Exclusive Interview with Akil Hirani, Managing partner of Majmudar & Partners. This law firm is located in India where it has two offices (Mumbai and Bengalore).
Leaders League. : What is Majmudar's difference in the legal market?
Majmudar & Partners’ strategy has been to give high quality, partner-led advice. Our model is not a size based model, but a solutions driven model. Most of our lawyers have international study or work experience. We are among the few Indian law firms who focus on specific industry sectors, namely, banking and insurance; consumer and retail; manufacturing; technology; pharmaceuticals and life sciences; and infrastructure and real estate. Our ability to consistently give international standard advice within record turnaround times sets us apart from the rest of the Indian legal market.
L.L. : What do you think are the Indian legal market’s challenges?
The corporate/business law market in India is not as structured as in the UK or Europe. There are a few large sized law firms (mostly dominated by families or some important individuals), a few medium sized law firms, and several solo practitioners / firms with subject matter expertise. However, unlike in Europe, the size of a firm does not give a warranty of a standardised quality. Even in large firms, it is essential to get the right partner or lawyer for a project. It is still a horses for courses market.
The Indian legal market is going through turbulence due to the following reasons: (i) increasing fee pressure, (ii) constant movement/attrition of lawyers, (iii) the heightened unwillingness of younger lawyers to make their careers at law firms, and (iv) a serious drop in quality standards – issues such as conflicts of interest, ethics, etc. have been completely sidelined in the hustle to generate revenues.
LL. : Do you think the Indian legal market is on a path of liberalization?
The Indian government is very keen that foreign law firms be allowed to practice foreign law in India. However, members of the Indian bar are against this for various reasons, including that foreign lawyers are much more aggressive with their marketing, whereas Indian lawyers have not been allowed to market. Having said that, the government is pushing the Bar Council of India to permit Indian lawyers to establish websites, under marketing activities, and wants to level the playing field with the eventual intention being to liberalize the legal market. In my view, the likelihood of the legal market liberalizing is the highest right now than it has been at any time in the last decade.
LL. : What is Majmudar's strategy for the future?
Majmudar & Partners’ strategy will continue to remain that of giving high quality, partner-led advice. Like all other Indian law firms, if the Indian market opens up to foreign law firms, Majmudar & Partners will assess its business options.