Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

A Look Back: India's Biggest in Law, Amarchand & Mangaldas

India's biggest law firm has all the trappings of a family-run enterprise, including sibling rivalry. The Shroff brothers must quickly set their house in order

Samar Srivastava
Published: May 23, 2011 06:10:43 AM IST
Updated: Feb 27, 2014 01:38:48 PM IST
A Look Back: India's Biggest in Law, Amarchand & Mangaldas

WHY WE DID THE STORY: For corporate clients, Amarchand & Mangaldas set the gold standard for legal services. Yet the manner in which the firm was run and the way it shared the spoils was a far cry from the professional image it projects to clients. This has led to a fair amount of discord within the firm and rumblings of dissatisfaction from clients. At the same time, India’s legal services industry was globalising rapidly with talent mobile across borders. Several senior partners had left over the years. This proved to be a wake up call for the Shroff brothers ­— Cyril and Shardul. A decade ago, Amarchand stole the march over larger rivals Mulla & Mulla and Crawford Bayley by putting recruitment policies in place that provided a leg-up in the war for entry-level talent. Now, as it proceeded to tackle the partnership quandary, it could once again change the way the incentive structures at law firms operate.

(You can read this story here)

WHERE THE STORY STANDS: The review of the firm’s talent management policies mentioned in the story is still being conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. It is expected to be completed in a couple of months. According to Cyril Shroff, just as the first review over a decade ago changed the way Amarchand recruited and promoted people, and forced other firms to follow suit, the new review should also play a game-changing role. For now, a thorough revamp of partnerships and how the client service model functions is on the cards. The path to partnership will be more clearly defined as also how the firm will offer a consistent quality of service on a national basis.

Update by Samar Srivastava

(This story appears in the 03 June, 2011 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)