Link Legal announces combination with Dentons in first for India

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From left: Atul Sharma and Nusrat Hassan

Link Legal has announced the formation of a combination with Dentons, making Dentons the first global law firm to have such a partnership in India. This arrangement will see Dentons’ lawyers represent Link Legal’s clients outside of India, while Link Legal lawyers will represent clients within the country maintaining consistency with domestic regulations.

“Dentons and Link Legal have been in discussions since 2018,” Nusrat Hassan, the co-managing partner of Link Legal, told India Business Law Journal.

“This is not a joint venture, not a best-friends relationship or a liaison licence, nor a merger or an acquisition, but a combination like Dentons has done around the world.”

Dentons uses a “polycentric” structure, which is based on a Swiss verein where firms unite under a single brand while maintaining their own financial independence and legal liability. This has allowed Dentons to grow in what will be 215 offices across 83 countries. The combination is expected to be completed in the coming months following approval by the partners.

A Dentons spokesperson explained that through this model, it is able to partner with firms of choice where other structures, such as foreign ownership and control over local lawyers, would not work.

Dentons combines with only one firm in most markets. One notable exception is in the US where it is combining with leading firms using a dual-partnership model that allows lawyers to be members of both their current firm and the national partnership.

“We approached Dentons because we recognised that a combination between our firms would help us meet and exceed the needs of our clients who are increasingly becoming global,” said Atul Sharma, the managing partner of Link Legal, who clarified that the firm would be wholly owned, controlled and managed by Indian lawyers at Link Legal in India.

Hassan added that the two firms “will collaborate in all practice areas” and that the combination will provide them access to sophisticated new technology as well as leading talent, and allow the firm to service clients across more than 200 locations globally.