A&O’s tale of bar-crossed lovers

They wanted desperately for things to work out, but they faced an insurmountable obstacle – the Indian government.

That’s not a plot from an abandoned Barbara Cartland novel, rather news that Allen & Overy (A&O) and Indian firm Trilegal have called time on their referral relationship after giving up hope that India will liberalise its legal market any time soon (see story).

The pair first linked up in January 2008, when it seemed that liberalisation was just around the corner, and even extended the tie-up indefinitely last year because things were going so well (8 February 2011). Some 18 months later, alas, it has become a different story.

As India’s economy continued to expand, the tie-up became more of a hindrance, since the firms weren’t free to exploit the increase in legal work from other sources.

Other UK firms have split from their Indian best friends recently, too. In January 2011 Clifford Chance and AZB & Partners ended their tie-up (21 January 2011) and a few months later Clyde & Co ended its relationship with ALMT (27 April 2011).

With that in mind, you might consider that A&O and Trilegal did well to stick things out as long as they did, though at just under five years they still fell short of the seven-year itch.


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