The economy of India has been practically un-liberalized until the 1990s, when its economy began to bloom, thanks to the minor changes and large-scale economic policy reforms that the then administration initiated and followed to the dot. Now, India’s economy remains to be one of the hottest and most resilient, at least when compared to other state economies in Asia. Among the markets and industries in India that bloomed during its economy’s liberalization was its legal firm industry. A significant portion of law firms that can be found in India today were actually established and grew in the 1990s. These law firms flourished during the 1990s, thanks to the massive number of private companies and corporations—which are practically publicized entities because anyone can have ownership of the company, being established during that time. More and more companies required legal corporate assistance and so the Indian legal firm industry flourished. The result was a huge talent crunch. The demand for competitive corporate lawyers became dramatically short, thanks the fast and sudden transition of India’s economy from an almost dormant economy to a booming one. One of the law firms that flourished during this period is the Singhania and Partners law firm. During the period characterized by severe talent crunches in the law firm industry, they were able to attract some talented partners who all contributed greatly to the success that the firm enjoys today. However, recent stabilization in the market, and other political, legal, economic, social, and technological factors have all lead to new problems, which in the case of Singhania and Partners law firm, have been identified as the threat of employee turnover-- Singhania and Partners appears to have problems in hiring new employees and retaining old ones, and increasing global competition and attrition rates.
The Case of Singhania and Partners
Singhania and partners is a law firm based in New Delhi, India, with offices scattered throughout the country. Their legal team is currently composed of over 70 talented, qualified, and seasoned legal professionals who are extensively experienced in corporate law. The company’s goal is to provide high quality and at the same time, cost effective legal services to their clients, with emphasis on the timeliness of the delivery. Despite these strong credentials and their good and long track history of success in the law firm industry, Singhania and Partners continues to face new waves of corporate challenges from time to time. The liberalization of the Indian economy proved to be a double-edged sword. It brought both positive and negative things with it. Despite the Indian economy’s liberalization, majority of the policymakers in Indian politics are still opposed to the idea of opening the Indian legal services market to international and even regional markets. In short, Indian law firms are only legally allowed to cater to the Indian market, nothing more and nothing less. On the contrary, law firms from outside the country are also not allowed to establish offices and cater to the legal services demands of the Indian market, according to the Indian Advocates Act of 1961 . There are also outstanding legal policies in Indian that prohibits law firms both from inside and outside the country to market their services in India directly.
Social factors such as the corporations’ increasing preference for settling disputes rather than bringing them to court through the help of a corporate lawyer—which is only logical considering the expenses and effort that it usually takes to present a case to the court plus the fact that there is usually not a hundred percent guarantee who the court’s decision will favor. Another issue that the Singhania and Partners also faces is the still unaddressed issue of talent crunch. Because of the exponential growth that the Indian economy has experienced the supply of talented and experienced lawyers have been severely left out by the huge increase in demand for corporate lawyers. This is actually where Singhania and Partners’ main problem lies. Lawyers, especially those who prioritize their financial interests, would normally partner with the law firms that offer the most competitive compensations. However, it turns out that Singhania and Partners does not belong to the group of companies that offer the most handsome partner compensations. The result is a damaging internal shortage of talented workers within the company which of would naturally contribute to the increase in the company’s attrition rate. One of the national issues that caused this continuous shortage of good quality lawyers is the insufficient educational and other development opportunities for people to obtain credentials, expertise and experience in the legal services industry .
Evaluation of International Human Resources Management Practices and how they can be improved
- Recruitment and Selection
In Singhania and Partners’ case, the recruitment and selection phase can be very tough and challenging simply because the shortage in good quality lawyers already exists. Sure, they can easily select and recruit any available workers that they may find during one of the application days but they cannot really accept just whoever they come across with because it will eventually damage the reputation and the performance of the company in the future. Singhania and Partners’ management can approach this problem in two ways. If they want to keep their partner compensation levels at its current, they can take whoever they can recruit, even the not so talented and experienced ones, and train them. These will of course take some time but it still leads to the same endpoint—a competitive law firm workforce. Additionally, there is the likelihood that the internally trained employees would develop loyalty to the company making this solution indirectly address the problem on employee retention rates. The other way is to raise their recruitment standards higher which at this point, is the least recommended because as mentioned before, there is an ongoing talent crunch in the industry. Additionally, even if the management becomes lucky to come up with a high quality applicant, there can be no assurance that it would stay long enough in the company or if the Singhania and Partners can afford adhering to the compensation demands of high quality workers.
- Training for Cross-Cultural Adaptation
At this point, problematizing the matter regarding training for cross cultural adaptation should be the Singhania and Partners’ management’s least concern because as mentioned before there are certain legislations in India that does not allow the internal legal services industry to interbreed with the international market for legal services and so making innovations for cutting edge training strategies for cross-cultural adaptation would turn out to be a waste of time, efforts, and resources. But in case the great wall that the politicians in India have set between the internal and external legal services market, one way how Singhania and Partners can improve in this aspect is by exposing their new talents to cases involving international corporations and people. There is not a single better way to train any professional than by feeding them real-world experience.
- Management Development
Judging the way how Singhania and Partners’ management handles the threats related to employee turnover and company attrition rates; it goes without saying that there are lots of rooms for improvement. One way the company can improve on this is to perform a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) on their current management and then based on the findings they would have gotten from the analysis, develop or reform their current management decisions. This way, they can make their management decisions more appropriate, targeted, and efficient . They can, for example, finally decide to make their partner and employees compensation more competitive so that their current employees would not have to serve into another law firm and so that the company may become more attractive to new and talented employees.
Employee evaluation is an essential process especially for an organization that wants to keep its members and organization on a long term basis. The real key to a good evaluation is to make it regular, unimpeded—a routine, and most importantly, as objective as possible. The employees should also realize why and what for they are being evaluated. So far, Singhania and Partners’ evaluation practices are at par with other top legal firms in the country, in fact, they even stomp on them in some aspects.
This is so far the biggest, and the most obvious problem that Singhania and Partners current have. In fact, their issues regarding uncompetitive compensation are the root of their problems with employee turnover and company attrition. As soon as they address the uncompetitive-ness of their compensation packages, there is a great likelihood that these two problems would also disappear. Fortunately, all that the management has to do is to raise the bar higher to the point that their current employees would think twice before even thinking of working for another legal firm and new and talented lawyers flock their side.
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