With a remarkable spike in deal activity in 2021, who are the top 100 foreign lawyers advising clients for India-related matters?

Deal activity in India has once again reached a new record in 2021 surpassing the previous high in 2018 seen before the arrival of the pandemic. Many of the biggest of deals in the past year such as ReNew Power’s USD8 billion de-SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) merger, Flipkart’s USD3.6 billion funding round or Blackstone’s USD2.8 billion acquisition in IT services provider Mphasis involved working closely with India-focused foreign lawyers from firms such as Allen & Overy, Cleary Gottlieb, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells.

As per a PwC survey, business sentiment is similarly robust for the current year. With another busy phase of deal activity anticipated, companies will require solid advice and guidance in the face of headwinds blowing in from the disruption in the global supply chain, rising oil prices and inflation. As such, out of the hundreds of lawyers around the world who claim to be India experts, which ones are leading the field?

To find out, India Business Law Journal sought answers from a large number of professionals – mainly experienced lawyers at Indian law firms and India-focused in-house counsel around the world. These professionals recommended and nominated lawyers that they consider to be among the top legal experts for advising on the international aspects of India-related matters.

To qualify as an International A-List lawyer, clients say lawyers need to demonstrate a strong understanding about the nuances of India and the requirements of Indian clients along with maintaining good connections within the legal community in India. Additionally, clients expect A-List lawyers to guide them through complicated legal and compliance issues smoothly and possess a practical approach to problem-solving in the face of adversity. Qualities such as being able to provide commercially savvy solutions and being pragmatic negotiators are also seen as advantages.

The text that follows highlights select commendations for international A-List lawyers who are based in important regional hubs.

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To identify the top 100 international India experts, India Business Law Journal turned to hundreds of lawyers at Indian law firms, as well as India-focused in-house counsel within the country and around the world, and asked them to tell us which lawyers should make the cut, and why.

Nominations were made by professionals at a wide range of Indian and global companies, and Indian law firms, including:

AZB & Partners, Biostadt India Limited, ClearTax, DSK Legal, Indian Law Partners, IndusLaw, JSA, K Singhania & Co, Kachwaha & Partners, Khaitan & Co, Kochhar & Co, Krishnamurthy & Co. (K Law), L&L Partners, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, Little & Co, Majmudar & Partners, MSA Partners, Phoenix Legal, S&R Associates, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, Silk Legal, SKAA Advocates & Solicitors, Society of Indian Law Firms, TT&A, Trilegal, and many more.

All lawyers based outside India who advise on the international aspects of India-related matters were automatically eligible for inclusion in the nominations process and, as always, there were no fees or any other requirements for entry. Lawyers at non-Indian law firms were not permitted to make nominations.

The final list reflects the nominations received and the justifications provided for them, combined with the India Business Law Journal editorial team’s more than 30 years’ collective experience in documenting and analysing the global market of India-focused legal services.

All A-List lawyers were also given the opportunity to enhance their listings with the addition of biographies and contact details, for which a publishing fee was charged. However, the list itself is the result of independent editorial research. Biographies, where provided, were written by the lawyers themselves and have not been independently verified.