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) (Forthcoming)

Griffith University Law School Research Paper No. 15-01

U. of Westminster School of Law Research Paper No. 16-06

64 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2015 Last revised: 12 Jan 2016

John Flood

Griffith University Law School; University of Westminster School of Law; University College London

Date Written: October 28, 2015

Abstract

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

Flood, John, 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 (October 28, 2015). David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya Khanna and David M. Trubek (eds), The Indian Legal Profession in an Age of Globalization. (Cambridge University Press) (Forthcoming); Griffith University Law School Research Paper No. 15-01; U. of Westminster School of Law Research Paper No. 16-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2629429

John A. Flood (Contact Author)

Griffith University Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus
170 Kessels Road
Nathan 4111, Queensland
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://experts.griffith.edu.au/academic/j.flood

University of Westminster School of Law ( email )

4 Little Titchfield Street
London, England W1W 7UW
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.westminster.ac.uk

University College London ( email )

Faculty of Laws
Endsleigh Gardens
London, England WC1H 0EG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/people-at-ucl-laws/honorary-appointments/

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