Why do some of India’s national law firms find Hyderabad such a challenging market? Rebecca Abraham reports

The June 2014 bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh resulted in the birth of Telangana and was a long time coming. It set the stage for competition between the two states on several fronts including creating investor-friendly policies.

Both states recently topped state-wise ease of doing business rankings, put together by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Telangana State Industrial Project Approval and Self-Certification System (TS-iPASS) Act, 2014, rolled out soon after the state was created, and was instrumental for it receiving investment proposals worth ₹1.18 trillion (US$17.8 billion).

Andhra Pradesh, meanwhile, signed 734 memorandums of understanding, involving investments of about ₹4.39 trillion, at a three-day investment summit in February. The state’s chief minister said 59% of investments that were similarly promised in the past three-and-a-half years had come in.

As a result, Hyderabad, which is currently the capital of both states, is a hive of activity as investors compare the benefits of investing in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

A SHORTAGE OF TALENT?

Yet national law firms are wary of opening an office in the city, and those that have offices maintain a skeletal presence, often due to an inability to hire suitable lawyers.

The partners who headed the offices of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Trilegal in the city have recently resigned. Trilegal, which had six lawyers in the city, has closed its office.

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