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This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, iPleaders.

Since we started a course on IP, Media and Entertainment Law in July 2018, we have had about 50 students enrolled in a couple of batches. While many of them are practicing lawyers, a few are law students hoping to get into IP law.

These students have been asking me about what are the best IP law firms to work at. While I have some idea about that based on what I heard from my friends who worked in IP, I wanted to quantify and get a more complete picture before I began to tell them my opinion.

That is what gave me the idea of conducting a simple survey around what are the best law firms to work in India if one wants to make a career in IP law.

In December 2018, I contacted about 100 IP lawyers and shared a questionnaire with them. the purpose was simple. I wanted insights and data on what young IP lawyers considered to be the best law firms to work for as far as IP is concerned.

Some of the things I learnt from doing this survey are quite expected but there are some quite unexpected insights as well. Exactly 22 IP lawyers responded to my questionnaire. I will not claim that this survey reflects the opinion of the entire IP lawyer fraternity. However, I think the study offers some pretty incredible insights you do not want to miss, especially if you do not have enough information about the world of IP law practice.

In any case, we would love it if you let us know in the comments whether you agree or disagree with these rankings and methodology.

First, let me tell you some details about the 22 people who responded. They are aged between 21 and 35. Only 18% of the respondents were above the age of 31. The rest were between 21 and 31. 45% of the respondents were male, while the rest were female.

The respondents include founders of boutique IP law firms (3), in-house counsels who are IP specialists (5), IP lawyers practicing in court or freelancing (2), a sole IP law teacher (1) and the rest working as associates in IP law firms (11).

All of them have worked for various IP law firms or IP law teams of large law firms at some point in their career.

While many in the industry may already know what is covered here, I am quite sure the new talent looking to enter the IP law world will find this study very useful.

What questions did we ask them?

Here are the questions:

According to you, what is the best IP law firm or IP team inside a full-service law firm in India to work for and why?

According to you, what is the 2nd best IP law firm or IP team inside a full-service law firm in India to work for and why?

According to you, what is the 3rd best IP law firm or IP team inside a full-service law firm in India to work for and why?

Are there other IP law firms or IP teams inside a full-service law firm that you regard highly? If yes, please list them in descending order.

So people gave us their answers and some reasons as well! Giving a reason was not mandatory though.

Ranking methodology

Before I tell you the rankings we derived, first let me clarify the ranking methodology.

First of all, to avoid bias we have ignored if anyone has put their own firm or the firm where they are currently working on the list.

We have allocated 5 points to any firm that has been mentioned as rank 1 by any of the participants. If a participant said that a certain law firm is second best to work for in his or her opinion then we have awarded 4 points to that firm. For any mention as third best, we have awarded 3 points. Finally, if any firm has been mentioned by anyone in the ‘other highly regarded’ list then we have given 1 point to that firm.

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Also, we are only considering and including only those firms that more than one participants have endorsed for one rank or the other. This does not mean those opinions are not valuable, but here we are trying to gauge collective and popular perceptions, and not just individual insights no matter how accurate or appropriate those may be.

Don’t worry, not only small firms, but even CAM did not make the list because only one participant thought of mentioning them. Most other big law firms were given a complete miss.

If two firms were talked about in the same breath, which several participants did, then we gave both firms equal and entire points.

We do not claim this methodology to be perfect. It is just a methodology that seemed reasonable to me, though we are open to suggestions. Also, I realise that the data is quite limited. It would have been wonderful in a couple of hundred people responded, though it would have been a back-breaking task to analyze and rationalize that data.

Before we go to rankings, let’s see what the participants said about these firms.

Anand and Anand

Good things they said:

“for the amazing seniors whose guidance is valuable”
“I found best work at Anand and Anand”
“I have worked with this law firm, and learnt IP law from this firm. I am very impressed with the dedication and zeal to learn of Mr. Praveen Anand. Of course, I have a connection with this firm because this was my first place of work. I understand that my reasons are more subjective than objective.”
“because of the quality work they make you learn and deliver. Work culture is good and flexible.”
“For their level of expertise and the kind of cases they do”
“has a great patents team”
“they have excellent work”
“for the quality of work”

Not so good things they said:

“I found the best work at Anand and Anand but the internal atmosphere was not very good, clashes, late working schedules”
“It is the 2nd best, perhaps!”
“Great for patents, but other firms are better for trademark prosecution”

Rank 1 mentions: 9 out of 22 people said Anand and Anand is the best IP law firm, though a few of those 9 put even other law firms at per.

Rank 2 mentions: 3

Rank 3 mentions: 3

Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 67

Remfry and Sagar

Good things they said:

“because of the unity they have”
“for the volume of work leading to a wide exposure”
“They have a system of checking the quality of work randomly which is great.“

Not so good things they said:

“I was not very impressed with the strict requirements on employees.”

Rank 1 mentions: 1
Rank 2 mentions: 3
Rank 3 mentions: 0
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 18

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

Good things they said:

“LKS is at per with Anand and Anand”
“because of the great work life balance”

Not so good things they said:

“LKS is average, they don’t have much in IP”

Rank 1 mentions: 2
Rank 2 mentions: 2
Rank 3 mentions: 1
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 20

Singh and Singh

Good things they said:

“for the variety of matters, the firm handles in all areas of IP”
“Because their litigation team is best and they provide immense learning.”

Rank 1 mentions: 2
Rank 2 mentions: 1
Rank 3 mentions: 0
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 15

Krishna & Saurastri

Good things they said:

“I review their work, and feel that they do try to focus on quality.”
“they are the big name in the league of IP firms and my friends who have worked there consider it to be the best.”

Rank 1 mentions: 0
Rank 2 mentions: 2
Rank 3 mentions: 4
Other highly regarded firms: 5

Total points scored: 25

Saikrishna & Associates

Good things they said:

“For its quality of work, autonomy and growth opportunities”
“Good place to work, great clients”
“Amazing for litigation”

Rank 1 mentions: 1
Rank 2 mentions: 3
Rank 3 mentions: 0
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 18

Khaitan & Co.

Good things they said:

“Khaitan was lighter on work load.”
“Seen them handling many IP matters effectively.”

Rank 1 mentions: 1
Rank 2 mentions: 0
Rank 3 mentions: 2
Other highly regarded firms: 0

Total points scored: 7

Khurana and Khurana

Good things they said:

“They have good work plus excellent work life balance, no fights, no late working schedules. I found this place best.”

Rank 1 mentions: 1
Rank 2 mentions: 0
Rank 3 mentions: 1
Other highly regarded firms: 0

Total points scored: 8

Biswajit Sarkar & Associates

Good things they said:

“They have a lot of experience and have done many landmark trademarks cases such as the first address to be trademarked in the world or Mother Teresa saree border trademark. When the founder has enough knowledge, if you work hard you can learn a lot.”

Rank 1 mentions: 0
Rank 2 mentions: 2
Rank 3 mentions: 0
Other highly regarded firms: 0

Total points scored: 8

Lall & Sethi

Good things they said:

“Relatively warm work culture or at least that’s how it used to be when I worked there.”

Rank 1 mentions: 0
Rank 2 mentions: 1
Rank 3 mentions: 0
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 5

Rahul Chaudhry & Partners (earlier Lall Lahiri & Salhotra)

Rank 1 mentions: 0
Rank 2 mentions: 0
Rank 3 mentions: 1
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 4

AZB & Partners

Rank 1 mentions: 0
Rank 2 mentions: 0
Rank 3 mentions: 1
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 4

Lex Orbis

Rank 1 mentions: 0
Rank 2 mentions: 0
Rank 3 mentions: 1
Other highly regarded firms: 1

Total points scored: 4

So let’s get to the point now. What is the final ranking, for best law firms to work for IP lawyers under 35?

 

Law firm Points
Anand and Anand 67
Krishna & Saurastri 25
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan 20
Remfry & Sagar 18
Saikrishna & Associates 18
Singh & Singh 15
Biswajit Sarkar & Associates 8
Khurana & Khurana 8
Khaitan & Co. 7
Lall & Sethi 5
AZB & Partners 4
Lex Orbis 4
Rahul Chaudhry & Partners (earlier Lall Lahiri & Salhotra) 4

 

I hope that this helps to give an initial picture about various options available to the students and young lawyers trying to make a career in IP Law. Please share your opinions, agreements and disagreements in the comments generously.

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