India and Central Asia come top of Baker & McKenzie's expansion list

Around 475 partners from the world's largest law firm Baker & McKenzie will converge on London this week to discuss the firm's future plans, which include expanding into India and Central Asia.

Partners from the firm's 55 offices around the world will meet for three days to discuss the key decisions which affect the international partnership.

Baker & McKenzie partner Don Gerrard said it planned to open an office in India in addition to the connections it already had with several law firms in the country.

He said the firm was also looking to expand into some Central Asia republics soon. It had not already expanded into India, said Gerrard, because of the local Bar rules which restrict the practice of foreign law firms.

Last year a collective of Indian lawyers sued three English and US law firms, claiming the licences issued to the practices were illegal.

“India is a very important market and we will continue to negotiate with the Indian government in order to find a solution to the current restrictive practice rules,” added Gerrard.

Other key issues to be debated at the meeting will be the election of new partners, a review of office and practice initiatives, a review of client services and the strategic planning process.

A Baker & McKenzie spokesman said: “The firm regards the partners' meetings as an essential element in its life.

“Given its size it is inevitable that many management decisions are delegated either to the firm's committees or to individual offices or regions. Technology has also reduced the need for face-to-face contact across the firm.”

Last year's meeting was held in Chicago and this is the first time in 15 years that it has been held in London.