India's best business law firms revealed

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New Delhi, Feb. 11 (ANI): India Business Law Journal, the leading international magazine to focus on business and legal issues in India, on Thursday announced the winners of its 2009 Indian Law Firm Awards.

There were 19 awards categories, which included Law Firm of the Year, 2009, Best Overall Law Firms, Best intellectual property firms, and Best Newcomers among others.

While Delhi-based Luthra and Luthra bagged the top award of law firm of the year, the award for Best Overall Law Firms, 2009, was shared by Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB and Partners, J Sagar Associates, Khaitan and Co, Luthra and Luthra and Trilegal.

The award for best intellectual property firms in shared by Anand and Anand; DP Ahuja and Co; K andS Partners; Krishna Saurastri and Associates; Lall Lahiri and Salhotra; and Remfry and Sagar. Phoenix Legal and Platinum Partners shared this year's award for Best Newcomers. While final winner in the category of best overall law firms was Trilegal.

Luthra and Luthra firm had an extremely successful year, winning key roles on major deals such as the 3.8 billion dollars financing of the 4,000-megawatt Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh, which will be developed by Reliance Power. It also demonstrated its prowess in capital markets, representing Sterlite Industries in its 1.6 billion dollars American depositary receipts issue and Oil India in its 580 million dollars IPO.

"We chose Luthra for the quality of service, value addition and quick turnaround," said Vijaya Sampath, group general counsel at Bharti, which consulted the firm on a cross-border acquisition.

Luthra and Luthra used the downturn as an opportunity to reshape itself. A lockstep partnership model was introduced, enabling salaried partners to take a stake in the firm's equity.

Meanwhile, the firm's senior partner, Vijay Sondhi, was elected to serve on Delhi Bar Council. He was the only representative of a law firm to win a seat.

The award for Best Overall Law Firms, 2009, was shared by Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB and Partners, J Sagar Associates, Khaitan and Co, Luthra and Luthra and Trilegal.

Amarchand Mangaldas' key achievements include advising on National Hydroelectric Power Corporation's 1.25 billion dollars IPO, Tech Mahindra's 600 million dollars acquisition of Satyam and the 1 billion dollars refinancing of Jaguar Land Rover, on which Amarchand represented the lenders.

Managing partners Cyril and Shardul Shroff are widely praised, the former known for his infrastructure and finance expertise and the latter for his skills in handling complex cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

"Amarchand Mangaldas possesses expertise in all spheres", said A.R. Chandrasekharan, executive director and company secretary at Ashok Leyland.

J Sagar Associates (JSA) acquired Bangalore-based M andC Partners in June, creating the largest law practice in south India. It also launched a tax practice under the leadership of Ashok Dhingra, who joined the firm from Khaitan and Co.

The firm flexed its project finance muscle in 2009. It advised Petronet LNG on a multi-billion dollar sales and purchase agreement with ExxonMobil and advised the Macquarie Group on the establishment of a 2 billion dollars infrastructure-oriented private equity fund.

"JSA is considered to be one of the most competent firms," said Bipeen Valame, CFO of Praj Industries.

Khaitan and Co, which was named law firm of the year in India Business Law Journal's 2008 awards, continues to perform well.

It advised NTT DoCoMo on its acquisition of a 26 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices, represented Bahrain Telecommunications in relation to its purchase of a 49 per cent stake in S Tel and acted for Krishnapatnam Port Company on the establishment and operation of a port at Krishnapatnam.

"We had a very pleasant experience of working with Khaitan and Co on all matters," said Kushagra Bajaj, the joint managing director of Bajaj Hindustan.

However, the final winner in the category of Best Overall Law Firms was Trilegal.

Looking at its impressive deal list and prominence on headline-making transactions, it is hard to believe that this dynamic, energetic firm is only 10 years old.

The award for best intellectual property firms was shared by Anand and Anand; DP Ahuja and Co; K andS Partners; Krishna Saurastri and Associates; Lall Lahiri and Salhotra; and Remfry and Sagar.

Anand and Anand's high-profile client list includes F Hoffman-La Roche, Yahoo!, Louis Vuitton, Toshiba, Samsung and Microsoft. "We believe Anand and Anand provides superior IP services with a business-oriented approach," says Jonathan Matkowsky, legal director at Yahoo!.

Remfry and Sagar, handles a number of important litigations for clients such as Novartis, Bayer and Eli Lilly.

Phoenix Legal and Platinum Partners share this year's award for Best Newcomers. The category applies to law firms that were established within the last 18 months.

Since its launch in June 2007, India Business Law Journal has been the leading source of specialist information and analysis of the legal, financial and regulatory challenges that make or break business deals in India's fast-changing commercial environment. (ANI)

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