India

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: The Bar Council of India 

Competition authority: Competition Commission of India 

Financial regulator: Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets, M&A, Private equity, Project Development, Project finance

Jurisdiction overview

The legal system in India is relatively well-established and independent when compared with other countries in the region. It is modelled on British common law and many of those laws written by the colonial government still form part of the law today. Unlike other jurisdictions, the roles of barristers and solicitors are merged in India, and a legal professional who is enrolled with the Bar Council of India is allowed to perform both duties. 

Foreign lawyers are not been permitted to practice Indian law and foreign law firms equally are not allowed to practice. This protectionist policy has allowed Indian law firms the space to grow both financially and in manpower. Firms such as AZB & Partners, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, J Sagar Associates and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co are the big brands that dominate financial and corporate work. Fragmentation in the market and consolidation has also enabled these law firms to grow in recent years. 

For years the country has been discussing whether it should liberalise its legal market and open its doors to foreign law firms and in 2015, the Bar Council of India and Society of Indian Law Firms agreed with the government’s proposal to gradually open up the legal sector for foreign law firms to practice in India in a phased manner. 

International firms including White & Case, Chadbourne & Parke and Ashurst had already sought permission from the Reserve Bank of India to gain entry into India, arguing for permission to provide legal advice to non-Indian clients regarding their activities in the country. However, the high court ruled that counselling and providing legal advice to clients would be considered an “act of advocacy”, and that branch offices are only permitted to act as a communication channel between the head office and its parties in India. 

Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific

Financial and corporate
Advaita Legal

Advaita Legal specialises in project development, especially in relation to energy, transport and telecommunications networks.

In projects, the firm advised National Skill Development Corporation of India on day-to-day transactions and issues regarding the company’s facilities, as well as providing legal counsel to Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation in the development of a greenfield Airport. 

Key clients include Bharti Airtel, ReNew Power Ventures, and ACCESS Health International.

 

ALMT Legal

ALMT Legal is active in banking, M&A, private equity and projects.

In M&A, the firm advised domestic companies such as SIDBI Venture Capital and Gujarat Venture Finance on transaction deals.

 

Alpha Partners

Alpha Partners is active in M&A and the projects space and focuses on sectors including real estate, infrastructure, entertainment, technology and healthcare.

Interesting M&A work includes working with Mayer Brown in advising ARM on the acquisition of ChaoLogix and Chaologix Technologies India, and working for Idream Digitalabs in the sale of its digital marketing business to Tempus Fugit.

In the projects space, the firm typically works on PPP projects for railway infrastructure, large-scale real estate projects, residential projects, and the development of social and urban infrastructure.

Kunal Arora from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas joined the corporate team in the research period.

Key clients include Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants, Industrial Finance Corporation of India, Merlin Entertainment, Maruti Suzuki India, Blue Sapphire Hospitals Services, Penguin Random House and the Ministry of Tourism.

ARA Law

ARA Law offers advice in banking and finance, M&A and capital markets. With offices strategically located in the financial and tech hubs of India, the firm is in an ideal position to take advantage of increasing economic activity.

In banking, the firm was particularly active in the healthcare, real estate, and construction sectors. A representative deal saw the firm advise IREP Credit Capital on granting a loan to Jindal Worldwide.

In capital markets, the firm advises on equity offerings, debt offerings, derivative transactions, and trust listings. An interesting example saw the firm act for a repeat client, HDFC Asset Management Company, on the issue and treatment of non-convertible redeemable preference shares.

Key clients include HDFC Asset Management Company, IIFL Wealth Finance, Vodafone India, Tata Sons, Credit Suisse PE Asia Investments, Société Générale, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Franklin Templeton, DSP Merrill Lynch Fund Managers and ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company.

Argus Partners

Argus Partners is recognised for its M&A practice and also offers services in banking and finance and restructuring and insolvency.

In banking, the firm has experience acting for both lenders and borrowers and advises on a broad range of matters including structured finance, securitisation, project finance, syndicated lending, and consortium lending. A notable deal saw the firm advise a consortium of lenders, including the Bank of India, on extending credit facilities to KEC International.

The firm’s M&A expertise includes mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, asset sales and purchases, joint ventures, public and private takeovers, leveraged buyouts, and management buyouts. An interesting mandate saw the firm act for MG Funds in an investment by MG Advisory and Golla Capital Advisors.

In 2017, the firm expanded its banking practice by merging with P&P Legal, a boutique banking and finance firm.                

AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners is one of India’s foremost firms, and is strong in M&A, capital markets and banking.

In capital markets work, the firm provided legal counsel to several domestic companies in the issuance of IPOs, including New India Assurance and HDFC Life. It also acted as a transaction counsel for American Tower Corporation subsidiary ATC International Financing in the issuance of non-convertible debentures.

In M&A, the firm advised Arrow Electronics in its secondary acquisition of e-Infochips, in addition to advising Tata Chemicals in the sale of its urea business and manufacturing facilities to Yara India.

The firm saw the departures of Aparna Mittal and Shuchi Sinha, while Piyush Mishra from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Anoj Menon from Desai & Diwanji joined the firm as partners.

Key clients include HDFC Bank, IDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Goldman Sachs, IFC and HSBC. 

Chadha & Co

Chadha & Co has a corporate and M&A focused practice and also offers some banking advice. The firm is active in an array of sectors including automotive, banking, construction, materials, energy, food and beverage and mining.

In the past year, the firm was primarily engaged in advisory work, especially for Japanese companies operating in India. A recent highlight saw the firm advise the railway systems business unit of Hitachi India on participating in tenders for the supply of rolling stock to various metro rail projects across India.

The firm’s clientele includes GE Industrial Systems, Hitachi, STMicroelectronics, Toyota, Honda, Kawasaki, Amity Group, Omron, OPPO, Canon, L’Occitane, Mitsubishi and Electronic Arts.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas is well-regarded in capital markets work in India, and is also a leading firm in banking and M&A.

In banking and finance, the firm acted as counsel to State Bank of India for the financing of Bharat Oman Refineries in Madhya Pradesh and advised UltraTech Cement when the company received loans from a consortium led by ICIC Bank.

In capital markets work the firm acted as legal counsel for India Grid Trust on its IPO and advised ReNew Power Ventures in the issuance of unlisted rupee denominated bonds to Neerg Energy.

In M&A, the firm advised Gland Pharma, as well as its exiting private equity investor KKR Floorline Investments, in the acquisition of the company by Fosun Pharma.

The firm experienced some sizeable staffing changes recently with the departures of partners Piyush Mishra, Harita Rao, Niloufer Lam and Nikhil Naredi, and the arrivals of Rishi Gautam, Gaurav Singhi, Manan Mehta and Bharat Vasani.

Key clients include State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, India Grid Trust, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Gland Pharma.

Dhir & Dhir Associates

Dhir & Dhir Associates mostly works with domestic Indian companies, being particularly strong in capital markets and projects.

In capital markets work, the firm acted as legal counsel to several domestic companies, including Panchsheel Buildtech, in the placement of non-convertible debentures.

In projects, the firm had many deals in the energy sector, advising National Aluminium Company on the acquisition and set up of wind farm projects, and INR Energy Ventures in the establishment of solar power projects.

Key clients include Azure Power and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency.

DSK Legal

DSK Legal is active in banking, capital markets, M&A and projects.

In banking and finance, the firm advised the London branch of State Bank of India in regards to loans given to TVS Europe Distribution. In capital markets, the firm advised Bharat Dynamics in the issuance of its IPO, which was the first IPO filed by a company in India’s defence sector.

Economic Laws Practice

Economic Laws Practice’s areas of expertise are energy and infrastructure sector work.

In banking and finance the firm acted as counsel to IndusInd Bank in a loan to Adani Infra.

In M&A the firm advised Samhi Hotels in the acquisition of the Premiere Inn hotel chain in India

In projects, the firm advised State Bank of India’s Neev Fund for the investments in SunSource Energy, a solar project developer in India.

Key clients include IDFC Bank, DBS Bank, Welspun Enterprises and Nuclear Power Corporation of India.

Finsec Law Advisors

Finsec Law Advisors is notable for its work in capital markets and banking.

The firm advised several companies on both Indian and international laws, including US laws. 

Fox Mandal

Fox Mandal is a full-service law firm with a strong and rapidly growing presence across India. The firm is active in banking and finance, M&A, project development and restructuring. It advises both international and domestic clients and has experience handling matters in foreign jurisdictions such as Singapore.

During the research period, the firm took on work in sectors including real estate, healthcare, entertainment, technology, and oil and gas. A standout cross-border deal saw the firm advising Starbreeze in the acquisition of Dhruva Infotech, an Indian art production company.

The firm strengthened its bench with the hires of new infrastructure head in Chennai, Chandrasekaran Ramanathan from L&T Infrastructure Development Projects; and Sushant Shetty from AZB as real estate and infrastructure head in Pune and Mumbai.

Gagrats

Gagrats is active in banking, capital markets, M&A and projects work in the transport sector.

In banking and finance, the firm has provided counsel on deals involving the sale and leaseback of aircraft for aviation companies.

Hammurabi & Solomon

Hammurabi & Solomon specialises in M&A and offers services such as assisting with negotiations, structuring acquisitions and conducting due diligence. Managing partner Manoj Kumar acts as the lead on most matters.

The firm was heavily involved in the agriculture industry. Significant work done includes assisting the Sindri unit of the Fertilizer Corporation of India in its joint venture with Projects and Development India.

The firm built up its practice with the hires of senior partner Pathik Arora from Azure Power; associate partner John Thomos from an independent practice; and associate partner Digajmaan Mishra from Brahmand Lexis.

 

HSA Advocates

HSA Advocates main strength is in projects work in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

In capital markets the firm advised ECL Finance on its subscription of non-convertible debentures to be issued to an Indian infrastructure development company.

In projects, the firm acted as legal counsel for Mumbai Port Trust in a stalemate situation regarding issues with the license granted to Indira Container Transport, a subsidiary of Gammon India, for the Overseas Container Terminal Project.

Key clients include IFC, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Yes Bank.

IC Universal Legal

IC Universal Legal is the product of a merger between IC Legal and Universal Legal Attorneys at Law and is strongest in capital markets and private equity. 

The firm actively advises on a variety of debt capital markets matters, including private placed corporate debt securities both in the listed and unlisted space. The firm regularly represents issuers, domestic and international institutional lenders, mutual funds, venture debt funds, non-banking financial companies, and housing finance companies in such matters.                 

Highlights include advising HDFC Mutual Fund and SBI Mutual Fund on investments in corporate bonds issued by the Greenko Group; and acting for SBI Mutual Fund on an investment in the non-convertible debentures of Essel Corporate Resources.

One staffing change saw the firm hire Yash Bansal from AZB & Partners.

Key clients include SBI Mutual Fund, Ambit Finvest, Grand Anicut Trust 1 and Centrum Financial Services.

 

IndusLaw

IndusLaw is particularly strong in private equity work.

In M&A, the firm advised Suez in the Indian leg of a global acquisition of GE Water & Process Technologies. Another important deal had IndusLaw advise ReNew Power Ventures in the complete acquisition of KCT Renewable Energy. 

 

J Sagar Associates

J Sagar Associates is a market leader in banking and finance, in addition to being well-known for its work in India’s infrastructure sector.

In banking and finance the firm acted for United Overseas Bank, the Singapore branch of Siemens Bank and the GIFT City branch of IndusInd Bank in lending to Fortis Global Healthcare Infrastructure, as well as advising State Bank of India in the financing of the IRB InvIT Fund. 

In capital markets work the firm acted as domestic legal counsel to Axis Capital, ICIC Securities and IIFL Holdings in the institutional placement programme of Quess Corp.

In M&A the firm represented Reliance Infrastructure in the sale of its Mumbai Power Division to Adani Transmission.

The firm also saw several staffing changes, with Anjana Potti from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas joining the banking and finance team, while Kannan Rahul left the same team to join Trilegal. Additionally, Murali Ananthasivan of M&A departed to start his own firm. 

Key clients include AXIS Capital, IDFC Bank, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and MTS Systems Corporation.

Client feedback

"Very good firm with young ambitious partnership. Aashit Shah is particularly good.” – Capital markets, M&A, Investment funds

"JSA is a highly professional law firm. They do comprehensive examination of facts and provide very practical advice." - M&A, Restructuring and insolvency

Aashit Shah

"Superb advisory capability and makes himself available when needed.  A real go-to guy if you are in a difficult situation."

Jerome Merchant + Partners

Jerome Merchant + Partners is active in banking, capital markets, M&A and private equity.

In capital markets work, the firm advised international and domestic banks in the issuance of bonds.

 

 

Juris Corp

Juris Corp specialises in banking and finance work within India, working with both international and domestic banks.

In banking and finance, the firm acted as Indian counsel to several international banks, including ANZ and Bank of America, in its financing of Reliance Jio. In projects the firm advised IndianOil on the financing developing a liquefied natural gas receiving terminal.

Key clients include DBS Bank, State Bank of India, Axis Bank and Standard Chartered.

L&L Partners

Luthra & Luthra is strong across the board, with the firm’s work in capital markets, M&A and project development standing out.

In capital markets work the firm acted for the lead managers on the IPO of Godrej Agrovet.

In M&A the firm assisted Carlyle Asia Partners in its acquisition of Delhivery’s minority stakes and advised Zee Entertainment Enterprises in its sale of its sports broadcasting business to Sony.

In projects the firm is advising Hyderabad Metro Rail on the development of the Hyderabad Metro.

There were a number of changes in staff at the firm recently, with Dipti Lavya Swain leaving to join Azure Power as general counsel and Pranjal Bora going independent. Meawhile, Pallavi Bedi was hired from J Sagar Associates and Vishwanath Pratap Singh from Trilegal.

Key clients include Axis Bank, Yes Bank, HDFC Bank, Edelweiss Financial Services and Aditya Birla Finance.

Lex Favios

Lex Favios offers services in banking and M&A.

The firm provided legal counsel to the State Bank of India, which led a consortium that included IDBI Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank, in a transaction involving Alstom-Bharat Forge Power.

Link Legal India Law Services

Link Legal India Law Services is active in banking and finance, M&A and projects in the power and infrastructure sectors.

In projects, the firm acted as counsel for SB Energy in setting up a 400MW project. It also acted in deals pertaining to the transport sector.

Majmudar & Partners

Majmudar & Partners is active in banking, capital markets, M&A and projects.

In banking and finance, the firm advised Pelliconi on a financing arrangement with SIMEST in connection with the acquisition of equity stakes from Oricon Packaging. In projects, the firm advised Corob India on laws related to the establishment of a Greenfield manufacturing plant.

Key clients include Axis Bank, Schlumberger and Pelliconi.

 

MDP & Partners

MDP & Partners has offices in Pune and Calcutta and exerts its presence across India through associate offices.

The firm’s activities include advising lenders and borrowers on consortium lending, syndicated loans, bilateral loans, and project financing. Recently the firm was engaged in various confidential mandates, but it can be said that it provided legal counsel to domestic Indian banks in loan transaction deals.

The firm added to the bench strength of its banking team with the hire of Ashok Mishra from IDBI Bank as a senior partner.

Phoenix Legal

Phoenix Legal is robust in M&A and banking, in addition to being involved in projects work in the oil and gas sector.

In M&A, the firm acted as counsel for several international companies, such as NTT Communications and Quaker Chemical Corporation, on matters pertaining to the acquisition of shares. In projects, the firm advised Petronet LNG in a sales and purchase agreement regarding the delivery of liquefied natural gas.

Key clients include HDFC Bank and MUFG Bank.

Client feedback

"Excellent and great guidance." – M&A

Pranav Srivastava

"Excellent in terms of the documents drafted and the guidance provided."

Rajani Associates

Rajani Associates is active in banking, capital markets, M&A, private equity and projects in the infrastructure and power sectors.

In capital markets work, the firm provided counsel to domestic companies in the issuance of equity shares and IPOs.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co’s strength lies in its M&A work in India and abroad.

In capital markets work, the firm acted as counsel to Yes Bank as to Indian law in its qualified institutional placement, advised Piramal Fund Management on transactions involving non-convertible debentures, and advised HPCL-Mittal Energy, a joint venture between HPCL and Mittal Energy Investments, on a high yield bond offering.

In M&A, the firm represented Walmart in its acquisition of Flipkart, advised E. I. du Pont de Nemours in its merger with Dow Chemical Company, and acted as legal counsel to Capital First in its proposed merger with IDFC Bank

The firm welcomed two new partners recently: Nikhil Naredi from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Veena Sivaramakrishnan from Juris Corp.

Key clients include ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, DBS Bank Avenue Capital Group and JPMorgan Chase.

Singh & Associates

Although Singh & Associates offers advice in banking and M&A, project development in the infrastructure sector is the firm’s key practice area.

During the research period, the firm has been active in restructuring and insolvency. The firm has experience in a variety of restructuring matters, including exchange offers, consent solicitations and the renegotiation of credit agreements with bank syndicates and other lenders.

Key clients include Era Infra Engineering, Jindal Steel & Power, Dunar Foods and Adel Landmarks.

 

SNG & Partners

SNG & Partners has a robust banking and finance team.

In banking and finance, the firm advised on several deals that involved loan transactions towards infrastructure projects.

Client feedback

"I have been working with a couple of partners from SNG & Partners for almost 15 years. I find its corporate and regulatory advice to be world class."– Financial services regulatory

Amit Aggarwal 

"Excellent. Recently his work on the regulatory side helped save me a very substantial amount of money."

Solomon & Co

Solomon & Co has experience in capital markets, M&A, and banking and finance. The firm takes on work in sectors including automotive, agriculture, energy and construction. 

In banking, the firm provides advice on various matters such as leveraged and acquisition finance, asset finance, project finance, and structured finance. 

In M&A, an interesting example saw the firm advise Sirmax India Plastics on its joint venture with Autotech India. Elsewhere, the firm assisted Windsor Machines in its acquisition of a majority stake in R-Cube Energy Storage Systems. 

Talwar Thakor & Associates

Talwar Thakor & Associates often works with international companies in India, in addition to domestic companies.

In capital markets the firm acted as the Indian legal counsel for JP Morgan Securities, Barclays Bank, the Singapore branch of Deutsche Bank, Investec Bank and Morgan Stanley in an agreement with Greenko Energy Holdings in relation to the issuance of senior notes.

Key clients include Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, ANZ and Standard Chartered.

Talwar Thakore & Associates

Talwar Thakor & Associates often works with international companies in India, in addition to domestic companies.

In capital markets the firm acted as the Indian legal counsel for JP Morgan Securities, Barclays Bank, the Singapore branch of Deutsche Bank, Investec Bank and Morgan Stanley in an agreement with Greenko Energy Holdings in relation to the issuance of senior notes.

 

Key clients include Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, ANZ and Standard Chartered.

Trilegal

Trilegal is notable for not only its M&A work but also for being active in project development, particularly in the energy and telecommunications sectors.

In M&A, Trilegal provided counsel to Actis in its sale of Ostro Energy, the company's Indian renewable energy business, to ReNew Power Ventures, which is India’s largest renewable energy deal, and acted as legal counsel to Tata Housing Development Company in the structured equity investment by Hines.

KannanRahul from J Sagar Associates joined Trilegal’s banking and finance team, while Pavan Kumar left the firm to go independent.

Key clients include ACCIONA Energy, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and IFC.

Verist Law

Verist Law is a boutique law firm specializing in banking and finance and capital markets in the real estate sector.

In banking, the firm has experience in acting for both borrowers and lenders. Prominent clients include IDFC Bank and Tata Cleantech Capital.

In capital markets, the firm advised Earthcon Infracon and Nisus Finance and Investment Manager on the issue of secured unlisted non-convertible debentures by Earthcon Infracon.

Veritas Legal

Known for its corporate and M&A practice, Veritas Legal has expanded its offering with the addition of new practice areas such as banking and finance, and insolvency.

In the past year, the firm advised both international and domestic companies on acquisitions and sales and was active in sectors including pharmaceuticals and life sciences, food and beverage, and logistics. An interesting matter saw the firm advise TPG Growth on the acquisition of a stake in Dodla Dairy from Black River Capital Partners Food Fund Holdings. The firm also acted for Havmor Ice Cream in its sale to Lotte Confectionery.

ZBA

ZBA, previously Zarir Bharucha & Associates, is a boutique law firm active in banking and finance and capital markets. The firm has expertise in the infrastructure, shipping, energy and consumer goods sectors.  

The banking team acted for international and domestic clients on various matters involving debt restructuring and refinancing.

In capital markets, the firm advised the Rural Electrification Corporation on its medium-term note programme and on an issue of 10-year bonds.

The firm expanded its roster with the addition of Niloufer Lam from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as a partner.

Key clients include the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Liberty House Group, JSW Steel, Axis Bank, Rural Electrification Corporation, Essar Oil, India Bulls Housing Finance, DMI Finance and Shriram Transport Finance Company