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Dentons first to move into Indian market
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11 Oct 2022 / global news Print

Dentons first to move into Indian market

Dentons says that it has become the first international law firm to enter the Indian legal market, after announcing a combination with Indian law firm, Link Legal.

Link Legal is a mid-sized, full-service law firm with more than 19 practice areas, 42 partners and 134 lawyers.

According to Dentons, the move will give the “combined firm” first-mover advantage, and a competitive edge in international panel competitions.

‘Not a joint venture’

“This is not a joint venture, not a best-friends relationship or a liaison licence, nor a merger or an acquisition, but a combination like Dentons has done around the world, building one, integrated global firm,” the firm stated.

It added that its “polycentric” structure allowed it to combine with firms in many jurisdictions, while respecting the legal and regulatory requirements of each jurisdiction.

“The combination between Link Legal and Dentons not only allows us to be the trusted advisors to our clients across the many markets in which they operate, but will also create global opportunities for our Indian lawyers,” said Link Legal’s senior partner, Anand Srivastava.

Indian firm expansion

Link Legal has opened an office in New York, and is examining expansion into other locations. Its agreement with Dentons makes Link Legal the first Indian law firm to combine with a global law firm.

“As a first-mover, Link Legal represents the many large, fast-growing Indian companies that are globalising, as India becomes the most populous nation in the world in 2023,” said Dentons.

The combination with Link Legal will have an established presence in five of the six largest cities in India: Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Dual arrangement

Under the arrangement, Dentons Link Legal Indian lawyers will represent clients inside India, and Dentons lawyers will represent Link Legal’s clients outside of India.

It’s not yet clear, however, how this will affect the Indian law firm’s relationships with its China desk.

On its website, Link Legal says that it has “an active China desk that is the oldest practice group of its kind in the Indian legal market. The team has advised over 100 Chinese clients on their investments in India since 2010 including some of the major landmark transactions within the India-China space. It has an experienced team of lawyers proficient both in English and Chinese languages.”

Its Chinese clients include “several State-owned enterprises and listed companies from a variety of sectors, including renewable energy, real estate, telecom, infrastructure, TMT, venture capital and manufacturing. The team also services Indian companies doing business in China through its network of relationships across China … The firm has been designated as the official partner by the largest Chamber of Commerce in China for provision of legal services in India. It also works closely with government agencies, universities and think tanks in both countries to conduct legal research and promote economic ties between India and China.”


“India will be the most populous country in the world next year with a fast-growing economy, making it an increasingly important market for our clients around the world," said Elliott Portnoy (Dentons’ global CEO).

India’s legal sector remains one of the most restricted of any major market economy.

Britain’s Department for International Trade last year published a table of “trade restrictiveness”, showing that legal services was were second only to rail- freight transport in being closed to non-Indian suppliers.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland