With foreign investor confidence in India shaken by the weakening rupee and the country’s high debt-to-GDP ratio in many ways it seems a strange time for Lawrence Graham (LG) to be entering into a referral relationship with Indian law firm Naik Naik & Company, as it did at the end of September.
LG has had an informal relationship with Naik since the beginning of 2010 but now both firms want to strengthen the referral arrangements in a bid to create new opportunities across their corporate, commercial, litigation and real estate groups.
The two firms have a number of common clients including international media group Time Focus, securities firm Cenkos and Nigel Burgess Yacht Brokers.
LG’s India head Sunil Kakkad told Legal Business that, despite the ongoing challenges with the Indian economy – including the weakening rupee, the decline in foreign investment and the lack of inbound work – he shares the views of many who believe the difficulties are temporary. Structural challenges have always been present in India, not least the bar rules that prevent firms from outside the jurisdiction from setting up within, therefore they did not disrupt the firm’s plans to formalise its relationship with Naik.
‘Whether or not India opens up, there is still a big client base there and having a trusted association within the Indian legal market provides a strong bench for the firm,’ said Kakkad. ‘We want to be able to pick up the phone and use a firm we can trust’
Naik’s founder and managing partner of Ameet Naik added: ‘Having consolidated our presence in the TMT sector, this association will enhance the firm’s offering for transactional and dispute resolution work and benefit our clients in connecting the dots between India, London, Dubai and Singapore to ensure seamless access to legal assistance.’
The venture comes after LG strengthened another emerging markets association last year, entering into a referral scheme with Brazil’s Motta, Fernandes Rocha – Advogado, which has offices in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
LG managing partner Hugh Maule said: ‘As one of the fastest growing and most exciting economies in the world, our clients are focused increasingly on the Indian market and we will now be able to offer them even better access to the very best local legal advice.’