International Law

New Clifford Chance 'Best Friend': AZB, Top Indian Firm

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Driving a significant wedge into an Indian legal market that is locked up by local attorneys, one of the world’s biggest law firms has just announced an alliance with a major law firm there.

“Under the ‘best friends’ alliance—reminiscent of Slaughter and May’s informal ties with several of Europe’s leading law firms—AZB will become Clifford Chance’s first choice for referring clients requiring specialist legal advice in India,” reports the London Times.

Although Clifford Chance already has a presence in India, foreign law firms can’t formally practice law there. Thus, the alliance with AZB & Partners both expands the 3,800-attorney London-based firm’s practice in India and paves the way for a subsequent merger, if the prohibition on foreign practice is later lifted, the newspaper notes.

“It is an increasing challenge for both Indian and international clients seeking cross-border advice that they still have to look outside the country to access the requisite experience, resources and expertise,” says Stuart Popham, a senior partner at Clifford Chance, in a law firm press release. “This arrangement will allow our two firms to offer the best possible service within the current regulatory restrictions.”

Additional coverage:

Economic Times of India: “UK-based Clifford Chance ties up with AZB & Partners”

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