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Global jobs for Indian legal eagles

A league of top six coveted law firms in London, are now vying for the best recruits from India, reports Zia Haq.
Hindustan Times | By Zia Haq, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 07, 2007 04:05 AM IST

Global law firms are courting fresh law graduates from India in a big way with plum jobs and pay cheques in pounds and dollars.

The so-called Magic Circle, a league of top six coveted law firms in London, are now competing for the best recruits from India at not only the graduate level but also at the “lateral” level.

A source in one of the London firms said Clifford Chance and Linklaters together hired 60 graduates from the National Law School in Bangalore and the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) in Kolkata this season. Till two years ago, the figure would be just about five, he said.

About 300 graduates pass out annually from the three best law schools being favoured by Magic Circle – National Law School, Nalsar (Hyderabad) and National University of Juridical Sciences.

A shortage of skilled lawyers in globalised operations of these firms, knowledge of English and high legal educational norms have ratcheted up the demand. An official from Rainmaker India, a legal recruitment company in Mumbai, said over 100 lawyers were lapped up by global firms this year.

“These global firms have started to hire transactional lawyers to possibly create a base for entry into India,” Ritvik Lucose, vice-president of Rainmaker’s recruitment wing told HT.

Civil Lines-resident Rahul Narayan, a graduate from Amity Law School, has just bagged a deal from a “tier I” law firm in UK. “Global firms pay a much higher salary,” he said.

Prestigious firms like Clifford Chance LLP and Linklaters pay around 65,000 pounds a year, excluding bonuses, for new recruits.

Chris Wyman of the India desk at Clifford in London said: “We are hiring Indian lawyers because the standard of education is comparable to that in UK, a common legal system and common language. Also, there is a great demand for good lawyers internationally.”

“The market has never been more open to Indian lawyers. The hiring trend has busted the myth that a lawyer requires foreign qualification to be able to work abroad,” said Ruchika Sukh of EA International, a specialist legal recruitment consultancy, which opened offices in Delhi this year.

“Transactional lawyers with experience in capital markets, corporate, finance, funds and projects are the most sought after,” Sukh added.

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