Nishith Desai Associates wins the Financial Times' award for Most Innovative Law firm in Asia Pacific

June 06, 2016


We are delighted to share some exciting news with you.‎ At the outset, a 'BIG Thank you' to you all for your good wishes, encouragement and being our brand ambassador.

Amid a most august gathering of Asia Pacific’s best legal and corporate minds at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center in Hong Kong last Thursday night, Nishith Desai Associates was declared the Most Innovative Law firm in Asia Pacific by the Financial Times (London).

For the first time, this puts an Indian law firm on the top of global league in the sphere of innovation. The FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific 2016 awards received 460 submissions from 72 international law firms and 82 in-house legal teams from across the Asia Pacific region.

We are a research based law firm. Innovation is in our DNA and an integral part of our culture. It's part of our 'design thinking' process to find strategic solutions for the most complex issues faced by our clients both in transactional as well as litigation matters besides in policy shaping- to change the world for the better. All the 9 solutions submitted by us were recognized as most innovative..

Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) notched up a score of 200 points, a new record in Asia Pacific‎, establishing a lead of 39 points ahead of its nearest formidable competitor. NDA was able to demonstrate innovations in all the 3 major categories: Finance, Corporate & Commercial and the Business of Law.

The firm won Asia Pacific’s best Innovation in Finance Law for structuring the ≈ $ 6 b National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) for Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India. It's designed as a 'Strategically Leveraged Collective Sovereign Fund', a first of its kind in the world to provide much needed equity financing for infrastructure projects in India.We hope it would become an inspirational structure for other countries and states to follow. "We believe that this award is a recognition of focus on innovation and positive change by this government. We are honoured to work with Ministry of Finance on this important initiative" says Pratibha Jain, Partner of our Funds Practice group, who was specially commended for spearheading the project.

NDA also topped the rankings for Innovation in the Business of Law among all Asia Pacific firms. This category covers the innovative strategies of law firms in the region, examining their approaches to law firm strategy, organizational structure, growth and expansion, client service and service lines, new ways of winning clients and building practice or industry area strengths and market presence, talent management, operational innovations and so on.

This year’s win marks a hat-trick (2014-2016) for the firm as the Most Innovative Indian Law Firm.

Launched globally as a first-of-its-kind study in North America and Europe in 2006 with resounding success, the FT Innovative Lawyers rankings report and awards were started for Asia-Pacific in 2014. FT and its research partner RSG Consulting have devised a unique methodology to rank lawyers on innovation. Law firms, in-house legal teams and other legal service organisations are invited to submit their innovations. These are then fully researched through telephone interviews and reviews. No entry appears in the FT report or awards shortlist without a robust client or independent reference. Market experts are also called in to assess the submissions and the research. RSG Consulting has 20-year track record of analyzing the legal profession and devising ranking methodologies for professional services.

Reena SenGupta, Chief Executive Officer, RSG Consulting elucidates in the report: “Another firm that is ahead of the curve is Nishith Desai Associates, an Indian law firm. It adopted its industry focus, or “vertical” approach to sectors, in the mid-1990s, well before many UK firms. With only 75 professionals, NDA tops the FT’s ranking of firms headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region this year. One reason it punches above its weight is because it invests half of its annual profits in research and development.” She further adds, “More radically for a law firm, NDA’s business model is based on predicting the future and staying ahead of new trends such as cryptocurrencies. When he founded the firm in 1990, Mr. Desai realised he could not compete with other Indian law firms that had 100-year-old brands. Instead, he says, he looked at technological, political and social developments that could throw up new legal and tax problems and positioned his firm to advise on them. The demand for lawyers to look forward and to advise not only across practice areas but also across industries is becoming more common in Asia.

This year’s top ranking in Asia-Pacific underlines the firm’s dogged pursuit of excellence in innovation in the last few years, which along with research and continuing education, has been pivotal in our ability to provide premium, strategic advice and services and handle complex transactions that intersect strategy, law, tax and regulatory domains. Innovation is not a destination, it's a journey. Our firm has embedded this crucial capability at its core. We hope to continue our journey- albeit with your continued support and encouragement.

Financial Times' detailed ranking on Innovative Lawyers 2016 (‎ is given below. Hope you will enjoy reading it.


Once ‎again, thank you very much and do stay connected.


Warm regards,

Nishith Desai

Nishith Desai Associates