Exclusive: Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi equity partner and litigation head Ciccu Mukhopadhaya has resigned to start independent court practice after having been designated as senior counsel.
Mukhopadhaya was appointed a senior alongside seven others by the Orissa High Court on 23 December and is understood to be leaving Amarchand in the coming weeks.
Mukhopadhaya said that initially he would focus on high court and arbitration work, as well as whatever came his way, although ultimately his aim would be to argue regularly in the Supreme Court.
“It's quite a different practice from within the firm and one would have to take as it comes,” he said, adding that he would take on a maximum of one or two juniors. “It is a quite a change in the nature of practice, if you really want to practice as a senior and not have your own chamber with juniors doing drafting, which I don’t want to have.”
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He specialises in arbitration, commercial law and mining disputes which is why he regularly argued in Orissa, he explained. He said that roughly 75 per cent of his time at Amarchand was spent on arbitration and court-based work.
Mukhopadhaya said that he hoped a broad base of law firms would instruct him, although he would also continue to work closely with Amarchand.
Mukhopadhaya graduated in 1984, completed a master’s in the US in 1986 and began his practice with the late senior counsel and parliamentarian Laxmi Mall Singhvi for three years.
He then started his own firm with several other partners and in 1990 began his own practice Mukhopadhaya & Co, which merged with Amarchand in 2002. He is understood to have been an Amarchand equity partner even before the firm introduced its modified lockstep equity system in 2009.
Amarchand Delhi partner Ritu Bhalla, who was promoted into Amarchand’s lockstep side-equity pool in October 2011 after around 20 years with the firm, had already taken over in heading up Delhi’s litigation practice, commented Amarchand Delhi managing partner Shardul Shroff via email.
The firm was “entirely supportive” of Mukhopadhaya, who is a “gem of a lawyer”, he said. “It is a matter of pride for our firm that Ciccu has been designated as a senior counsel of the court and would practice as a senior counsel.”
“Ciccu's appointment as a senior counsel is perhaps one of the first where a law firm partner has been designated as a senior counsel and we are very proud of this fact,” added Shroff, noting that while there “will always be a very special relationship with Amarchand and we will support Ciccu as one of our principal counsels on behalf of our clients”, he would practice in the “pure senior mode where he will have a broad-based briefing from several lawyers and not only from our firm”.
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