FM House Noida: Little wants no partFM House Noida: Little wants no partDelhi and Kolkata-headquartered FoxMandal and Bombay solicitors firm Little & Co attempts to rescue their 2006 merger have failed, ending up in the High Courts.

The Financial Express reported that FoxMandal managing partner Som Mandal filed a criminal petition against the management of Little & Co for having cancelled the memorandum of understanding that was the basis of the firms’ merger in 2006.

Under the proposed merger MOU that would create FoxMandal Little, a number of FoxMandal Delhi partners were to own 45 per cent of Little & Co’s equity, which could increase to 50 per cent in 2009, reported the Express.

According to the paper, FoxMandal Delhi paid Rs 6 crore to Little & Co in seven instalments between May 2006 and April 2008.

The break-up between the firms has been in the offing for years now.

In December 2009, after Legally India reported that FoxMandal Delhi was not able to pay its lawyers’ and partners’ salaries due to a cash crunch, Little & Co had purported to cancel the MOU between the firms.

The 15 December 2009 letter of more than 7,000 words from Little & Co partners to FoxMandal, which Legally India has seen, made allegations against Som Mandal and six other FoxMandal partners and included the following complaints:

  • “your total failure to make any disclosure - full or partial -  in respect of the extent or the prospects of the repayment of the separate indebtedness of Fox Mandal & Co., Delhi and each of you as well”;
  • “your continuing highly prejudicial and illegal efforts, despite our objections, to publicise Fox Mandal Little as one law firm”;
  • “your widespread - publicity of SM [Som Mandal] as the Managing Partner of FoxMandal Little as if were a separate law firm which it clearly isn’t”;
  • “your demand for payments out of Little’s profits and to deal with the disclosures made in the copy of the audited accounts of FM for the year ended March 31, 2008”;
  • “the termination of the MOU dated May 19, 2006”.

That letter followed an increasing strain on the relationship between the firms, including Som Mandal allegedly ignoring requests by Little & Co partners to meet to explain why salary payments of Delhi fee-earners were late.

“We have sufficiently made it clear in our earlier mails that the public knowledge of the deteriorating financial position of FM-Delhi is gravely affecting the interest, goodwill and reputation of Little and is highly prejudicial to its interest,” said Little’s letter. “We have also clarified why FoxMandal Little should not be projected as a separate law firm with Little & Co., a part of it and why SM should stop projecting himself as the Managing Partner of FML.”

In early 2011 FoxMandal and Little & Co entered into formal arbitration in Mumbai under the MOU. Little’s lawyers are understood to have been Mumbai firm Federal & Rashmikant, while FoxMandal was represented by DH Law.

Little & Co partner Ajay Khatlawala told Legally India last week: “I won’t like to comment on that issue. The matters are pending before the appropriate forum.”

Som Mandal did not respond to phone calls today.

In May 2011 one of FoxMandal’s former partners, who left in the wake of the 2009 cash crunch, sued FoxMandal for recovery of allegedly unpaid dues.

Little & Co is one of India’s oldest law firms, established in 1846 in Mumbai as main legal adviser to the East India Company, while FoxMandal was founded in Kolkata in 1896.

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1
 
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 q? 2011-12-14 12:12
"Exclusive details"? Sad that LI is resorting to such a spin - BarandBench broke this first. You can just report it without trying to seek the "exclusive" tag - right?
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1.1
 
Recommend! +9 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-14 12:18  interesting
Dear q? - please read our story properly and you will find it contains significant details beyond just copy-pasting the original Financial Express report, who were actually the ones to break the story. The FE report also did not report why the firms have been wanting to break up for so long, which we have added.

We generally only look to report exclusive information: if readers can read the same thing somewhere else, then we might as well just point them in that direction rather than simply reproducing or copy-pasting an article.

On another note, we have been following this story for literally years, and had scheduled to do a major feature on it in a week. Unfortunately the Financial Express pipped us to it since it has now ended in the courts.

So it goes in journalism...

Best wishes
Kian
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1.1.1
 
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 q? 2011-12-14 13:44
Fair explanation!

Quoting kianganz:
Dear q? - please read our story properly and you will find it contains significant details beyond just copy-pasting the original Financial Express report, who were actually the ones to break the story. The FE report also did not report why the firms have been wanting to break up for so long, which we have added.

We generally only look to report exclusive information: if readers can read the same thing somewhere else, then we might as well just point them in that direction rather than simply reproducing or copy-pasting an article.

On another note, we have been following this story for literally years, and had scheduled to do a major feature on it in a week. Unfortunately the Financial Express pipped us to it since it has now ended in the courts.

So it goes in journalism...

Best wishes
Kian
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2
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 NOOJIE 2011-12-14 12:58
On an unrelated note, Kian, am quite a fan of your site…its the only Indian legal news portal which provides news to/about lawyers (with a very unpretentious bias towards law firm/law school news) in a digestible and stimulating form……its fun to read and informative at the same time.
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2.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-14 13:01
Thank you for your feedback, glad you like!
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2.2
 
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 Another Fan 2011-12-14 14:18
I too really appreciate your efforts, Kian. I find your content reliable, informative, independent minded and entertaining. A complete package.
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 Foxed 2011-12-14 13:26
Fox-Little was doomed from the start. There was no fit or transparency and they were actively competing because of the strange ownership. But Fox benefited from the Little brandname for a while, which is why Fox does not want to let go of it, having created the illusion of a large national firm with it.
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4
 
Recommend! +7 Objection! -0 Delhi lawyer 2011-12-14 14:17  interesting
Fox Mandal only recruits through reference and sees no talent. They even [...] ask the potential candidates if they have any reference. The Calcutta office too is [...] and have a bunch of orthodox partners and few [...] associates.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 ex FML 2011-12-15 11:43
disagree, I was hired by FML, without references. :)
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4.1.1
 
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 Delhi lawyer 2011-12-16 13:15
My reference was relating to freshers and not experienced. If you were recruited as a fresher without any reference then you are lying.
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4.1.1.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 ex FML 2012-01-02 16:57
apologies for the tardiness

I had an LLM. Does that count as experience? :)
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 kapil 2011-12-14 15:21
Kian why did u print comment #4 if you censor it that heavily?
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 gnob 2011-12-14 17:14
How many hits would little foxy take before they can call it a day?
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 hijra 2011-12-14 22:58
@4: Not just Fox but many other firms recruit only through references, and I man ONLY though references.
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 ex FML 2011-12-15 11:44
again, disagree. once I left FML, I was hired by another firm without references (through LI's job search btw). :)
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7.1.1
 
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-15 12:01
Fantastic ex FML, congratulations - glad the jobs portal is fulfulling its intended job of removing references from the equation!

Best wishes for your future career,
Kian
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 AN 2011-12-15 02:20
Go after his London houses!
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 In House Counsel 2011-12-15 09:52
If respected law firms cannot manage their affairs amicably based on documents mutually prepared and agreed documents then how can a client expect his affairs to be managed safely!
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 man 2011-12-15 10:06
These people don't know how to run a law firm professionally. We urgently need foreign law firms in India. There is a great article by sagarika ghose on how people with selfish interests are using the bogey of East India company to oppose FDI in retail. The same applies to SILF and BCI with respect to foreign firms.

ibnlive.in.com/blogs/sagarikaghose/223/62992/the-bad-old-days.html
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 Delhi lawyer 2011-12-15 12:08
Kian - which is the current headquarter of FML right now ? As far as I know Kolkata office was previously the head office and Little & Co. did not merge with this particular office. They still have grandfather partners and one young partner (all being from Mandal clan) over there. In Kolkata, its still FM and not FML.
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-15 12:43
Yes, that is correct as far as I know - Cal and Delhi are separate partnerships, as is South India.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Enlighten Me ! 2011-12-16 08:15
Dear Kian,

This is not the first time you are using unnecessarily exclusive tag. Earlier you used it for law day story and then later removed it. Can you please enlighten me as to what was exclusive in this story. Can't find much substantial difference between the financial express report and yours !!!
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-16 10:49
News stories are supposed to answer what, where, who, when, why, and how. Neither the FE nor anyone else addressed the 'why', which is arguably quite important. We did.

Law Day story exclusive has already been explained and accepted as borderline- see the comments: www.legallyindia.com/201111282422/Bar-Bench-Litigation/lawyers-a-systems-cause-71-of-supreme-court-delays-biggest-culprits-in-miscellaneous-matters#comment-25733

Hope that makes explains things.

Kian
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12.1.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 A Lawyer 2011-12-16 12:13
Kian is right. The FE story only reported about the dispute but the LI story elaborated "why" and that is why it is exclusive and rightly so.
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12.1.1.1
 
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-16 13:23
Thanks for agreeing.

I concede that sometimes it might seem unnecessary to put an 'exclusive' tag on stories, but the aim is to clearly differentiate for readers news aggregation and general press releases from original reporting and content that is not published elsewhere.

That way if you come to LI and see a story that has been published elsewhere without an 'exclusive' tag, you might not need to re-read it.

However, we'd still hope that our take on the story is the most accurate, most well-reported and well-written in any case.
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13
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 GC 2011-12-16 13:26
Kian any particular reason for not covering / reporting the current criminal case filed by FM against SRGR and its partners and the subsequent raid on SRGR office....
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13.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-16 13:34
Various reasons but primarily just been too busy last few days on travels and interviewing for more staff reporters. Anyway, we'll make sure to have the definitive story in due course...
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Pok 2011-12-16 18:27
Not only that but LI is also not covering the Chidambaram controversy. This site is avoiding controversial topics and becoming biased. Very unfortunate
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13.2.1
 
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 kianganz 2011-12-16 23:31
Thanks for your comment but how is the Chidambaram controversy 'controversial' if every single media outlet has apparently covered this story already?

I would argue that LI re-reporting or syndicating what is already in the public domain would hardly count as courageous or necessary legal journalism.

I would also kindly ask that you do not interpret our not having covered something that is already heavily covered by TV and MSM, as a deliberate blackout or evidence of bias either.

Best wishes,
Kian
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 NC 2011-12-16 23:24
Very interesting! Lawyers hiring other lawyers to fight for them !
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14.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Anon 2011-12-17 10:55
Thats what law/solicitors firms do. Isn't it?
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15
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 watever 2011-12-21 11:59
Recommend this comment if all Partners/ex-Partners, Senior Associates/ex-Senior Associates, Associates/ex-Associates want to take legal action against The Mr. Mandal for their pending dues.
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16
 
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Recommend! +3 Objection! -0 will work 2011-12-22 11:46
Kian Hire Me!!!
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17
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Rocky 2012-02-23 16:37
r. Nahush P Shah one of the Little & Co. Partners has a criminal complaint for committing a fraud of Rs. 17.05 crore. He took the payment from the buyer for purchase of property and got an agreement signed between the buyer and seller. The agreement of sale was kept in escrow. After the full payment was made, he started harassing, threatening and pressurizing the buyer by telling him that the buyer will only get agreement for sale if he gives percentage of the property to his friends i.e. Suresh C Sharma and Sushil Jain. Nahush P Shah was not even ready to give Statement of Accounts or any other documents related to property to the buyer. Nahush P Shah bail was initially rejected in High Court also. One can see the order at High Courts website. Economic Offence Wing has also frozen all the accounts of Little & Co. After 14 days in police custody, he was sent for judicial custody. He finally got bail in the Magistrate Court. He also has been removed from Little & Co. on Feb 21st. (Read Times of India dated 23rd Feb page 22 Public notice).
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