Amit Kapur started his journey with J. Sagar Associates in 1996 – then an eight-lawyer sole proprietorship, and made partner in 2000. Seventeen years later, he would take over as Senior Partner of JSA, a firm with around 300 lawyers. Asked about his journey and success, Kapur says, “I learnt my work ethic from my father, who is a self-made man. JSA gave me the freedom to evolve my practice and the opportunity to achieve this position today for which I am grateful”. With the retirement of the founders Jyoti Sagar and Berjis Desai, the firm’s management is going through […]

Citi, with one of the largest in-house legal teams in the world, has further deepened its presence in India (and abroad) with the formation of a legal hub in Mumbai, which will not only cater to the domestic Indian market but will serve its businesses spread across the APAC region. As a multi-faceted institution, this will supplement Citi’s global operations with support from their Indian franchise. Leading this project is Nitin Batra, who heads Global Legal Solutions for Citi, with ground-level logistics support being provided by Pramod Rao, General Counsel of Citi India. However, this is not the first time […]

Darshan Kulkarni is part of the limited club of lawyers working on US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory and compliance. A member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Bar Associations, Darshan Kulkarni has also worked as a pharmacist for more than a decade, and has even participated as a clinician in clinical trials. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Varun Marwah, among other things, Darshan Kulkarni speaks about the Indian legal landscape for pharmaceutical companies, investor confidence, and the limits of pharma regulation. Varun Marwah: Tell us more about your educational background. Darshan Kulkarni: We are at […]

In the second part of the interview with Pallavi Saluja, Hemant Sahai and Amitabh Sharma speak about the firm’s equity structure, liberalisation and the legal profession in India. (You can read Part I of the interview here) Pallavi Saluja: Having worked at JSA and Khaitan, what are some of the cultural differences you see within these firms? Amitabh Sharma: Let me respond to this question by highlighting the positive cultural aspects that I see here – HSA’s greatest strength is its openness, transparency and systems driven culture. Mutual trust, faith and comfort is the bedrock of the firm’s leadership’s philosophy. […]

HSA Advocates is going through an interesting phase with the entire restructuring exercise, one that includes Khaitan & Co’s Amitabh Sharma being appointed Managing Partner. In the first part of an interview with Bar & Bench’s Pallavi Saluja, both Hemant Sahai and Amitabh Sharma talk about the firm’s growth trajectory, decision to get an outsider as the firm’s Managing Partner, HSA 2.0, and much more. Pallavi Saluja: The firm has been on a significant growth trajectory of late. Hemant Sahai: Growth has always been part of our DNA. We have always adopted a strategy of strategic growth rather than mere growth in headcount, […]

Dispute financing (also known as third party funding, or litigation financing), an area of practice which is relatively unheard of in India is a multi-million dollar industry which is young, but growing by the day in countries such as USA, Australia and England. And Selvyn Seidel is one of the forerunners in this industry, being one the first few to have set up a company for dispute financing. Not just one, but two, first Burford Capital, and then Fulbrook Capital Management. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Varun Marwah, Selvyn discusses the intricacies and nuances associated with dispute financing, […]

Sarah Grimmer, a former senior counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, was recently appointed as the Secretary General of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center. A graduate of the University of Wellington in New Zealand and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, Sarah Grimmer practiced Refugee Law before becoming a member of the international arbitration group at Shearman & Sterling LLP (Paris). She spent three years as deputy counsel at the ICC International Court of Arbitration (Paris), and has been with the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the last decade. In India to attend the NITI Aayog arbitration conference in […]

Ashwath Rau has made it to the Economic Times Hottest Business Leaders Under 40 list. He is pleased to receive the award and says, “It feels good to be recognized.” A law graduate from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Ashwath Rau started his career at Amarchand Mangaldas in 1999. In 2006, he was made a partner at the firm. For Ashwath Rau, who has been involved in some of the biggest transactions in the country, making partner was simply a matter of time. Recently, he left Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas to join AZB & Partners. It was a decision he […]

Saionton Basu, Partner at Duane Morris LLP, has penned a book titled Seven Attempts. The NLSIU Bangalore graduate has been writing on various topics and his work has been featured in multiple publications. Seven Attempts, a story about the lives of civil services aspirants, marks his first attempt at a full feature book. Basu joined Duane Morris from Penningtons Manches LLP in October 2014, with stints at the erstwhile Amarchand Mangaldas in Delhi, and the London office of White & Case. In 2009, he joined Platinum Partners, before moving Penningtons where he was made a Partner in 2012. In this short interview with […]

The ninth day of May last year saw the end of an era – the country’s biggest law firm, Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh A. Shroff, was dissolved. The dissolution marked the end of the family feud between brothers Shardul Shroff and Cyril Shroff following the death of their mother, Bharati Shroff. The country’s largest law firm was now replaced with two, new firms – Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Naturally, this was followed by significant churn in the law firm market; not only were there a number of aggressive hires but a complete restructuring of firm management as well. […]

The ninth day of May last year saw the end of an era; the country’s biggest law firm, Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh A. Shroff, was dissolved. The dissolution marked the end of the family feud between brothers Shardul Shroff and Cyril Shroff, following the demise of their mother, Bharati Shroff. What was once the country’s largest law firm has now been replaced with two new firms – Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Naturally, this was followed by a significant churn in the law firm market; not only were there a number of aggressive hires, but also a complete restructuring of […]

Rajiv Gupta, Partner at Latham & Watkins, was part of the team of lawyers advising India’s state-owned oil companies on the 29.9% acquisition in Roseneft’s Taas-Yuriakh oilfield in East Siberia. In this interview with Bar & Bench, Gupta shares his predictions on the India market, sponsored ADR programs and the liberalisation of the Indian legal market. Anuj Agrawal: In 2008, you wrote about the peculiarities of the Indian capital market, citing elaborate diligence procedures in the real estate sector. Do you think the problem of titles has decreased since then?  Rajiv Gupta: Real estate title continues to be an issue in India, exacerbated by the […]

Last year Narayan Iyer was appointed as the head of Linklater’s India Practice. Iyer succeeded Sandeep Katwala, who founded the firm’s India practice about 10 years ago.  Iyer is based in London and focuses on acquisition and structured financings and Indian inbound and outbound transactions. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Pallavi Saluja, Iyer talks about the plans for the firm’s India practice, liberalization of legal market, the Indian legal market and much more. Bar & Bench: Sandeep Katwala was around for a long time – how has the transition been? Any big picture change in vision/approach?  Narayan Iyer: […]

Pujarini Guha Maulik is Practice Counsel and Head of Contracts and Disputes at mobile advertising startup, InMobi. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Aditya AK, the Symbiosis Law School graduate talks about the role of an in-house counsel in the startup environment, issues in IP law, potentially disruptive technologies, and more. Aditya AK: Having worked with MNCs like Infosys in the past, what prompted the shift to a startup environment? Pujarini Guha Maulik: To be honest, too much of an organized setup got to me after a point of time because, it stifles dynamism. Your offerings and services stay […]

One of the youngest lawyers in the latest India report by Chambers & Partners is Anirudh Krishnan. Founder of AK Law Chambers, Krishnan was featured in the “Up and Coming” section under “Dispute Resolution – Arbitration”. In this e-mail interview with Bar & Bench’s Anuj Agrawal, he shares his thoughts on the changing face of commercial dispute resolution, future plans, and more.  Bar & Bench: Initial reaction on hearing the news. Anirudh Krishnan: A feeling of satisfaction of having achieved something. Considering the credibility which Chambers and Partners has worldwide, being recommended by them means a lot to me. Having worked at […]

Geoffrey P Burgess, corporate Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton’s London office, is part of the firm’s India practice. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Anuj Agrawal, he talks about the changing M&A landscape, the Soviet Union, Indian law firms, and much more. Anuj Agrawal: How has cross-border M&A shaped up post the fall of Lehman Brothers?  Geoffrey P Burgess: One of the biggest shifts since Lehman has been in mentality. Prior to Lehman, you could sense a creeping assumption that growth was here to stay; now, the truth of cyclicality is very much accepted. A lot else has happened since the […]

Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, a former Attorney General of the UK, is the Vice Chairperson of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. In a career spanning over four decades, Lord Peter Goldsmith has managed to found the Bar of England and Wales’ Pro Bono Unit, become one of the leading barristers for commercial international arbitration, and is currently the London Co-Managing Partner and European and Asian Chair of Litigation at Debevoise & Plimpton. In this e-mail interview, Lord Peter Goldsmith shares his views on regional arbitration, the Law Commission of India’s recent recommendations on arbitration law, and more.  (Edited excerpts) Anuj Agrawal: According to […]

Trilegal Partner, Rahul Matthan recently featured in Mint Asia’s ‘Twenty five people who matter in Indian E-Commerce’. Bar & Bench‘s Aditya AK spoke with the head of the firm’s TMT practice about the impact that the e-commerce boom has had on law firms, the changes required in laws governing e-commerce transactions, and more. Aditya AK: You have recently been named in Mint Asia’s ‘Twenty five people who matter in Indian e-commerce’ list. Your reaction? Rahul Matthan: Its an honour to be included – the other people on the list have some pretty impressive credentials. Lawyers tend to get ranked on lawyer […]

Sunayna Bhatia has recently been appointed General Counsel of Religare Global Asset Management. She was previously Associate Vice President (Legal) at the company. Sunayna Bhatia did her B.Sc. from Hansraj College, Delhi University, before pursuing law at Campus Law Centre. She also holds an LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Aditya AK spoke to her on the move, the evolving role of a General Counsel and more. Aditya AK: How much work is outsourced to law firms, and how do you choose them? Sunayna Bhatia:  Law firms are selected based on deal […]

Avinash Sah is a Senior Consultant at Vahura, advising clients with market information in regard to hiring trends and industry information. He has also helped clients in strategic hires at the mid and senior level across various industries. In this interview with Bar & Bench‘s Anuj Agrawal, Avinash discusses the pros and cons of an in-house job, the salaries and perks that come with an in-house position, and more. Anuj Agrawal: Do you see any macro changes in in-house recruitments? Avinash Sah: When we started the legal recruitment business in 2007, in-house hiring constituted less than 10% of our annual work. Today […]

Seated in the conference room of the Samvad Partners office, I’m wondering what to expect. After all, it’s not often that you meet someone who has started a law firm, climbed a 20,000 foot Himalayan peak and has an active interest in local politics. When Harish Narasappa arrives, I find that he is an extremely easy person to talk to, and he recounts his journey sans any airs. The decision to take up law came at a point when he began to grow conscious of the society around him. The protests against the Mandal Commission’s recommendations influenced his choice of […]

Shuva Mandal has made it to Economic Times India’s 40 hottest Under 40 Business Leaders, the only lawyer on the list. He is pleased to receive the award but also clarifies, “I am not an awards person. I have never attended an awards ceremony even once.” For him as a professional what matters the most is “the client recognition and client experience”. A law graduate from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, he joined the profession in 2000, after an internship in the Chambers of Zia Mody in 1999. In 2009, aged just 32, Shuva Mandal was made an equity […]

In the second part of the exclusive interview with Bar & Bench, Shardul Shroff talks about how Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co is different from the erstwhile Amarchand Mangaldas. Shroff also shares specific details on the governance structure of the new firm. We also get Pallavi Shroff, the firm’s Managing Partner to talk about how the new firm is going to work. Part II – Structure of the firm and growth strategy Bar & Bench: How is the new firm similar to or different from Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh A Shroff? Shardul Shroff: We have carefully evolved our business mission statement, […]

In this exclusive interview with Bar & Bench, Shardul Shroff shares his thoughts on the division of Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh A Shroff, and the structure of the country’s newest law firm – Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Shroff, who is the Executive Chairman of the firm, also outlines his growth strategy in new jurisdictions, and some of the challenges in the forseeable future. Bar & Bench: Did you ever think this day would come? Shardul Shroff: I didn’t ever think it would, frankly. But you sometimes have differences of opinion over causes that are not related to you. It happens […]

Vinati Kastia was recently named in India Inc’s Rising Women Leaders 2015, the only lawyer to make it to the list. Despite always wanting to be a lawyer, Vinati Kastia says that she hadn’t really planned a future in corporate law. As a law student and even after graduating, her ambition was to become a litigating lawyer. Fate, however, deemed otherwise.  “I always wanted to be a lawyer. There was never a doubt.” Barely ten years old, Vinati Kastia once wrote an essay in school declaring her ambition to become a lawyer.  “It was quite strange since I don’t come […]

Started in 2000 by Suneeth Katarki, Srinivas Katta, Gomatam Sridhar and Srinivasa Raghavan, IndusLaw has grown to become a 75 lawyer, 11 partner firm with offices across four cities. Bar & Bench speaks with IndusLaw Partners Suneeth Katarki and Srinivas Katta on their decision to set up IndusLaw, their successes and failures, and their vision for the firm. The dream to build a professional firm Suneeth: “Even while we were studying in law school, we were quite keen on setting up something on our own. This was in 1996 when there were hardly any firms that were truly professional. We […]

In this interview with Bar & Bench, Chris Parsons talks about doing business in India, his opinion on Indian law universities, the liberalisation of the Indian legal market and his plan to walk 30 marathons in 30 days to raise money for the Loomba Foundation. At first glance, Chris Parsons more resembles a professional sportsman than a corporate lawyer. The man is as disarmingly polite as he is fit. As he leads the circuitous path to the outdoor lounge at the West End in Bangalore, he asks the questions. For a moment, he is the interviewer and I am the […]

In this interview with Bar & Bench, V Lakshmikumaran, Founder and Managing Partner of Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan talks about his decision to practice law, the L&S journey, the liberalisation of the legal market, tribunalisation, and dealing with litigation at the grassroots level. Bar & Bench: Why did you take up law? V Lakshmikumaran: I spent three years with the Indian Revenue Services at Madras. Then I came to the Ministry of Finance and spent five years there. Various legislations were drafted by us, some of which were challenged in courts of law. Though it was not my portfolio, I took […]

Based in a city where the property market shows little signs of letting up, Anup Shah is a distinctly passionate man. The go-to person for any real estate related matter, Shah is both comfortable and ambitious while discussing his plans for the future. Over the last two decades, he has built a practice on hard core real estate transactions and his firm, Anup S Shah Law Firm currently has more than fifty lawyers. The office itself is built to impress; the entire ground floor houses a library in the shape of a giant question mark. Business is, quite evidently, good. […]

Starting his career before the Kerala High Court, Rajeev Nair subsequently worked in a number of in-house legal departments before shifting to Hewlett-Packard in early 2012. In this e-mail interview with Bar & Bench, the Country Counsel (India) shares his thoughts on what makes a good in-house counsel, the opportunities of growth an in-house counsel enjoys, and his experience with corporate law firms. Bar & Bench: What is the size of your legal team? Rajeeev Nair: The Hewlett-Packard (HP) India Legal team comprises of 15 lawyers two of whom are also qualified Company Secretaries, and an Executive Assistant. B&B: While […]