India Business Law Journal presents its annual legal market report and directory of Indian law firms. Amid challenging times for India’s lawyers and law firms, Rebecca Abraham checks the pulse of the country’s legal profession

The dizzying rate at which new law firms are being set up across India would suggest that despite bleak prospects for the Indian economy, the country’s corporate lawyers are bullish about the future. Yet with lucrative transactions drying up and India Inc in trouble, some of India’s top law firms report that revenues have taken a beating and that the future looks anything but rosy.

Forecasting “a very serious doom and gloom scenario” for the legal market over the next two or three years, Berjis Desai, senior partner at J Sagar Associates, says growth in annual revenues at the 265-lawyer firm has fallen from 40% between 2003 and 2010 to about 18% since 2010-11.

Reporting that the firm posted revenue growth of “roughly 16% to 18%” over the past four months, Desai says: “I am pleasantly surprised that it has done as well as it has done in the circumstances. I thought it couldn’t and there would be stagnation.”

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