In this blog post, Akshita Rishi, pursuing M.A. in business law from NUJS, Kolkata, discusses the top 10 law firms in India that pay the highest remuneration in India.
At the end of law school, most of the students are looking for a well paying job. They need good grades, specialised knowledge, internships, moot court experiences, etc. to get through the hallowed doors. . Therefore, as they look for a job, every lawyer dreams of becoming a part of a top-notch law firm of India. While focusing on law firms, they may need specialised knowledge through M&A course, business laws course, etc. which are in high demand with the law firms. But, before just blindly selecting a law firm, every prospective employee looks for various aspects of their growth with respect to knowledge, culture, individuality and pay scale.
However, many law firms provide various perquisites and allowances, but then there are such firms which with their core experience have made to top 10 law firms which pay the highest salary in India.
The firms also select an apt employee and provide them with “HIGH” salary depending upon the candidates –
- Qualification on the job offered
- Years of experience
- Knowledge of work
In addition to the above, following are also taken into consideration for a fresher candidate:
- College from which the candidate is duly qualified.
- Marks obtained during their college journey and much more.
These law firms pay really high remuneration because they not only induce confidence amongst the employees that their knowledge can fetch them with high pay scales but also groom the person with their individuality in their respective fields as they are experts in it with top clients worldwide giving high job satisfaction to the employees with the experience which they get after working with those firms.
Now, let us look at the top 10 law firms which pay the highest salary in India. Starting with Khaitan and company paying up to Rs 14.4 lakhs per annum to Desai and Diwanji paying from Rs 6 lakhs to Rs 8.4 lakhs, these firms with their years of experience and hard work are today providing lawyers with highest salaries in India.
We can now understand it with the help of the bar chart below.
So, let us now dig in more to understand in detail the core competencies which led the above-mentioned law firms to pay the highest salaries in India.
Khaitan And Co.
The one who tops the list is Khaitan and Co., which is founded by the late Debi Prasad Khaitan on 11/11/1911. He was assisted by his brothers Mr Lakshmi Prasad Khaitan and Mr Bhagwati Prasad Khaitan. After certain years, Mr Pradip Kumar Khaitan son of Mr Bhagwati Prasad Khaitan forwarded his reign and made Khaitan and Co. a national law firm.
In the present scenario, it is headed by an executive committee which is elected by 97 partners and directors. Its offices are located in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru with some offices in different countries as well. In April 2015, Khaitan And Co. hiked its base pay by 1.2 lakhs from previous year’s salary of 13.2 lakhs totalling to 14.4 lakhs per annum making itself the highest salary paying employer in the country. To top it all, it also offers a performance- related bonus up to RS 1.8 lakhs. However, this price hike move was criticised by his rival firm saying that this is done to disrupt the existing salary trends to gain market share.
Khaitan And Co. have been practising for more than 100 years in various fields, such as:
- Antitrust and Competitions (Ranked – Tier I): Their key highlight includes – They advised Royal Dutch Shell with their high-profile merger with BG group.
- Banking and Finance (Ranked – Tier I): They advise borrowers and lenders on domestic lending, external commercial borrowing, acquisition finance, corporate restructuring like amalgamation, etc. Recently, they assisted IFC with Rs 16 billion Maharaja bond programme.
- Capital Market (Ranked -Tier I): Highlight – They advised Alkem Laboratories on its $204m IPO.
- Corporate And M&A (Ranked -Tier I): They are known for their value for money and timely and quick response to clients. Recently they acted for Reliance Communications during the acquisition of Sistema Shyam Teleservices wireless telecoms business.
- Dispute Resolution (Ranked -Tier I): The team also worked for Baba Kalyani of Kalyani group in eight company cross-appeals.
- Insurance (Ranked -Tier II): Key clients include Birla Sun life, Nippon life insurance, etc.
- Intellectual Property (Ranked – Tier II): They recently drafted patent specialisation for the most prestigious brand, Mercedes-Benz research and development. Other key clients include Godrej group, etc.
- Investment Funds (Ranked – Tier I): Work highlights include assisting Kalpavriksha Fund with their structuring issues.
- Projects and Energy (Ranked – Tier I): Assisting Hanwha Q Cells with its joint venture with Azure power India become a big highlight in the market.
- Real Estate and Construct (Ranked – Tier II): Their key clients include Mahindra Holidays and Resorts and also advised for an acquisition of a beach resort in Kerala.
- TMT (Ranked – Tier II): They specialise in foreign ventures and strategic investment. Major clients include Tata communications, reliance communications, etc.
- Tax (Ranked – Tier I): Recently, Temasek wanted their assistance to handle tax aspects connected to its investment in ETechAces marketing and consulting.
- White Collar Crime (Ranked – Tier I): They recently represented Convergys in document falsification allegations and also defended Jindal steel and power against various criminal suits.
It is said that the Tier I provide the best pay packages and Khaitan is Tier I in 9 out of 13 fields in which it works, which clearly shows their excellence in their fields. At present, their Associates are approximately paid from Rs 13,90,000 –Rs 20,70,000 per annum. Thus, Khaitan And Co. tops the list of highest salary giving law firms in India.
S&R Associates is a very successful law firm founded in 2005. 20% of its work is domestic in nature and rest 80% is international. This firm is comprised of 50-50 in ratio, i.e., amongst 12 partners 6 are women, and 6 are men. From the past 11 years, it has mastered in the following fields:
- Capital Markets: With its major focus lying in the equity market it has advised Axis Capital, HSRC And ICICI for an IPO of worth 21.8 billion which was approved by the Reserve Bank of India.
- Private Equity: With a strong hold in the capital market sector, it advised Bertelsmann India Investment to invest $100 million in pepperfry.com.
- Corporate/M&A: It has advised on transactions which are estimated to be around $400 million in the last three years.
- IT Telco & Media: With its expert knowledge in this field, it has advised a Canadian media and technology company named broadcast TV Corp to acquire YOBOHO New Media.
It stands in the second position to provide highest base remuneration of Rs 13.2 lakhs with a maximum bonus of Rs 3 lakhs on performance related basis. It is one of the chief recruiters of students from NLS, ILS, NALSAR and recently on June 16 promoted three lawyers to become their partners.
Talwar Thakore and Associates
Commonly known as TT&A, it was founded in 2007. Presently 40% of its operations are domestic while 60% are internationally done. One of the most impressive facts is that TT&A is Linklaters. The two firms collaborated in 2011 on BP’s $7.2 billion tie -up with Reliance Industries. Since then the two have been working together on several international projects. In 2013, it further collaborated with former Competition Commission head Vinod Dhall for setting new heights in its New Delhi office.
With nine years of experience and expert knowledge of its three partners, headed by Mr Suresh Talwar, it works in the following fields:
- Banking and Finance (Ranked Tier I): It acted as a Legal Council of Standard Chartered Bank, ING and Deutsche Bank.
- Corporate And M&A (Ranked Tier II): Clients include AXA Group, Reliance Communications and advised Sun Life Group for equity increase in its life insurance joint venture which is under Aditya Birla Group.
- Capital Markets (Ranked Tier I): Its clients include Reliance Communications, AXA Group, Unilever, etc.
- Competition and Antitrust (Ranked Tier II): Headed by Vinod Dhall worked closely with CCI in Ranbaxy merger case in March 2015.
It stands as the 3rd position to provide the highest Remuneration in India with Basic pay starting from Rs 13 lakhs as in April 2015 it had hiked its fresher and senior pay bands before Khaitan revised their remuneration scale. It also provides Bonus of Rs 5.2 Lakhs or 40% of basic pay in rare cases depending on factors such as hours devoted to client’s work, performance, etc.
History of Amarchand And Mangal Das & Suresh A Shroff (AMSS)
Commonly known as AMSS, it is one of the world’s largest and faithful Law firms situated in India. Established in 1917, it was founded by Late Amarchand Shroff which was succeeded by his son Suresh A Shroff till his death in 1994. After which Mr Suresh’s sons and daughters-in-law took the legacy forward but split this prestigious name into 2 different law firms in May 2015 after years of several rounds in courts.
His elder son Shardul become managing partner of Shardul Amarchand Mangal Das and Co. based in New Delhi and younger son Cyril became a proud managing partner of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Co. based in Mumbai. Presently, its offices are located in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai and Pune.
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas And Co.
It came into existence on the 11th of May 2015 after the split of the iconic Amarchand and Mangal Das And Suresh A Shroff and Co. It’s a full-service law firm having expertise in following fields:
- Banking and Finance (Ranked Tier I)
- Capital Markets (Ranked Tier I)
- Antitrust and Competition (Ranked Tier I)
- Corporate and M&A (Ranked Tier I)
- Dispute Resolution (Ranked Tier I)
- Insurance (Ranked Tier II)
- Investment funds (Ranked Tier I)
- Labour And Employment (Ranked Tier III)
- Projects and Energy (Ranked Tier I)
- Real Estate and Construction (Ranked Tier I)
- TMT (Ranked Tier I)
- Tax (Ranked Tier II)
- White-Collar Crime (Ranked Tier I)
Notable clients include Microsoft, National Stock Exchange, State Bank of India, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Lufthansa Airlines, Facebook, Vodafone, etc.
- They advised Kotak Mahindra Capital and Citigroup on Indian aspects of Dr Lal Pathlabs’ $94.7m IPO.
- The firm represented Videocon industries against an injunction granted by Delhi High Court.
- They assisted BIF India holdings for the acquisition of a nine project companies of Gammon Group.
- They also advised DLF to sell 40% stake in DLF Cyber City Developers.
In 2015, with many other firms, they also hiked the base remunerations to Rs 12.5 lakhs. Also, a bonus of Rs 1.5 lakhs (Maximum) is to be given on performance related basis. At present, associate attorney is being paid from Rs 3,54,241- Rs 16,42,318. Thus, at no. 4 Shardul Amarchand Mangladas And Co. is paying the highest salary.
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
After the split of Amarchand Mangaldas and Suresh A Shroff and Co., it came into existence on May 11, 2015. With so many years of experience, CAM has expertise in following fields:
- Banking and Finance (Ranked Tier I)
- Capital Markets (Ranked Tier I)
- Corporate And M&A (Ranked Tier I)
- Dispute Resolution (Ranked Tier I)
- Investment Funds (Ranked Tier I)
- Labour And Employment (Leading Individuals)
- Projects and Energy (Leading Individuals)
- Real Estate and Construction (Ranked Tier II)
- Shipping (Ranked Tier III)
- TMT (Ranked Tier I)
- Tax (Ranked Tier II)
Notable clients include Kotak Mahindra, ING Vyasa Bank, Axis bank, Etihad airways, Standard life, GMR Energy, TATA Capital, Brightstar, Morgan Stanley, etc.
- Advising Wonderland holidays for Rs 1.8 bn IPO.
- The firm also represented a case of $750 m for Etihad Airways before SEBI.
- They also advised standard life on the acquisition of 95 stakes in HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company.
- They advised Godrej properties on a township project in Panvel.
At Present, the firm provides a basic pay of Rs 12 lakhs with Rs 3 lakhs of bonus based on their devotion towards the company and their work.
J Sagar And Associates (JSA)
JSA advocates and solicitors is a national law firm located in India. Comprised of 40 partners and around 200 lawyers, JSA has many offices located in New Delhi, Gurugram, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad. Founded by Jyoti Sagar in 1991, he and his experienced team have expertise in the following areas: –
- Banking and Finance (Ranked- Tier I): Prime clients include Axis Bank (Hong Kong Branch), the Export-Import Bank of India (New Delhi), HDFC Bank of India (New Delhi), HDFC Bank (Hong Kong Branch), State Bank of India (Tokyo Branch), etc.
- Private Equity (Ranked – Tier I): They have advised two sovereign wealth funds to invest in the health care and real estate sectors.
- Project and Infrastructure (Ranked – Tier I): Their practice divides into four major areas: Energy and natural resources, Transportation, Smart cities and urban infrastructure, and Telecommunication and Broadcasting;
- Capital Market (Ranked – Tier I): They have clients such as Axis Capital, CLSA, DSP, Merrill Lynch and SBI Capital Market.
- Corporate M&A (Ranked – Tier I): Their highlights include – they advised Union Bank to acquire 49% of the shareholding of KBC Participations Renta in Union KBC Asset Management and Union KBC Trustee.
With so many years of experience, JSA is amongst top 10 firms offering the highest salary. Currently, the base Remuneration provided by JSA is Rs 11.5 lakhs excluding maximum bonus of Rs 1 lakh. They increase this base salary at the end of every year so may also increase it in future.
Trilegal is founded in 2000 and is among top notch law firms in India. It has offices in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. It has approximately 150 lawyers with expertise in various areas such as: –
- Real Estate
- Technology and IT
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Capital Markets
- Private Equity
- Capital Funds
- Corporate and Commercial Disputes
- Intellectual Property
In 2007, one of the biggest M&A transaction took place. Trilegal along with Linklaters has advised Vodafone to acquire 67% stake, i.e., a multibillion dollar ($11.1 billion) in Hutchison Essar Ltd. If we consider Pay-Scale then, currently it is paying a total remuneration of Rs 11.28 lakhs per annum and a maximum remuneration of 18 lakhs per annum which is to be paid based on employee’s performance. However, intern is paid approximately Rs 17,348 per month and associate is being paid Rs 1,06,000 – Rs 1,13,000 per month based on their knowledge and expertise.
AZB and Partners
It is India’s one of the top three corporate law firms with a revenue of Rs 300 crores with offices situated in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Gurugram. Founders Ajay Bahl, Zia Moody and Bahram Vakil with their expertise knowledge have cracked many deals like: –
- Tata Steel’s Singapore $486.4 million acquisition of Natsteel in 2004.
- Tata Motor’s $2.4 billion purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008.
- Aditya Birla Group’s $6 billion acquisition of Novelis in 2007.
- Tata Docomo $2.7 billion deal in 2007 and many more.
It has expertise in the following fields: –
- Antitrust and Competitions (Ranked Tier II): Notable clients include Google and Mercedes-Benz
- Aviation (Ranked Tier II)
- Banking and Finance (Ranked Tier I): Clients includes FIH private investments and Grameen Capital India etc.
- Capital Markets (Ranked Tier I): Clients include HDFC bank, Axis Capital, Kuwait Investment Authority, etc.
- Corporate and M&A (Ranked Tier I): It is core practice at AZB and partners that Adv. Zia Moody herself handles the cases with Adv. Ajay Bahl.
- Dispute Resolution (Ranked Tier I): Clients include Fairfax, Boeing, Nalanda Capital, etc.
- Insurance (Ranked Tier II): Advises large global insures as their joint ventures.
- Intellectual Property (Ranked Tier III): Clients include DST Global and Lafarge India etc.
- Investment Funds (Ranked Tier I): Advices on various fund structures.
- Projects and Energy (Ranked Tier II): Advice on Oil and Gas, Mining and telecom related projects. Chief clients include Lafarge India.
- Real Estate and Construction (Ranked Tier II): Clients include Asian Development Bank, KKR India Asset Finance etc.
- TMT (Ranked Tier II): Advice in the media and entertainment space and includes clients such as Bharti Airtel, etc.
- Tax (Ranked Tier I): It has a specialised group in tax planning.
Currently providing base remuneration from Rs 9.8 lakhs to Rs 11.4 lakhs it stands on the 8th position to pay the highest salary in India.
Luthra and Luthra
Founded in 1991 by Mr Rajiv K Luthra who started his career in 1978 is now amongst the top law firms in India and Tier I law firm with expertise in many areas. It consists of 52 partners supported by approximately 247 lawyers with branches spread in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
It specialises in: –
- Corporate/ M&A: Their key clients include Ascott, Arcelor Mittal, Tata Group, Essel Group, JSN Steel, etc.
- Private Equity: Key dealing includes – It advised Somara Capital led PE Group’s acquisition of KFC and Pizza Hut Franchises in India.
- Banking and Finance: ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, US Exim are major clients. They advised Rosa Power Supply Co. refinancing a part of existing financial assistance- deal worth USD 882 million.
- Capital Market: They once again made to highlights with the output of India Bulls Housing Finance Ltd- worth USD 601.57 million. Key Clients include Morgan Stanley, ICICI Securities.
- Dispute Resolution: Key clients include Samsung, India bulls, Toyota, Kirloskar.
- Projects, Infrastructure and Energy: Squared Capital’s acquisitions of Jaipur- Manua Tollway Rit Ltd was done by Luthra and Luthra only. Key Clients include GVK Group, Renew Power, GnR Group, etc.
- Tax: They advised in Abbott Laboratories spin- ff. Key Clients include Johnson Matthey, LVMH, Jubilant Food works etc.
- Intellectual Property: Key Clients include Amar Resorts, Lava international, etc.
- Competition/Antitrust: They Represented Ranbaxy in USD 4 billion merger with Sun Pharmaceuticals.
- Real Estate: Key Clients include Unitech Ltd, Godrej Properties, etc.
Currently, Luthra and Luthra is providing a maximum basic salary of Rs 10.8 lakhs with a maximum bonus of RS 2.52 lakhs which depend on their skills and expertise in their area of specialisation. Also, the salary of an intern is around 6000-7000 per month, and a corporate lawyer receives somewhere between RS 1,68,000 – RS 1,82,000 per month.
Desai & Diwanji
Founded in 1930, Mr Vishwang Desai and Mr Apurva Diwanji & partners have now taken this law firm in top 10 which gives highest salaries in India. Comprised of total 24 partners and approximately 187 lawyers, their work is split 40% domestically and 60% internationally.
They have offices in Delhi, Gurugram and Mumbai. This firm is known for specialisation in mergers and acquisitions. Major clients include Royal Bank of Scotland, Union Bank of India and BNP Paribas.
As per Wikipedia, Desai and Diwanji give the starting salary between RS 6 – 8.4 lakh. The major deals which are cracked by them include: –
- They advised Wadia group-owned airline Go Air on the acquisition of 72 Airbus 320 NEO.
- Their Gurgaon branch advised Franklin Templon on its purchase of 20% of Mumbai designer clothes retailer Kimaya Fashions.
Their areas of work are: –
- Banking and Finance (Ranked Tier 3): Premier clients include Union bank, RBS & BNP Paribas, etc.
- Capital Markets (Ranked Tier 2): They garner respect for their equity market expertise and local regulatory knowledge. Their prime clients include RBS and J.P Morgan.
- Corporate and M&A (Ranked Tier 1): They have international clients for high – end corporate and M&A deals. Clients have included Quippo Telecom & Avendus Capital.
- Dispute Resolution (Ranked Tier 4): Their range of expertise includes financial, aviation and media disputes.
- Projects and Energy (Ranked Tier 3): They have strong project finance expertise. They frequently advice Indian Banks.
Thus, with great knowledge and expertise, Desai and Diwanji stands at no. 10 in the queue of providing top 10 salaries in India.
Thus, with the above-provided data we can conclude that amongst so many law firms in India the top 10 law firms which managed to take place in the list of highest paying law firms are: –
- Khaitan And Co.
- S&R Associates
- Talwar Thakore and Associates
- Shardul Amarchand Mangal das And Co.
- Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
- J Sagar And Associates
- AZB and Partners
- Luthra and Luthra
- Desai & Dewanji
However, we cannot say that these will always remain constant. With external & internal circumstances like governmental policy, change in economic pattern, etc. the firms may either decide to increase the salary scale or may even decide to decrease them. There can also be new additions to the list or even few subtractions.
For example, as said before, in 2015 many firms like Amarchand Mangal Das, Khaitan and company, S and R associates, etc. took the decision to increase their pay scale. Therefore, according to the present information, we concluded that the above mentioned top 10 law firms which pay the highest salary in India is topped by Khaitan & Co. and ends at Desai & Diwanji.