For Luthra & Luthra’s founding partner Rajiv Luthra the future of the firm lies in his young recruits. He is keen to install and maintain high levels of professional conduct in the India-based firm’s lawyers. “We are running a world-class institution where the rules and ethics are kept to the highest standard,” he says.
Luthra & Luthra has been attracting increasing attention from the international market due to its presence on high-value deals. Earlier this year the firm worked alongside Mishcon de Reya, advising Noida Toll Bridge on the first global depositary receipt issue on AIM for an Indian public company, raising $45m (£23.14m). The firm also boasts an impressive client list, including ExxonMobil, Bank of America and Citibank.
“The firm has been growing in a very healthy and solid manner,” says Luthra. “This year, we took our maximum intake of 26 new lawyers.”
Luthra & Luthra’s strategy is to grow organically, and Luthra explains that the firm would only consider making lateral hires when branching out into new practice areas. “A very large percentage of our lawyers are in their first jobs, as we generally prefer to take youngsters from school or to recruit them through a system of internships,” he says. While the firm has established a particularly strong reputation in project finance and M&A work, Luthra & Luthra is not content just to sit tight, but has been “pushing hard” to branch into new practice areas. These include IP, international trade law and environmental law. This strategy has already proven fruitful, as the firm recently coordinated its first environmental audit for a US firm in Bangalore.
While Luthra is keen to stress the firm does not maintain best friend relationships with any UK or US firms in particular, it has close referral links with, and “works very closely with and also opposite”, international firms such as White & Case, Latham & Watkins and Linklaters. The firm works on a large number of international deals, covering China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Nigeria.
Luthra is vocal about his views on the liberalisation of the Indian legal market and heads a committee that is in discussions with foreign jurisdictions, particularly the UK and US, about the potential gradual opening of the Indian legal market.
“My view is that it has to open one day,” he says. “I am more concerned with developing the Indian market and practice. We need to have foreign lawyers because we do not have enough project finance lawyers to work on investment.”
Total number of partners: 10
Total number of lawyers: 100
Main practice areas: Banking finance and capital markets, corporate/M&A, dispute resolution, projects and energy, insurance, international trade law and intellectual property
Number of offices: Three
Location: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore