India Business Law Journal reveals its definitive list of the most recommended lawyers in India. Rebecca Abraham reports


The third edition of India Business Law Journal’s list of India’s top lawyers sees little change in the rankings of the most established and respected names in private practice. Yet, with 13 additions the list points to some churn within the Indian legal market that, unlike in several other jurisdictions, is dominated by personalities.

Law firms in India are yet to build overall consistency and possibly the clout of their counterparts in more developed jurisdictions. Clients typically seek out individual lawyers.

A seasoned in-house lawyer at a financial and investment advisory company whom we spoke to refers to them as “tried and tested partners” who can be trusted to advise on areas of work that “can be a bit complicated and often need continuity in thought processes”. He says: “even within the same practice area at reputed law firms, there is sometimes a considerable gulf in quality among individual partners” and he “prefers to rely on individual lawyers rather than law firms”.


The large number of comments sent with nominations for India Business Law Journal’s A-List of the top 100 lawyers in India suggest that it is the extra, sometimes intangible, qualities that set the most sought after top lawyers in India apart.

So, what does it take to be one of India’s top lawyers?


“A remarkable ability and willingness to learn” about the client and its ambitions in India is what sets Vineet Aneja apart, according to Michael Lewis, executive chairman of Riverston Group, which owns and operates schools in the UK. Aneja, who is a partner at Classis Law, is applauded for being “always available to respond to our stream of questions as to how Indian business is conducted from a legal perspective”.

An ability to remain “very motivated to find solutions and be creative when things get bumpy,” are what particularly impressed Dietmar Thiele, a managing director at Network Corporate Finance, about Rabindra Jhunjhunwala, a partner at Khaitan & Co.

“His visibility with senior counsel and judiciary is noticeable,” says Navin Jain, head of taxation – direct tax at Vedanta, of Sachit Jolly, a partner at DMD Advocates. Jolly, who is a new addition to the list and also one of the youngest, is applauded for his ability to “add a lot of value on issues being litigated on direct taxes” and for “getting desired results”.Rangam-Sharma-Counsel-Guild-Capital-2

A unique ability to spot potential antitrust concerns within companies operating in opaque regulatory environments is what differentiates Nisha Kaur Uberoi, a partner at Trilegal as a top lawyer in India according to Rangam Sharma, in-house counsel, Guild Capital. Sharma describes Uberoi as “one of the very few competition lawyers who understands the implications of the Indian competition laws in complex technical markets”.

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