What it means to be a partner at an Indian law firm and why it may matter to clients

By Rebecca Abraham

India’s legal profession differs from most other jurisdictions, with established firms housing some of the brightest legal minds, who in many instances are stubbornly dynastic and by design more conducive to individual endeavour.

Individualism in many respects is a good thing, but too much of a good thing may not be wise; self-interest precludes unity, and dynasties, as we know too well, will rise – and fall.

Writing almost half a century ago, Marc Galanter, an American academic with a keen interest in the Indian legal profession, wondered if lawyers in India would be capable of overcoming “their individualism to find forms of enduring collaboration” so as to develop expertise in the areas required by their clients. Galanter noted that India’s “simultaneous commitments to economic development, a welfare state and democracy imply vast new demands on the legal system”.

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