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According to a 2017 study conducted by RSG, the five law firms with the strongest India practice are all from the United Kingdom. The top five places have been taken by Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy.
Linklaters retains its position at the top of the ranking, receiving the most mentions from Indian law firms and major legal purchasers alike.
Freshfields has jumped up this year, moving up the rankings by 11 places to finish at 2nd position for 2017.
The firm displaced Herbert Smith Freehills, which ranked in third position this year, but topped the deal score rankings. With Tata Group as a client, Herbert Smith will continue to dominate the M&A space for foreign law firms in India.
Baker & McKenzie come in at number 6 in this edition, but have considerably increased their profile in the Indian market, receiving the second highest score for profile and reputation mentions. Their slightly lower ranking in the overall list is down to not appearing on many marquee M&A and finance deals.
Overall, US firms received a lot more instruction than UK firms did this year, but the latter tend to be better known amongst Indian law firms and institutions.
Changes from the 2015 RSG India Report
There are a number of firms that have significantly risen in the Top 20 ranking this year. These include Freshfields, Latham & Watkins, Ashurst and Singaporean firm Allen & Gledhill. Latham has significantly increased its presence in the market. Ashurst has consolidated its presence, helped by the Australian business, and Allen & Gledhill becomes the first non-US or UK law firm in the rankings.
Dentons is a new addition to the top 20 this year, perhaps showing that its polycentric strategy and rapid global growth are paying off for it in a key emerging market.
RSG looks at two indicators to produce the overall ranking of foreign law firm practices in India: their reputations and profile, and their actual work. Law firms are ranked according to a ‘Total Mentions Score’ and a ‘Deal Score’.