Theories of Law Firm Globalization in the Shadow of Colonialism: A Cultural and Institutional Analysis of English and Indian Corporate Law Firms in the 20th and 21st Centuries
David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya Khanna and David M. Trubek (eds), The Indian Legal Profession in an Age of Globalization. (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
64 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2015 Last revised: 24 Jan 2019
Date Written: October 28, 2015
For many years foreign law firms have been trying to establish themselves in India. But the resistance from the Indian legal profession is so strong they have successfully prevented any establishment. The Indian government has from time to time tried to enable foreign law firms to enter the Indian legal market but without success. The paper examines the legal cultural and institutional reasons for this predicament. I argue that although India has a highly regulated market its corporate law firms are antithetical in their organisation and culture to the way the big global UK law firms are organised. In order to aspire to the 'single firm' ideal UK law firms have invested heavily in developing their normative and cultural positions. This enables UK law firms to exist almost independently of regulation because they have shifted the burden of organisational control from outside to within the firm. In these respects Indian law firms are weakly organised because they hew to kinship, family based structures that resemble the 19th century iteration of the UK law firm. There is also the colonial legacy that lives on in India and the struggles of the new international law firms appears very much like a new imperialism, hence the fear and rejection.
Keywords: India, big law firms, globalization, professions, professional service firms, culture, institutionalism
JEL Classification: D21, J44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation