Meet India's most expensive lawyer

LollipopMan / 4 yrs ago /

54 year old Harish Salve, former Solicitor General of India, is, arguably, today's most expensive lawyer in India. He has represented high-profile cases like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Prakash Singh Badal and Lalit Modi but his reputation (and legal fees!) started sky-rocketing after he won Mukesh Ambani's gas dispute against brother Anil who was represented by Ram Jethmalani. His latest on-going-case is representing Ratan Tata who has gone to the Supreme Court claiming that his privacy has been violated in the Nira Radia tapes scandal.
 Hiring Harish Salve as lawyer does not come cheap. He charges a massive fee of Rs 30 lakhs per day. His fees alone is supposed to have cost Mukesh Ambani a whopping Rs 15 crore. Even this pales into insignificance when you compare it with the Rs 60 crore which he is supposed to have collected in the Forest Case of TN Godavarman Thirumulpad.  In addition, he has to be provided overnight five-star suites and first class air-tickets. A dinner for him and his team at a five star hotel can cost over Rs 2 lakh. Clients have been known to present him a hot Vertu phone or a Jaeger-LeCoutre watch to keep him in good mood. Further, Salve will  only accept the first brief. In other words, he will never be the second counsel to anyone else in any case. Salve drives a Bentley and has a holiday home in Goa. Fashion-conscious Salve visits London frequently to shop for his clothes. That is when his clients do not get them for him as in the case of Mukesh Ambani who is supposed to have bought an entire wardrobe of clothes for him when fighting his brother!
The Indian public are already contemptuous of our slow and corrupt judiciary. What they are not so aware of is that only the super rich in our country can afford to hire our top lawyers who alone can win court cases. In America, it is well known that you can get away with any crime because a good lawyer can get you out of the consequences of your crime. The names of Michael Jackson and  OJ Simpson immediately come to our minds. But, in a country like India which can boast of lawyers like Gandhi and Nehru, should we not expect more?

Ravish / / 12 months ago

I can bet that these lawyers will not fight for anything that will benefit for the common masses of this nation. They will only come on national news channels and give big lectures about duty, responsibility and ethics. I see them as selfish humans because they have the power to combat corruption and make this country a better place to live as they have knowledge, power and status. But they never do it. I am not saying that he should do charity and go on strike. I want this people to take up one or two cases to fight against corruption and political hypocrisy.

LollipopMan / / 3 yrs ago

Dear Ashu,

                                               Wish he gives me a job!

I hope that he does, too! And, good luck!!


ashualec / / 3 yrs ago

interesting to know about this man ..wish he gives me a job :-)))

CaravanBpl / / 4 yrs ago

LPM.. thanks for the lovely salvating toon too :-))

Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri


Thanks.   I should quote your blog and the above comment to my nephew (my youngest sister's son) who graduated from Stanford and practicing in the High Court of Chennai. For some time, he was  junior to Nalini Chidambram, the wife of our Union Minister P. Chidambaram, mother of Karti, mother-in-law to Srinidhi, the danseuse, daughter of Soundara Kailasam, the poet and wife of the legal luminary Kailasam, sister to Dr. Sadayavel Kailasam who runs, the Ashvini Soundarya Nursing Home and personally known to me, through my younger sister's dentist son-in-law!!!


Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri.


Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri

Annaswamy Natarajan:

"If I had my seat next to our hero Harish Salve the lawyer, I would immediately ask for re-seating me".

This is a classic case of Appearances are Deceptive.  I checked with my sister's son-in-law, who is a dentist in Chennai and a professor in a famous dental college. 

It is not necessary that all people who have multiple rows or crooked teeth or stained teeth and who are in public service like lawyers, doctors, etc., necessarily have bad breath.  Due to residual food particles remaining in the cervices in between the teeth, it is quite possible that they may have bad breath.  But bad breath or halitosis has different origins, the least of which is stained teeth. One may not have sparkling teeth like you, which is a photographer’s delight, especially if it is in the mouth of Aishwariya Rai or Deepika Padukone, nevertheless, in today’s world, we have mouth sprays which take away bad breath in no time, and the neighbour is never inconvenienced.

*Halitosis may be related to a variety of causes, including bacterial infections and medications. Some bacteria in your mouth may produce gaseous compounds that cause bad breath. For some people, bad breath is caused by a dry mouth, which may be a result of medications you are taking or other medical conditions you may have. Bad breath is often found in people with periodontal diseases, including gum abscesses and mouth sores. These diseases are usually attributed to less than admirable oral hygiene, dentures, smoking or teeth restoration, such as bridges. Brushing, regularly may reduce bad breath. Some dental hygienists recommend brushing your tongue, (Naakku Vadikkal) since it traps large amounts of bacteria. Additional protection against the buildup of bacteria in your mouth can be achieved by rinsing with a mouthwash after you finish brushing.[Internet]


Vaidyanathan Pushpagiri. 

PS:LPM: Is Harish Salve in the habit of reading your blogs and comments in Sulekha Blogs Section?  VP.



LollipopMan / / 4 yrs ago


Harish Salve always sums up his cases by saying, "Your Honor if you rule in my client's favour people will say you have a rich judicial temperment; if on the other hand you rule against my client you will be remembered as a poor Judge!"
That's how he wins all his highprofile cases.


 Whether Salve is uses the same sentence to sum up all his cases, I do not know. What my research on Harish Salve shows is that he is
 a master strategist. Unlike most lawyers, he presents both sides of a case and then explains why his side is the stronger of the two. He relies on giving a sober and balanced argument and always avoids aggressive one-sided views.



LollipopMan / / 4 yrs ago


Since Harish Salve happens to be earning so much money for working as a lawyer for such famous and super rich people (Ambani and Mulayam, for example) then he must be good, otherwise these very famous and rich people won't hire him.

 I totally agree with that statement of yours. I was, in no way, comparing the lawyerly prowess of Salve with that Nehru or Gandhi: Salve is, undoubtedly, a much more successful lawyer than either Nehru or Gandhi ever was.

 My point was that Nehru and Gandhi, instead of using their legal training and expertise for making money like Salve, used it in the service people. For 21 years (1893-1914), Gandhi fought for the civil rights of Indian settlers in South Africa. As for Nehru's legal practice, the public Court-martial of INA Colonel Prem seghal, Colonel Gurubaksh Singh Dillon and Major Shah Nawaz Khan in Delhi's Red Fort during 1945-46 immediately comes to mind. The INA Defence committee consisting of Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhulabhai Desai,  Kailasnath Katju and others gave their yeoman service absolutely free.


Annaswamy Natarajan / / 4 yrs ago
Annaswamy Natarajan

Dear LPM

Tha was a good one. Thanks.


PS: If I had mt seat next to our hero Harish Salve the lawyer, I would immediately ask for re-seating me.

Not that I would not want to win the bets such as you mentuioned, I wonder if I could have survived the smell originating from his mouth!!

You write well - so keep them coming!



LollipopMan / / 4 yrs ago


 Many thanks for those one-line sizzlers. Here is joke about a self-opinionated lawyer getting his own comeuppance (taken from the internet):

A blonde chick found herself sitting next to a lawyer on an airplane. Bored, the lawyer kept bugging the blonde wanting her to play a game of intelligence (lawyers like easy prey). Finally, the lawyer offered her 10 to 1 odds, said every time the blonde could not answer one of his questions she owed him $5, but every time he could not answer hers he’d give her $50.00. The lawyer figured he could not lose, and the blonde reluctantly accepted.

The lawyer first asked, “What is the distance between the Earth and the nearest star?” Without saying a word the blonde handed him $5.

The blonde then asked, “What goes up a hill with 3 legs and comes back down the hill with 4 legs?”

The lawyer looked puzzled. He spent nearly an hour, googling,  looking up everything he could on his laptop and even placing numerous air-to-ground phone calls, trying to find the answer. Finally, angry and frustrated, he gave up and paid the blonde $50.00

The blonde put the $50 into her purse without comment, but the lawyer insisted, “What is the answer to your question?”

Without saying a word, the blonde handed him $5.

This process was repeated for the remainder of the flight. Needless to say that, at $45/ a time, the lawyer lost a lot of his cash to the blonde!



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