Intelligence report

India Business Law Journal 35
Indian law frms
February 2011
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 35
Indian law frms
February 2011
Indian Law
Firm Awards
2010 saw Indian law frms jostling for position
as they vied for prestigious roles on headline
deals. India Business Law Journal turned to
corporate clients and legal professionals
to find out which firms finished
ahead of the pack
Vandana Chatlani reports
India Business Law Journal’s
Highlights and analysis: page 37
Winners at a glance: page 55
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 37
Indian law frms
February 2011
or India, 2010 was a year of outstanding achieve-
ments, economic prosperity and international
controversy. In the run-up to the Commonwealth
Games, India’s ability to host an international
sporting event was called into question. The
organizers were hit by allegations of corruption and there
were several high-profle hiccups in the completion of the
facilities. But despite criticism at home and abroad, the
event was a great success. The world was treated to a
spectacular showcase of Indian culture and international
sport. And India emerged victorious with 101 medals, tak-
ing second place in the overall medals table.
The year was also a high point for deal makers, with
billions of dollars of investment fowing into and out of
India. HSBC acquired RBS India; Standard Chartered
became the frst international bank to list in India; and
Vedanta purchased a 51% stake in Cairn India. Bharti
Airtel, meanwhile, spent the summer acquiring assets of
Kuwaiti telecom provider Zain for US$9 billion.
Indian lawyers were put through their paces in 2010,
often being forced to work to tight deadlines on extremely
ambitious deals. This was particularly the case in the
capital markets arena, where the government made
some high-profle disinvestments. Coal India, NTPC and
Power Grid all went to market last year, but there was
little time for celebration. Instead of popping open the
champagne, law frms have been busy beefng up the
weaker parts of their practices in anticipation of an even
more challenging year ahead.
Awards methodology
As I ndi a-watchers refl ected on another remark-
able year in the country’s economic growth story, India
Business Law Journal was faced with the task of identi-
fying the most deserving recipients of its coveted Indian
Law Firm Awards. As in previous years, the results are
based on nominations – and their justifications – received
from qualified observers of the country’s legal profes-
sion. This year, more than 1,700 individual nominations
were received from legal professionals at organizations
including Aditya Birla, ArcelorMittal, Coca-Cola, ESPN
Star Sports, Jyoti Structures, Mahindra & Mahindra,
Microsoft, ONGC, Tata Industries, Verizon, Western
Union and hundreds more.
A detailed survey was sent to more than 9,000 India-
focused corporate counsel and business leaders in
India and around the world. Respondents were invited
to nominate three Indian law firms in each of 16 prac-
tice-area categories. They were also invited to make
nominations for the Law Firm of the Year and the best
newcomers (l aw fi rms establ i shed after 1 January
2009). In addition, survey respondents were requested
to provide justifications and examples to back up their
A similar survey was sent to more than 200 Indian
law firms. The law firms were invited to make nomina-
tions, but were not permitted to nominate themselves.
They were also requested to provide details of their key
achievements in 2010 and a list of clients who could
independently verify the quality of their services.
In reaching its final decisions, Indi a Busi ness Law
Journal ’s edi tori al team consi dered obj ecti ve data
obtained from the survey alongside subjective informa-
tion, such as justifications given by survey respondents
and comments received during interviews with in-house
counsel, including the referees provided by many law
firms. Each law firm’s recent deals, cases and profes-
sional achievements were taken into account, as well as
its accomplishments related to practice development,
such as the implementation of new management sys-
tems, prominent hires and new office openings.
Diverse spectrum of talent
Unsurprisingly, India’s largest and best-known full-
service firms were among the top scorers in most of
the award categories. At the same time, a significant
number of niche and smaller law firms were consist-
ently recommended by survey participants. In order
to recognize both the hard-won pre-eminence of the
full-service powerhouses and the specialist expertise of
many smaller firms, six winners of equal standing have
been announced in each category. Additional awards
have been given to the two best newcomers and to one
Law Firm of the Year.
A full list of the winners can be found on page 55.
Law Firm of the Year
Amarchand Mangaldas sweeps the board this year
winning a total of 13 awards. These include the top
award of Law Firm of the Year.
The firm performed exceptionally well in the nomina-
tions process, topping the tables in many categories and
attaining high scores in virtually all of them. But such
recognition from clients and peers isn’t the only indica-
tion that Amarchand remains a force to be reckoned
with. The 460-lawyer firm was a key adviser on no less
than 36% of India Business Law Journal’s 2010 Deals of
the Year (see IBLJ December 2010/January 2011), hav-
ing worked on 18 of the winning transactions.
Clients clung to the firm as it thundered through the
capital markets, raced to close M&A deals and demol-
ished barriers that threatened infrastructure projects.
In the past year alone, Amarchand has advised on
offeri ngs by Coal Indi a, NTPC, Tata Motors, Adani
Enterprises, Rural Electrification Corporation, JSW
Energy and MakeMyTrip. It represented Aircel Group on
the sale of its telecommunications tower business to
Chennai Network Infrastructure for US$1.8 billion and
guided Cairn India on its US$8.5 billion sale to Vedanta.
The firm also represented the State Bank of India on the
setup of a US$1.5 billion private equity fund with the
Sultanate of Oman and advised Deutsche Bank on a
complex issue of debentures for the financing of Ackruti
City slum redevelopments.
“We go to Amarchand for a range of things, from core
finance and banking work to strategic and acquisi-
tion work. I’ve worked with them for a long, long time.
Without a doubt they would be my preferred one-stop-
shop,” says the vice-president and senior counsel at a
global financial services firm.
Amarchand’s success doesn’t appear to have made
it complacent. Determined to broaden its spheres of
expertise, the firm recently set up new practice groups
focusing on insurance, environment law and labour and
employment. It also hired DD Nageswar Rao as a part-
ner to boost its tax capabilities.
The installation of a new management system was
Crawford Bayley & Co
Established in 1830
State Bank of India Buildings
NGN Vaidya Marg
Mumbai - 400 023
+91 22 2266 8000
+91 22 2266 3713
+91 22 2266 5413
+91 22 2266 3978
+91 22 2266 0986
+91 22 2266 0355
Mr Sanjay Asher
Direct tel: +91 22 2266 3353
Direct fax: +91 22 2266 3978
Mobile: +91 98200 23823
Key practice areas: Corporate & commercial practice, mergers &
acquisitions, capital markets, joint ventures & foreign collaboration,
privatisation & disinvestment, banking & corporate fnance, intellectual
property law, litigation & dispute resolution, real estate & property
law, indirect taxation, labour & employment, admiralty & shipping law,
information technology, e-banking & e-commerce.
Number of partners: 12
Number of associates: 75
Principal offce: Mumbai
Crawford Bayley & Co, having established in 1830 currently has a
team of 150 members, including 12 partners, over 75 associates and
15 paralegal personnel and a supporting staff of over 75 individuals.
Partners at Crawford Bayley & Co:
Rajendra Ambalal Shah
Dadi Bejonji Engineer
Hemraj Chaturbhuj Asher
Chetan Manbhai Maniar
Darius Cavasji Shroff
Sanjay Khatau Asher
Ms Zarine Minocher Talaty
Marco Philippus Ardeshir Wadia
Saumil Shantaram Rege
Kumar Shirish Trivedi
Sanjay Ramakant Buch
Prashant Khatau Asher
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 39
Indian law frms
February 2011
also on the firm’s agenda during 2010. It implemented a
customized version of Reuters’ Elite 3E platform, which
enables it to generate intelligent management reports
and calculate the exact billable hours and revenue
generated by any associate or partner. And while staff
may now be subjected to greater monitoring, they are
benefiting from other initiatives, such as the establish-
ment of a childcare centre at the firm’s Delhi office. The
facility caters to up to 15 children between the ages of
six months and eight years. It is staffed by two teachers
and a nurse.
In addition to being named Indian Law Firm of the
Year, Amarchand Mangaldas receives awards in the
categories of banking and finance; capital markets and
corporate finance; competition and antitrust; corporate
and commercial; dispute resolution; energy, projects
and infrastructure; IT, media and telecommunications;
mergers and acquisitions; private equity and venture
capital; restructuring and refinancing; securitization and
structured finance; and best overall law firms.

Best overall law firms
Hot on the heels of Amarchand Mangaldas are the
other five recipients of India Business Law Journal’s
award for best overall law firms: AZB & Partners, J
Sagar Associates, Khaitan & Co, Luthra & Luthra and
Trilegal (listed alphabetically, not in rank order). All of
these firms received glowing client endorsements in a
wide range of practice areas. And in terms of the total
number of nominations they each received, all were
head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field.
Recentl y di vorced from i ts i nternati onal affi l i ate
Clifford Chance (see News, page 5), AZB & Partners is
the recipient of 11 awards in the following categories:
banking and finance; capital markets and corporate
finance; construction and real estate; corporate and
commercial; energy, projects and infrastructure; IT,
media and telecommunications; labour and employ-
ment; mergers and acquisitions; private equity and
venture capital; restructuring and refinancing; and best
overall law firms.
The firm’s recent accomplishments include advis-
ing Bharti Airtel, first on its US$9 billion acquisition of
assets in 16 different African countries from Kuwait
City-based Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain), and
then on its purchase of a 70% stake in Bangladesh’s
Warid Telecom. AZB also advised Vedanta Resources
on the financing arrangements for its purchase of Cairn
India; KKR Mauritius PE Investments on a US$200 mil-
lion investment in Coffee Day Resorts; DB Realty on a
US$329 million IPO; and Fortis Healthcare on the acqui-
sition of 24% of Parkway Holding, through a purchase of
shares from TPG Capital (Texas Pacific Group).
Bharat Vasani, the group general counsel at Tata
Sons, says that AZB and Amarchand are both “known
for fine corporate transactional work,” and that he regu-
larly consults both firms.
The venerable but media-shy J Sagar Associates
retains its powerful presence in India’s legal market.
It put its vast knowledge of infrastructure and private
equity to good use last year, advising a private equity
consortium led by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure on the
due diligence aspects of a US$425 million investment
in Asian Genco, an infrastructure company with power
generation assets and engineering businesses.
J Sagar Associ ates al so represented Austral i a’s
Macquarie Capital on the establishment of an offshore
joint venture in Singapore and a domestic joint venture
in India in conjunction with the State Bank of India and
the International Finance Corporation. The ventures
were created to establish and manage two funds to
invest in Indian infrastructure.
The firm wins awards in the following seven cat-
egories: best overall law firms; capital markets and
corporate finance; corporate and commercial; energy,
projects and infrastructure; mergers and acquisitions;
private equity and venture capital; and restructuring &
Another recipient of the award for best overall law
firms is Khaitan & Co. This 250-lawyer firm won the
Law Firm of the Year award in 2008 and has continued
to perform well since. It enjoys a formidable reputation
among local and international clients and has had great
Trilegal played a key role in
business negotiations, IP
strategy, business issues
and [promoter] issues
Chetan Maini
Chief of Strategy & Technology
Mahindra Reva
[Clients should seek
out Amarchand’s] principal
associate Naval Satarwala
Chopra, as well as lead
competition lawyer
Pallavi Shroff
Ankhi Das
Director of Public Policy and
Regulatory Affairs
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 40
Indian law frms
February 2011
success in recruiting international talent. Last year the
firm hired banking lawyers Shishir Mehta from White
& Case in New York and Devidas Banerji from Clifford
Chance in Singapore. It also recruited telecommuni-
cations expert Asim Abbas, a former director of tariff
and costing at the Indian government’s Department of
Interestingly, Khaitan & Co has a particular following
among London-based law firms. It’s “an exceptional
firm,” says Toby Greenbury, a partner at Mishcon de
Reya in London, echoing comments received from sev-
eral other UK law firms. “I have had a long and close
relationship with them, particularly with Pinto Khaitan
and his son Haigreve, both of whom I rate very highly
as lawyers and lawyers who get things done, as well as
being good friends,” Greenbury adds.
Khaitan & Co advised Hospira on its US$400 million
acquisition of the injectable pharmaceutical business
of Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals. It also rep-
resented KEC International on its purchase of US com-
pany SAE Towers Holdings from ACON Investments, a
Washington-based private equity firm.
The frm receives awards in the categories of capital
markets and corporate fnance; corporate and commer-
cial; mergers and acquisitions; and best overall law frms.
“They have a knack of being able to understand the
commercial deal and landscape and come up with sen-
sible solutions,” says Greenbury. “I am not the only law-
yer in London who feels that.”
Having received the Law Firm of the Year award in
2009, Luthra & Luthra continues to impress. Thanks to
its widely acclaimed legal acumen and near-ubiquitous
presence on high-profile deals, the firm is awarded in 10
categories: best overall law firms; banking and finance;
capital markets and corporate finance; competition and
antitrust; corporate and commercial; energy, projects
and infrastructure; intellectual property; mergers and
acquisitions; private equity and venture capital; and
restructuring and refinancing.
Perhaps most notable is the firm’s award in the intel-
lectual property category. Luthra & Luthra is the first
general practice firm to break the hold of the IP bou-
tiques and claim a place on the winners’ list. Credit
must go to the firm’s IP partners Gayatri Roy and Ameet
Luthra’s extensive client list includes Coal India, Bharti
Televentures, AT&T, Abbott Laboratories, State Bank of
India, NDTV, DLF and Cairn India. Last year, it advised
Abbott Laboratories on its US$3.72 billion purchase of a
division of Piramal Healthcare (see A spoonful of sugar,
page 31); the Indian government on Coal India’s IPO;
and Moser Baer Power Projects on a US$300 million
private equity investment from Blackstone.
The 200-lawyer firm is in expansion mode as it seeks
to maintain its capacity to capture headline-grabbing
transactions. In 2010 it recruited more than 30 new law
graduates for its Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore offices
and promoted five lawyers to the partnership.
Amarchand Mangaldas is the exclusive India member of Lex Mundi.

Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co has won more awards than any other firm — an
incredible accomplishment

—India Business Law Journal
Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shro & Co., won ‘Law Firm of the Year’ and ‘Best Overall Firm’, as well as
awards in several categories at the recently concluded India Business Law Journal’s 2010 Indian Law Firm Awards,
which includes:
Banking & Finance •
Capital Markets & Corporate Finance •
Competition & Anti-trust •
Dispute Resolution •
Energy, Projects & Infrastructure •
Corporate & Commercial •
IT, Media & Telecommunications •
Mergers & Acquisitions •
Restructuring & Renancing •
Securitization & Structured Finance •
Private Equity & Venture Capital •
Amarchand Mangaldas is one of the largest rms in India with a national presence and an international prole. A
full service law Firm with around 465 lawyers, including 49 partners and having o ces in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata,
Bengaluru and Hyderabad, Amarch and Mangaldas specializes in the following practice areas:
Infrastructure, Projects and Project Finance | Banking, Securitization and Corporate & Structured Finance | Capital
Markets – Debt and Equity | Corporate, M&A, PE, Funds, Finance Regulatory Practice & Other Practices | Real
Estate | Intellectual Property | Taxation | Competition Law and Policy | Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | Envi-
ronment Law| Insur ance Law | Labour Law | Policy & Regulatory | Media & Entertainment |
Recent Awards & Accolades
Won ten awards including Indian •
Law Firm of the Year at IFLR Asia
Awards 2010
Firm of the Year – India at Who’s •
Who Legal - Country and State
Awards 2010
India Deal Firm of the Year at ALB •
SE Asia Law Awards 2010
Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation •
Award 2010
Ranked as the ‘Top Law Firm in India •
on quality, reputation and capability
at RSG Top 40 Firm Rankings 2010
International Turnaround Deal of •
the Year at Annual Turnaround Atlas
Awards 2010 for Satyam deal
Full Service Law Firm of the Year •
India at Finance Monthly Law
Awards For Achievement 2010
Shardul S. Shro
Managing Partner
T: +91 11 26920500
F: +91 11 26924900
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 41
Indian law frms
February 2011
Rounding off the category of best overall law firms
is Trilegal, the youngest of India’s firms to be consist-
ently judged a member of the country’s “magic circle”.
Clients praise Trilegal’s charming combination of youth,
international outlook, knowledge and professional acu-
men, all of which propel the 10-year-old firm to the top
of the rankings.
Chetan Maini hired Trilegal when Mahindra & Mahindra
was purchasing a majority stake in electric car manu-
facturer Reva Electric. “The experience I had was very
positive,” says Maini, who is the chief technology and
strategy officer at Mahindra Reva. “Typically from a
legal firm, you expect legal advice, but Trilegal played a
key role in business negotiations, IP strategy, business
issues and [promoter] issues.”
Mai ni speaks hi ghl y of partner Rahul Matthan i n
Bangalore, who led Trilegal’s team on the deal, and
praises the firm for its speed. “The transaction was also
done in a short period of time, so everyone enjoyed a
feel-good factor at the end of it,” he says.
Like its counterparts at the top of India’s legal profes-
sion, Trilegal, which has an affiliation with UK-based
Allen & Overy, can’t afford to rest on its laurels. In addi-
tion to completing many high-profile transactions in
2010, the firm took time to focus on strengthening the
practice-area capabilities that clients will demand in
future years. Foremost among these efforts was estab-
lishing a dedicated competition law practice headed by
partner Sitesh Mukherjee. Sakya Singha Chaudhuri, who
recently completed a secondment in Allen & Overy’s
competition department in London, joins Mukherjee in
the new division, which is further strengthened by Rahul
Singh, a former professor at the National Law School
of India University in Bangalore and a consultant to the
Competition Commission of India.
Trilegal also increased its partner count to 17 last year,
promoting Kosturi Ghosh from the Bangalore office and
appointing Pavan Kumar Duvva to head the Hyderabad
The firm scored consistently well in the nominations
process, receiving glowing praise from clients in almost
every category. It addition to being named one of the
best overall law firms, it wins awards for energy, projects
and infrastructure; labour and employment; mergers and
acquisitions; and securitization and structured finance.

Mergers and acquisitions
It was a busy year for mergers and acquisitions.
According to London-based Mergermarket, the value of
M&A deals with an Indian element totalled US$44.2 bil-
lion in the first three quarters of 2010 alone.
Bharti purchased assets in Kuwait and Bangladesh;
Vedanta bought a slice of Cairn India; foreign phar-
maceutical companies pounced on their Indian coun-
terparts; and Shree Renuka Sugars acquired Grupo
Equipav Açúcar e Álcool, showing it would travel as far
as Brazil to satisfy its sweet cravings.
Economic Laws Practce
Established in 2001
1502, Dalamal Towers
Nariman Point
Mumbai - 400 021
+91 22 6636 7000
+91 22 6636 7172
Mr Rohan Shah
Managing Partner
Key practice areas: Tax, international trade & WTO, infrastructure & project
fnance, media & entertainment, corporate & commercial, commercial
arbitration, corporate fnance, securitization.
Number of partners: 17
Number of associates: 45
Principal offce: Mumbai
Other offces: New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune
Economic Laws Practice (ELP) was founded by eminent lawyers from diverse
felds. The frm’s lawyers beneft from extensive global experience and local
expertise, enabling our clients to complete complex transactions in a practical
and cost effcient manner.
ELP regularly assists Fortune 500 companies in a wide range of matters. The
frm has also represented the Government of India in various trade disputes.
ELP works closely with leading global law frms in the UK, the US, the Middle
East and the Asia Pacifc region, and also has working relationship with frms
throughout India. These relationships allow ELP to service clients not only
throughout India but also in various parts of the world.
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 42
Indian law frms
February 2011
The credit for many of these deals goes to the best
overall firms, all six of which also win awards for merg-
ers and acquisitions. Manvendra Singh, the senior coun-
sel at Verizon Business and a client of AZB & Partners,
says the firm “helped in determining the clear picture of
acquiring entities”.
Jacqueline Brosnan, a legal counsel at Telstra in
Sydney, is particularly impressed with AZB’s managing
partner. “For more than a decade Zia Mody has assisted
Telstra with a number of acquisitions, divestments and
joint ventures in India,” she says. “AZB’s advice has
been consistently thorough and practical and assisted
us to achieve our business goals in India.”
Another favourite for M&A is Trilegal. The firm advised
Thomson Reuters on its acquisition of legal process
outsourcing provider Pangea3. Trilegal’s role included
reviewing and drafting transaction documents, conduct-
ing a due diligence on Pangea3’s Indian operations and
providing transactional advice. The deal also required
Trilegal to address complex multi-jurisdictional issues,
including matters relating to withholding tax.
Rajiv Bakshi, the general counsel at Godrej, says he
has used Trilegal for overseas acquisitions because of
its “business and practical approach in cracking the
deal”. He describes the firm as “excellent” and men-
tions partners Sridhar Gorthi and Amit Tambe as leading
Kevin Santry, the regional legal counsel for Africa and
the Middle East at Heineken, is another fan of Gorthi’s
work. “Sridhar Gorthi combines his legal skills well with
pragmatism, which is essential for a European company
to execute transactions in India,” he says.
Further praise comes from Bomi Shroff, the executive
vice-president and company secretary of Tata Power.
Shroff says he chose to work with Trilegal after hearing
“rave reports about them”. It’s “a terrific firm to work
with,” he says. “They are conscious of the time lines
which the clients warrant.”
Varun Gupta, the head of M&A at Moser Baer, says
his company turns to Luthra & Luthra for advice on
fundraising, definitive agreements, negotiating definitive
documents and closing an entire transaction. “We have
a large level of comfort with Luthra & Luthra, given their
[Dua Associates and J Sagar
Associates] have shown
dedication, commitment and
… delivered their opinion,
judgment and action in a
precise and clear way
Manvendra Singh
Senior Counsel
Verizon Business
P&A Law Ofces
Established in 1996
1st Floor, Dr Gopal Das
Bhavan 28 Barakhamba Road
New Delhi - 110 001
+91 11 4139 3939
+91 11 2335 0416
Mr Anand S Pathak
Managing Partner
Key practice areas: Mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures,
privatizations, outsourcing, private equity and venture capital,
technology licensing, infrastructure, secured and unsecured lending,
project fnance and structured fnance, securitization, IPOs, private
placements, competition law, exchange control and other regulatory
matters, international arbitration, general litigation.
Lawyers of the frm are admitted to, and have practised in, multiple
jurisdictions including the US, the EU and India.
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 43
Indian law frms
February 2011
expertise in this domain area,” he says. “They are super-
efficient, they have complete knowledge and they pro-
tect all our interests in all our deals, so we value them
highly. They work round the clock with us to complete
the deals. It’s a great experience.”
Gupta also has high regard for J Sagar Associates,
with which he has worked in the past. However, his
strongest praise is reserved for Shishir Vayttaden, an
associate at Luthra & Luthra. “I think Shishir is the best
lawyer I’ve ever dealt with in terms of knowledge, nego-
tiations skills and efficiency,” he says.
Khaitan & Co is another firm that is highly regarded for
its mergers and acquisitions work. Zwissler Thomas, a
partner at Zirngibl Langwieser in Germany, singles out
Bharat Anand for particular praise in this area. The firm
has also taken steps to strengthen its offering in the
related area of competition and antitrust, most notably
with the appointment of Manas Kumar Chaudhuri, a
competition law specialist who was previously a joint
director of legal at the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade
Practices Commission and an additional registrar at the
Competition Commission of India.
Competition and antitrust
Two frms that are already reaping the rewards of their
complementary strengths in M&A and competition law
are Amarchand Mangaldas and Luthra & Luthra. Both are
among the recipients of this year’s award for competition
and antitrust. They are joined on the winners’ table by Dhall
Law Chambers, which was started by a former chairman
of the Competition Commission of India, Dua Associates,
Economic Laws Practice and P&A Law Offces.
Ankhi Das, t he di rect or of publ i c pol i cy and
1st Flooor, Sethna Building,
55, Maharshi Karve Road,
Marine Lines, Mumbai -400 002, India.
Tel: (+91-22) 2206 2132 / 92/ 2208 6371
Fax: (+91-22) 22085620

609, 6th Floor, “A” Wing,
Mittal Tower, M.G. Road,
Bangalore -560001, India.
Tel: (+91-80) 66310096/ 97

Contacts: Mr. Girish Dave; Ms. Mona Bhide
Key Areas of practice: Banking, Mutual Funds, Securities Laws,
Project Finance, Structuring and Security Documentation,
Securitisation, Derivatives, Mergers and Acquisition including
Corporate Restructuring, External Commercial Borrowings,
Structured Financing, Computer Software and Hardware
Contracts, Company Formations, Joint Ventures, Arbitration,
Conciliation and Mediations, Due Diligence, Property
Conveyancing and Leasing.
Amarchand has an excellent
banking and fnance team,
while AZB & Partners has
excellent knowledge
of the subject
Usha Amonkar
Vice-President of the
Legal Group
Mahindra & Mahindra
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 45
Indian law frms
February 2011
regulatory affairs at Microsoft, says clients should seek
out Amarchand’s “principal associate Naval Satarawala
Chopra, as well as lead competition lawyer Pallavi
Shroff,” in the competition law arena.
“Harry Chawla [at Amarchand] has also been very
helpful,” adds the vice-president and senior counsel at a
global fnancial services frm. “And Paku Khan is another
good lawyer at the frm, and well-versed on competition
P&A Law offces, meanwhile, has maintained its posi-
tion as a leader in the competition law arena as a result
of managing partner Anand Pathak’s expertise in the
area. Pathak has been heavily involved in training the
staff of the Competition Commission of India on the
intricacies and implications of the country’s new com-
petition law.
He boasts substantial global experience of antitrust
matters, robust knowledge of European Union competi-
tion law and was involved in handling one of the frst cases
to be fled under India’s new Competition Act. Described
by clients as “deeply knowledgeable”, “extremely com-
mitted”, “business oriented” and “customer-focused”,
Pathak continues to attract challenging mandates and is
a go-to lawyer for incisive competition advice.
Corporate and commercial
The winners of the award for corporate and commer-
cial work are: Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners,
Dua Associates, J Sagar Associates, Khaitan & Co and
Luthra & Luthra.
In one of its most prominent deals last year, Dua
Associates advised a consortium of 13 lenders, led by
Rural Electricity Corporation, on raising debt fnancing
of `23.4 billion (US$500 million) for the debt syndica-
tion and fnancing of a 600 megawatt thermal power
plant in Andhra Pradesh. The plant is being developed
by Meenakshi Energy. The project is fnanced by Rural
Electricity Corporation to facilitate the availability of
electricity for rural and semi-urban populations.
Si ngh at Veri zon Busi ness says that both Dua
Associates and J Sagar Associates “have shown dedi-
cation, commitment and most importantly, delivered
their opinion, judgment and action in a precise and clear
Capital markets and corporate fnance
Activity on the capital markets front heated up tremen-
dously in 2010 with a wave of offerings, including Coal
India’s record-breaking US$3.4 billion IPO. Two of this
year’s winners in the capital markets and corporate fnance
category – Amarchand Mangaldas and Luthra & Luthra –
made this listing possible. AK Sinha, the director of fnance
at Coal India, expresses great appreciation for Luthra &
Luthra’s guidance. “We worked very closely with Luthra &
Luthra and we got full support from them,” he says. “We
had very good relations with Madhurima [Mukherjee] and
- Mumbai -
Mulla House, 51, M.G. Road,
Fort, Mumbai - 400 001, India
(+91 22) 2204 4960, 2262 3191
Fax: (+91 22) 2204 0246
Contact: Shardul Thacker, Partner
- Bangalore -
209, Regency Enclave
4 Magrath Road
Bangalore - 560 025, India
(+91 80) 2555 0370, 2559 7704
Fax: (+91 80) 2559 8549
- New Delhi -
502, Nilgiri Apartments
5th floor, 9 Barakhamba Road
New Delhi -110 001, India
(+91 11) 2332 1501, 2332 1513
Fax: (+91 11) 2332 1520
About Mulla & Mulla: Established in 1895, Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe is
one of India’s largest full service law frms today and has a broad-based practice with
diversifed clientele including MNCs, Fortune 500 companies and some of the largest 50
Indian corporate houses. It maintains excellent relationships with regulatory bodies and
works with several international frms worldwide.
The frm’s admiralty practice has a worldwide reputation as specialists in all aspects
of the shipping laws, while its aviation experience includes acquisitions, investment,
transfers of aircrafts, lease of aircrafts licenses/ registration with the Directorate General
of Civil Aviation, etc. The frm has extensive experience in litigation and arbitration (ICC,
LCIA, SIAC) and its dispute resolution practice encompasses international arbitration,
antitrust, securities etc. The frm has vast experience in transactions involving real
estate, conveyancing and leasing.
Key practice areas: Admiralty, arbitration (domestic & international), aviation, banking &
securities, broadcasting, capital markets, construction, commodities, company/commercial
law, customs & tariff, employment & industrial relations, energy (oil & gas), media and
entertainment, environmental, fnance (aircraft, ship & project), foreign investment, IT,
infrastructure projects (power & ports), intellectual property, insurance, litigation, logistics,
maritime & shipping, M&A, offshore investment & securities, privatization, real estate &
property, tax, trade & transport, telecommunications.
Number of partners: 15 Associates: 100+ Offces: Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 47
Indian law frms
February 2011
her team, and the team was very, very good.”
The other winners in this category are AZB & Partners,
J Sagar Associates, Khaitan & Co and S&R Associates.
Offering praise to both fve-year old S&R Associates
and Luthra & Luthra, Vijaya Sampath, the group general
counsel at Bharti Airtel, says: “All members of the team
have a thorough knowledge of the issues and have expe-
rience in overseas jurisdictions like the UK and USA.”

Banking and fnance
Luthra & Luthra also wins an award in the banking
and fnance category, where it is joined by Amarchand
Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Dave & Girish & Co, Juris
Corp and Wadia Ghandy & Co.
“We seek a lot of advice from Amarchand on fnance
and strategic matters, as well as for critical projects we
embark upon,” says the senior counsel at a global fnan-
cial services frm. “I’m pretty satisfed with their service.
“I do have other law frms that I could look at if there’s
a confict of interest,” she adds. “In those cases I would
defnitely look at AZB & Partners, which I can also go to
for a range of matters. From AZB & Partners, I’d recom-
mend Ajay Bahl and Vinati Kastia.”
Usha Amonkar, the vice-president of the legal group at
Mahindra & Mahindra, echoes these views and maintains
that “Amarchand has an excellent banking and fnance
team”, while AZB & Partners has “excellent knowledge
of the subject”.
Wadia Ghandy & Co also receives widespread praise
in this feld. “Wadia Ghandy has assisted us in our trans-
actions,” says Gupta at Moser Baer. “They’re among the
top fve or six frms.”
Interestingly, two smaller and more specialist frms
also make the winners’ table for banking and fnance this
year, a refection perhaps of clients’ growing preference
for specialization among their legal advisers. Juris Corp
has its roots in banking and fnance-related disciplines
but has since expanded to become a full-service frm.
The frm’s managing partner, H Jayesh, is widely praised
by banks and financial institutions. Last year, Juris
Corp advised the Singapore branch of the Royal Bank
of Scotland on a US$260 million bridge loan extended
by it to an offshore subsidiary of Fortis Healthcare for
the acquisition of shares from the Singapore Stock
Exchange. The frm’s other clients include DBS Bank,
Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, DSP Merrill Lynch,
Deutsche Bank and HSBC.
Mumbai-based Dave & Girish & Co specializes in banking
and security documentation. Thomas at Zirngibl Langwieser
cites partner Mona Bhide as a key lawyer in this area.
Securitization and structured fnance
Dave & Girish & Co also triumphs in the securitization
and structured fnance category, where it is joined on the
podium by Amarchand Mangaldas, Juris Corp, Phoenix
Legal, Trilegal and Wadia Ghandy & Co.
Dave & Girish & Co and Juris Corp are both held in
high regard by clients and peers alike for their solid
knowledge and the precision of their advice in this area.
Last year, Juris Corp successfully represented Citibank
in its claim for payments due under derivative transac-
tions from an Indian counterparty, JJ Exporters, before
the London Court of International Arbitration. This is
reportedly the only instance following the landmark
Rajshree Sugars judgment (passed by Madras High
Court) where there has been an authoritative pronounce-
ment on the validity and merit of derivative transactions
with reference to Indian foreign exchange regulations.
With the exception of those in the category of best
newcomers, Phoenix Legal is the youngest award win-
ner this year. Established in 2008, this energetic frm has
been busy making a name for itself in several practice
areas. Its award in the securitization and structured
fnance category refects the trust it has succeeded in
building with its clients and peers.
Among its recent achievements, Phoenix advised
Caddi e Hotel s, a j oi nt venture between Accor and
InterGlobe, on a syndicated loan facility from Indian
public-sector banks to part-finance a hotel complex
at Delhi airport. The frm’s clients include ANZ Capital,
Astonfeld Management Consultancy, Petronet LNG and
Standard Chartered.
Private equity and venture capital
Sharing the award for private equity and venture capi-
tal are Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Desai &
Diwanji, J Sagar Associates, Luthra & Luthra and Nishith
Desai Associates.
Desai & Diwanji enjoyed a successful year in this prac-
tice area, advising on a number of high profle transac-
tions. The frm acted for Standard Chartered, a member
of a consortium led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts that
invested US$200 million in Coffee Day Resorts. In addi-
tion, partners Apurva Diwanji and Amit Khansaheb in
Delhi provided Indian legal advice to Quadrangle Capital
Partners on its US$300 million investment in a Gurgaon-
based independent cellular telephone tower manage-
ment company, Tower Vision India.
AZB & Partners advised the private equity investment
vehicle on this deal.
Restructuring and refnancing
The award for restructuring and refnancing is shared
by Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Crawford
Bayley & Co, J Sagar Associates, Luthra & Luthra and
We choose Hemant Sahai
Associates because of
its excellent reputation,
credentials and credibility
Arjun Wallia
Walsons Security Services
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 48
Indian law frms
February 2011
Talwar Thakore & Associates.
“Narayan Iyer and Sonali Mahapatra of Talwar Thakore
& Associates are particularly impressive,” says the direc-
tor of a major international bank in Singapore.
Shobhan Thakore and Rahul Gulati of the frm advised
the book running lead managers in Standard Chartered’s
listing of Indian depository receipts last year, while Feroz
Dubash, Suresh Talwar and Shobhan Thakore scored a
role in the sale of Royal Bank of Scotland’s India assets
to HSBC.
Energy, projects and infrastructure
Revitalizing India’s poorly developed infrastructure has
been a priority for the Indian government – and many of
the country’s law frms – in the past year.
Hemant Sahai Associates, for example, has been
chosen as the sole Indian legal counsel to advise the
William J Clinton Foundation on the construction of
solar energy parks in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The project
aims to generate 3,000 megawatts of solar power at
each location.
Although not an infrastructure client of the frm, Arjun
Wallia, the chairman at Walsons Security Services, offers
valuable insights into the quality of Hemant Sahai’s serv-
ices after engaging the frm to work on an M&A deal. “We
choose Hemant Sahai Associates because of its excel-
lent reputation, credentials and credibility,” he says.
“We received excellent professional services when we
contacted them. The team has always been prompt and
swift with excellent professional courtesy. Both Hemant
Sahai and Aparajit Bhattacharya are brilliant.”
Hemant Sahai Associates is one of the winners of this
year’s award for energy, projects and infrastructure. It
is joined by Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, J
Sagar Associates, Luthra & Luthra and Trilegal.
Construction and real estate
In the real estate sector, Kanga & Co earned its spurs
by advising Neepa Real Estate on its purchase of a
prime plot of land from Borosil Glass Works. The plot
measured more than 7.4 hectares and is located in met-
ropolitan Mumbai.
Kanga & Co is highly recommended by Jayesh Shah,
a director at Shree Naman Developers, a real estate
company and developer of commercial, residential and
hospitality projects.
The frm shares the award for construction and real
estate work with AZB & Partners, Federal & Rashmikant,
FoxMandal Little, Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe
and Wadia Ghandy & Co.
Aviation, shipping and maritime
With international trade and investment at the fore-
front of India’s agenda, there is increasing demand for
profciency in aviation and shipping law. Experts predict
Established in 2005
Nirmal, Nariman Point, Mumbai
400 021, India
+91 22 6752 9037-52 (Mumbai)
+91 11 2332 2311 (New Delhi)
+971 472 5164 (Dubai)
+91 22 6752 9053 (Mumbai)
+91 11 2371 3657 (New Delhi)
+971 472 5049 (Dubai)
Mr RJ Gagrat (Mumbai)
Mr UA Rana (New Delhi)
Mr HD Gardi (Dubai)
Key practice areas: Arbitration, asset–based fnance, aviation, banking &
fnance, capital markets, corporate, dispute resolution, infrastructure, projects &
energy, insurance, intellectual property, investment funds, M&A, oil & gas, private
equity, project fnance, real estate, securities law, shipping, TMT and tax.
Number of partners and associates: 50+
Principal offce: Mumbai
Other offce: New Delhi, Dubai (associate offces)
Gagrats has a broad-based practice covering a wide range of legal
disciplines. Most of the members of the frm have attended prestigious
universities in England, the US and India. Some of the partners of the frm
have qualifed as solicitors of the Supreme Court of England. The frm
has represented clients on signifcant transactions, including cross-border
fnancings, large acquisitions and disposals in India and overseas, private
equity deals, power projects and securities offerings, including initial public
offerings (IPOs) and offerings of American depositary receipts (ADRs), global
depository receipts (GDRs) and foreign-currency convertible bonds (FCCBs).
The frm was a recipient of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Indian Law Firm Awards.
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 49
Indian law frms
February 2011
the aviation industry will grow by 18-20% this year, while
India’s Shipping Ministry has unveiled plans to invest
US$100 billion in building new ports and enhancing the
country’s shipping industry.
Topping the tables in this important arena are ALMT
Legal, Bhasin & Co, Bhatt & Saldanha, Gagrats, Mulla &
Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe, and S Venkateswaran.
Radharamanan Panicker, the CEO of Cargo Service
Centre India, selected ALMT Legal for advice on com-
pany formation, share transfers, negotiation and fnali-
zation of concession agreements, advisory services
for an airport project and advice on various contracts
and agreements. “The frm is very professional and very
responsive to the needs of the organization,” he says.
Although not a shipping client, Anoop Seth, the man-
aging director at AMP Capital Advisors India, sums up
the widespread praise that ALMT Legal received from
nominees. “The frm is responsive and creative with their
advice, which is of high quality,” he says. “They tell us
their interpretation of a situation and how they think we
should proceed, rather than telling us what we want to
hear, which is what I really appreciate.
“Ryna Karani is the partner who does our work,” adds
Seth. “It’s quite a joy to work with her. She identifes
issues quickly, her advice is timely and she explains
things in ways we can understand. She also separates
legal issues from commercial issues very well.”
Shi ppi ng st al war t s Bhat t & Sal danha and S
Venkateswaran continue to win accolades from clients
and peers alike. Bhatt & Saldanha, a Mumbai-based
shipping frm, often attracts clients desperate to resolve
shipping disputes such as crew and charter claims. The
frm also handles arbitration matters.
S Venkateswaran, meanwhile, is lauded for handling
both dry and wet shipping matters. The frm generally
advises ship owners but also offers legal services relat-
ing to cargo, providing there is no confict of interest. It
also handles protection and indemnity insurance and
marine insurance against third party liabilities which may
result from owning or operating ships.
Aviation heavyweight Gagrats has advised the found-
ers of Jet Airways since the late 1980s, before the
airline was even formed. Now, the firm advises it on
contracts, aircraft lease agreements, disputes relating
to those agreements, trademark registrations, copyright
matters and employment contracts. “When the airline
was formed the late Mr JR Gagrat advised us on what
sort of structure to have and what sort of company to
form,” says Saroj Datta, the executive director at Jet
Airways. “We have since then worked with Gagrats on all
our legal requirements. We work principally with Rustam
Gagrat. He and his colleagues are very understanding of
our requirements.”
Another aviation giant is Bhasin & Co. Lalit Bhasin,
the frm’s managing partner, recently represented the
National Aviation Company of India in Delhi High Court
and successfully secured an injunction order against Air
India’s striking employees. Back on the ground, his frm
was a legal adviser to the domestic panel of the organ-
izing committee of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Dinesh Jain, the vice-president and company secretary
of Asian Hotels (North), says Bhasin & Co is “a very old
frm and a nice one,” and describes the managing part-
ner, Lalit Bhasin, as “a very experienced lawyer”.
Shipping and logistics are two topics close to the heart
of Shardul Thacker, a partner at Mulla & Mulla. And why
shouldn’t they be, when his frm has excelled in these
areas for so long? Thacker is well-versed on all ship-
ping and logistics matters and wins widespread praise
from his clients. The frm offers capabilities in maritime
and transport law, marine and general insurance, ship
fnancing, aviation and aircraft fnancing.
Dispute resolution
When disputes flare up, it pays to have the best
lawyers by your side, particularly in a country that has
gained international notoriety for the sluggishness of
its courts. Observers are hopeful that the new National
Litigation Policy, introduced by the Ministry of Law and
Justice, will succeed in bringing the pendency of cases
down from 15 years to just three years. However, only
time will tell.
For now, many litigating parties would prosper from
having dispute resolution award winner Karanjawala &
Co on their side. “Karanjawala & Co is the preferred law
frm for all litigation matters,” says Vasani of Tata Sons.
“We, the Tata companies, engage the frm for most of
our litigations, especially for matters in the Supreme
Court. In certai n i mportant cases, the fi rm i s al so
engaged for litigations outside of Delhi.”
[We have] worked with Gagrats
on all our legal requirements
Saroj Datta
Executive Director
Jet Airways
[ALMT] is responsive and
creative with their advice,
which is of high quality
Anoop Seth
Managing Director
AMP Capital Advisors India
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 50
Indian law frms
February 2011
According to Vasani, Karanjawala’s strength lies in its
intense devotion to dispute resolution. “What weighs in
favour of the frm is its singular focus on litigation, which
is also its core competence,” says Vasani. “The frm,
especially its managing partner, Raian Karanjawala, has
good access to senior counsel in Delhi, which is of criti-
cal help in urgent matters, and generally puts together
the best legal team to represent us in the court.”
Vasani pr ai ses Rai an Kar anj awal a and Mani k
Karanjawala for their strategic guidance, as well as part-
ners Ruby Singh Ahuja and Sandeep Kapur, and associ-
ate Manu Aggarwal, for their effciency.
KV Vaidyanathan, the vice-president for legal affairs
at Colgate Palmolive, also offers high praise for Ahuja,
referring to her as “a good, aggressive and practical
Another client of the frm is The Hindustan Times. “We
have used the frm for all types of corporate legal mat-
ters, recovery suits, property matters, disputes arising
out of contracts, industrial labour law disputes, other
miscellaneous disputes, civil and criminal suits,” says
Rajeev Jain, the newpaper’s deputy general manager of
corporate affairs. “The prompt and personalized serv-
ices that they offer is quite appreciable.” Aside from
Raian Karanjawala, Jain names Nandini Gore, Sandeep
Kapur and Seema Sundd as talents at the frm.
Karanjawala shares the dispute resolution award with
Amarchand Mangaldas, Bharucha & Partners, Federal &
Rashmikant, Mulla & Mulla and PH Parekh & Co.
“For litigations in Mumbai we have had good experi-
ence with Federal & Rashmikant, and Mulla & Mulla,”
says Vasani.
Bharucha & Partners has also demonstrated the abili-
ties required to win complex disputes. The frm is repre-
senting Princess Ujjwala Raje Jai Vikram Shah to thwart
proceedings against her Shiv Mahal Palace lands. It is
also involved in Ferani Hotels’ diverse range of disputes
[Karanjawala & Co] has good
access to senior counsel in
Delhi, which is of critical
help in urgent matters
Bharat Vasani
Group General Counsel
Tata Sons
New Delhi Address: 10 HAILEY ROAD, 10TH FLOOR, NEW DELHI – 110 001, INDIA
Telephone No. +91 11 2332 2601 Fax No. +91 11 2332 9273
Email Address:
Mumbai Of�ice : 116 Mittal Court ‘A’ Wing, Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400 021
Telephone No. +91 22 22842050, 22042954 Fax No.: + 91 22 22874332
Email Address :
Contact Person(s): LALIT BHASIN, NINA GUPTA (Ms.)
Year Established : 1970
Number of lawyers : 40 (Forty)
Languages Spoken : English, French, Hindi, Urdu
Key Areas of Practices : Dispute Resolution; Aviation, Maritime, International Corporate Transactions, Infrastruc-
ture, Capital Markets, Joint Ventures, IT, Banking, Insurance, Real Estate, Product Liability, Labour & Employment
Notable mention:
Mr. Lalit Bhasin is the Managing Partner. Bhasin & Co. is a well reputed full service law �irm – equally adapt in
Dispute Resolution Practice and Corporate Transactional work.
Over the years, Bhasin & Co. has been ranked as the top law �irm in India by various international journals. The �irm
has been marked as a market leader in India in Dispute Resolution, Labour and Employment and Aviation laws.
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 51
Indian law frms
February 2011
with entrepreneur and industrialist Nusli Wadia.
Bharucha’s award may be for dispute resolution, but
out of court the frm receives equal praise from its cli-
ents. “We use Bharucha & Partners services for all legal
matters pertaining to corporate affairs,” says Prakash
Thakur, a director at Jyoti Structures. “We have worked
extensively with senior partners Alka Bharucha and MP
Bharucha for more than three decades. They are out-
standing. I rate them as best in class.”
Labour and employment
One major cause of disputes is employment con-
tracts, and this is particularly the case in a country that
has complex labour laws that are often out of sync with
international norms. For example, restrictive national
and local legislation effectively prohibits companies with
more than 100 staff from letting a single employee go
without government approval.
In such a challenging environment, getting the right
advice on labour and employment law is crucial. Clients,
therefore, may well consider enlisting the services of
one of this year’s award winners in the field: AZB &
Partners, Crawford Bayley & Co, DSK Legal, Kochhar &
Co, Majmudar & Co and Trilegal.
Shravan Shroff, the managing director of Fame India,
an integrated flm exhibition and distribution company,
swears by the advice he receives from DSK Legal. “DSK
Legal is exceptionally good,” he says. “Anand Desai is
extremely sharp and intelligent, but he is also a genu-
inely good human being. Unlike some other lawyers who
elongate deals for the sake of more money, he acts in the
best interests to close a deal as fast as possible.”
Nassi r Nurul Kabi r, the associ ate vi ce-presi dent
of legal affairs at Strides Arcolab, sums up much of
the praise that has been heaped on DSK’s managing
DSK Legal is exceptionally
good. Anand Desai is
extremely sharp and intelligent,
but he is also a genuinely
good human being
Shravan Shroff
Managing Director
Fame India
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 52
Indian law frms
February 2011
partner, Anand Desai. Kabir commends Desai for “keep-
ing issues simple and at the same time astute”.
Fellow winner Majmudar & Co also received wide-
spread praise for its labour and employment work.
However, it was comments made by Debolina Partap,
the vice-president of legal affairs at Wockhardt, relat-
ing to the frm’s work in other felds that best sum up its
strengths. Partap has worked with Majmudar & Co for
just under two decades on banking and fnance-related
matters and intellectual property issues. She describes
the frm as “excellent and very time effcient,” an obser-
vation that she bases on her experiences of working with
several of the frm’s key lawyers, including Akil Hirani,
Neerav Merchant, Kashish Bhatia, Anindita Jaiswal,
Sameer Shah and Anthony Toppo.
Intellectual property
As usual, competition was ferce in the domain of the
IP boutiques, but this year there’s an intruder in their
midst. For the frst time in the history of the Indian Law
Firm Awards, a general practice frm – Luthra & Luthra
– has won a place on the IP winners’ table. Sitting along-
side it are IP boutiques Anand and Anand, K&S Partners,
Krishna & Saurastri, Remfry & Sagar and fellow new-
comer Saikrishna & Associates.
Luthra’s win may come as a surprise to many. Yet, for
several years the frm has been quietly building a substan-
tial intellectual property machine intended to rival even
the most celebrated IP boutique. The hard work has paid
off. Clients are impressed with the frm’s new offering and
Luthra received enough nominations in the IP category to
comfortably win a place on the winners’ table.
Leading the pack, however, is Anand and Anand, which
received almost three times the number of nominations
of any other frm in this category.
“Anand and Anand is one of the best in the IP business,”
Hilton Worldwide utilizes Anand
and Anand – primarily Pravin
Anand and Binny Kalra –
for a variety of [IP] matters
Mark Robertson
Senior Vice President
Hilton Worldwide
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 53
Indian law frms
February 2011
says a counsel at an international electronics company.
“To have Pravi n Anand on your si de i s useful , but
more importantly, it is helpful not to have him as your
“Hilton Worldwide utilizes Anand and Anand – primarily
Pravin Anand and Binny Kalra – for a variety of intel-
lectual property matters in India … and has been very
pleased with their counsel and representation,” adds
Mark Robertson, the senior vice-president and an assist-
ant general counsel at Hilton Worldwide.
Last year, the frm represented chocolatier Ferrero in
relation to an infringement of its Ferrero Rocher brand.
An ex parte interim injunction was initially issued against
a Chinese manufacturer and its Indian importer, which
had been selling Ferrero lookalikes in the Indian market.
The importer’s infringing goods were sealed and the par-
ties were restrained from marketing or selling chocolates
and confectionery items under any mark, label or visual
medium similar to those owned by Ferrero.
Suj a Subramani am, the head of l egal at Roche
Diagnostics, works with Anand and Anand on phar-
maceutical and patent litigation in India. “We haven’t
worked with any other frms in India on litigation,” says
Subramaniam. “I would recommend Shravan Chopra and
Kritika Vijay, a young associate. Both of them have done
a fantastic job.”
A trademark attorney at a major pharmaceuticals com-
pany, meanwhile, recommends partner Safr Anand. “We
have a long-standing relationship with Anand and Anand
and we think highly of the frm, and particularly Safr.”
Jon Webster, a senior trademarks counsel for Bausch &
Lomb, places his loyalties elsewhere. His company uses
Remfry & Sagar for all types of trademark work in India,
ranging from clearance and fling to confict and opposi-
tion matters. “We have used Remfry & Sagar for over 20
years and have continued using them for their high-qual-
ity counsel and legal assessments,” says Webster. “Our
experience has been favourable and generally successful
with good results.”
Up-and-coming IP boutique, Saikrishna & Associates,
is another of this year’s winners. “For software piracy
cases, I would use Saikrishna Rajagopal to handle my
case,” says one peer. “He is bold, has a good reputation
and is very effective in court.”
The frm’s transactional team has been advising clients
such as Disney and Star News Corp on flm clearance
issues and conducting specifc audits on TV formats,
content-related issues, trademark-related issues and
The venerable K&S Partners continues to impress
clients in India and overseas, while Krishna & Saurastri
retains its long-held position as the go-to IP firm in
IT, media and telecommunications
Hit by controversy last year, India’s telecoms sector is
struggling to save face and regain its appeal to foreign
investors. In May 2010, India halted telecommunications
imports from China and later lifted the ban on the condi-
tion that suppliers agreed to subject their equipment to
tight security audits. Later in the year, India’s telecom
minister, Andimuthu Raja, resigned over accusations
that he handed out telecom licences at reduced prices.
Despite the controversies, observers expect strong
growth in the sector this year as telecommunications
activity reaches new peaks.
The six winners in the category of IT, media & tel-
ecommunications are: Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB &
Partners, DSK Legal, Naik Paranjpe & Co, Nishith Desai
Associates and Seth Dua & Associates.
Elvin Wan, the chief regional counsel, Asia Pacifc, at
Orange France Telecom relies on Seth Dua & Associates
for a range of legal services, including non-compliance
issues with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, the
Reserve Bank of India and telecom regulators. “I have
known Atul Dua since 2000,” says Wan. “He knows the
company well, he responds well, he knows the expecta-
tions I have, so it’s easier for us. From a legal perspec-
tive, it’s excellent legal advice. From a solutions perspec-
tive, he tends to give me viable and feasible solutions
based on the situation in my business itself, so I’m very
happy with that.”
Brosnan at Telstra meanwhile, says she depends on
AZB & Partners for frequent updates to telecoms regula-
tions. “Zia Mody has provided clear and practical advice
on India’s telecommunications laws and kept us very well
informed of changes to those laws,” she says.
An increasingly popular choice for media-focused
work is Naik Paranjpe & Co, a 17-lawyer firm widely
lauded by peers and clients alike. “What impressed me
about Ameet Naik was the fact that he was very quick to
grasp various subjects,” says Shroff at Fame India. “He
started his own media and entertainment practice at a
time when no such frm was focusing exclusively on the
sector.” Shroff also commends Naik for his effciency.
“I have worked with the best law frms in India and the
speed at which Ameet can revert on a document is unbe-
lievable,” he says. “I haven’t come across any service
provider who can deliver quality and consistency with
such speed.”
Nai k Paranj pe & Co’s cl i ent s i ncl ude Rel i ance
MediaWorks, Reliance Big Entertainment and Percept,
an entertainment, media and communications company.
Shi bashi sh Sar kar, t he CFO of Rel i ance Bi g
Entertainment, has worked with Naik Paranjpe & Co for
over fve years and says the frm is “excellent”. “Ameet
[Naik]’s understanding of the industry is better than any
single media frm in the country,” says Sarkar. “He is
Under Ameet [Naik]’s
supervision, his team, including
Anuja, Ravi, Madhu, Abhishek,
has done pretty well
Manmohan Shetty
Walkwater Media
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 54
Indian law frms
February 2011
quick, especially in litigations when quick calls need to
be taken, he is very apt in those situations.” Sarkar rec-
ommends Ravi Suryavanshi in addition to Naik and also
has great respect for Gowree Gokhale at Nishith Desai
Naik Paranjpe & Co has also advised Viacom18 Media
on its joint venture with Sun TV and is currently advising
Walkwater Media on the setup of a theme park on the
outskirts of Mumbai. Asked who at the frm he would rec-
ommend, Manmohan Shetty, the chairman of Walkwater
Media, says: “Ameet Naik, defnitely. Under Ameet’s super-
vision, his team, including Anuja, Ravi, Madhu, Abhishek,
has done pretty well”.
Domestic and international clients are keeping India’s
tax practitioners on their toes with a food of enquiries
about the country’s forthcoming goods and services
At the forefront of the tax advisory practice are this
year’s winners, Associated Law Advisers, DM Harish & Co,
Economic Laws Practice, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan,
Nishith Desai Associates and Vaish Associates.
“We engage Economic Laws Practice for various matters,”
says Jatin Jalundhwala, the legal head at Adani Enterprises.
“Contractual matters, indirect tax, arbitrations, both domes-
tic and international, service tax and corporate matters.”
According to Jalundhwala, Economic Laws Practice
stands out because of its devotion to a task. “They always
take full responsibility for a matter,” says Jalundhwala.
“I find the quality of ELP better than others because
they have good knowledgeable people and do good
Jayesh Shah is a director at Shree Naman Developers
and another client who has benefted from legal advice
provided by Economic Laws Practice. Shah says he
chose the frm because of its “experienced team” which
was “approachable at any time”. He has particular praise
for the expertise of the frm’s managing partner, Rohan
Shah, and partners Sujjain Talwar and Pranay Bhatia.
Economic Laws Practice successfully represented a
consortium of general insurance companies in its inter-
actions with the Ministry of Finance, which resulted in a
favourable resolution of a tax controversy relating to the
levy of service tax on “reinsurance commission” worth
over `2 billion.
Meanwhile, Vaish Associates’ managing partner, Ajay
Vohra, succeeded in obtaining a favourable decision from
the Authority for Advance Rulings on behalf of his client
Dassault Systems. The authority ruled that consideration
for the transfer or sale of a computer programme (copy-
righted article) does not constitute “royalty”, either under
the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, or the relevant
double tax avoidance treaty.
DM Harish & Co and Nishith Desai Associates also com-
mand much respect in the feld of taxation. DM Harish & Co
has been active in advising both multinational companies and
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 55
Indian law frms
February 2011
high net worth individuals on Indian tax laws. Anil Harish, a
partner at the frm, is also known for his real estate expertise.
Best newcomers
With offces in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai,
one-year old Tatva Legal is the frst recipient of this year’s
award for best newcomers. Having broken away from Dua
Associates, nine former partners and around 50 former asso-
ciates opened the doors to their new frm on 1 January 2010.
Despite its tender age, Tatva Legal quickly made a name
for itself on the back of the reputations of partners Shishir
Sharma, NK Dilip and Shailendra Komatreddy. The young
frm has also won roles on several major deals.
It acted as legal counsel to Tower Vision India, a Gurgaon-
based independent cellular telephone tower management
company, on its US$300 million private equity fundraising
from Quadrangle Capital Partners. Avinash Mody, a partner
at the frm, advised Tower Vision on due diligence and other
Indian legal matters. In addition, the frm was chosen to
advise Coffee Day Resorts on a private equity investment in
the company by a Kohlberg Kravis Roberts-led consortium.
Sharing the best newcomer award with Tatva Legal is
Argus Partners. Launched in 2009 by former Amarchand
partner Krishnava Dutt and principal associate Ramya
Hariharan (now a partner at Argus), the frm has offces in
Kolkata and Mumbai. It currently consists of two partners
and 18 lawyers, who handle corporate commercial work,
M&A, banking and project work.
In January 2010, the frm advised Kolkata-based coal tar
manufacturer Himadri Chemicals & Industries on a US$124
million private equity placement and open offer in the
company by Bain Capital. It also acted for Prysmian Cavi e
Sistemi Energia, an international provider of high-technol-
ogy cables, in its purchase of a 51% equity stake of India’s
Ravin Cables in February 2010.
“Argus provided accurate and tailored service in the
structuring and negotiation of complex transactions, offer-
ing a high-quality service that combines a strong legal base
and good practical approach,” says Michele Binda, the in-
house counsel at Prysmian.
“Their depth of knowledge and strong commercial sense
makes them an invaluable adviser to us,” adds Sunita
Thawani, the head of legal at Jusco.
Winners at a glance
The full results of India Business Law Journal’s 2010 Indian Law Firm Awards
Firms in the following tables are listed alphabetically, not in rank order. All winners in each category are of equal standing
Law Firm of the Year
Amarchand Mangaldas
Best overall law frms
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
J Sagar Associates
Khaitan & Co
Luthra & Luthra
Aviation, shipping & maritime
ALMT Legal
Bhasin & Co
Bhatt & Saldanha
Mulla & Mulla
S Venkateswaran
Best newcomers
Argus Partners
Tatva Legal
Banking & fnance
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
Dave & Girish & Co
Juris Corp
Luthra & Luthra
Wadia Ghandy & Co
[Atul Dua provides] excellent
legal advice
Elvin Wan
Chief Regional Counsel,
Asia Pacifc
Orange France Telecom
Intelligence report
India Business Law Journal 56
Indian law frms
February 2011
Capital markets & corporate fnance
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
J Sagar Associates
Khaitan & Co
Luthra & Luthra
S&R Associates
Competition & antitrust
Amarchand Mangaldas
Dhall Law Chambers
Dua Associates
Economic Laws Practice
Luthra & Luthra
P&A Law Offces
Construction & real estate
AZB & Partners
Federal & Rashmikant
FoxMandal Little
Kanga & Co
Mulla & Mulla
Wadia Ghandy & Co
Corporate & commercial
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
Dua Associates
J Sagar Associates
Khaitan & Co
Luthra & Luthra
Dispute resolution
Amarchand Mangaldas
Bharucha & Partners
Federal & Rashmikant
Karanjawala & Co
Mulla & Mulla
PH Parekh & Co
Energy, projects & infrastructure
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
Hemant Sahai Associates
J Sagar Associates
Luthra & Luthra
Intellectual property
Anand and Anand
K&S Partners
Krishna & Saurastri
Luthra & Luthra
Remfry & Sagar
Saikrishna & Associates
IT, media & telecommunications
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
DSK Legal
Naik Paranjpe & Co
Nishith Desai Associates
Seth Dua & Associates
Labour & employment
AZB & Partners
Crawford Bayley & Co
DSK Legal
Kochhar & Co
Majmudar & Co
Mergers & acquisitions
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
J Sagar Associates
Khaitan & Co
Luthra & Luthra
Private equity & venture capital
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
Desai & Diwanji
J Sagar Associates
Luthra & Luthra
Nishith Desai Associates
Restructuring & refnancing
Amarchand Mangaldas
AZB & Partners
Crawford Bayley & Co
J Sagar Associates
Luthra & Luthra
Talwar Thakore & Associates
Securitization & structured fnance
Amarchand Mangaldas
Dave & Girish & Co
Juris Corp
Phoenix Legal
Wadia Ghandy & Co
Associated Law Advisers
DM Harish & Co
Economic Laws Practice
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan
Nishith Desai Associates
Vaish Associates

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