to penetrate the protectionist Indian market by establishing local offices and met with rebellion from native lawyers, Andersen Legal has avoided confrontation by forming what appears to be a unique association.
Andersen Legal, with 3,400 lawyers in 37 countries, consulted Indian counsel before taking the plunge to ensure that it has a structured relationship with DSK which respects and complies with Indian regulations.
Ashurst Morris Crisp and White & Case, the only international firms with Indian liaison offices, have been fighting the Bombay bar over restrictions prohibiting foreign firms from opening offices there.
Chadbourne & Parke, which was also involved in the action, gave up the battle and surrendered its licence earlier this year.
An Andersen Legal spokesman says: “Our arrangement is totally different to setting up offices in India. DSK is a strong independent practice that decided it was very beneficial to tap into the resources of an existing market.”
Andersen Legal has existing relations with several DSK lawyers, but was also attracted because India is increasingly a magnet for large organisations such as Microsoft due to a balance of IT skills and India’s low costs. DSK is based in Mumbai, which an Andersen Legal spokesman describes as “a leading business and financial centre”.
He adds: “If DSK has clients looking to expand outside India, then it can use Andersen Legal to provide services to support the expansion and vice versa – companies seeking an alliance in India need expertise in Indian law.”
DSK, which has two partners and 10 fee-earners, specialises in corporate and commercial law, and in particular indirect tax, arbitration and litigation. It hopes to widen its practice. The partners, Anand Desai and Prakash Shah, who studied international law at Edinburgh University, previously worked at law firm SDDP, which reorganised as Phatarphekar and Associates on 1 April.