Senior counsel CiccuSenior counsel CiccuExclusive: 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.”

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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1
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 Recently turned litigator 2012-01-04 19:11
Congratulations! Excellent move from Ciccu. But did he really argue matters or briefed senior counsels? Counsel practice would really bring out the best in Ciccu, which the profession would have been deprived of if he continued in a law firm. Hope he gets due recognition as a counsel in the Apex Court as per his desires. All the best.
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2
 
Recommend! +5 Objection! -0 Orissa? 2012-01-04 20:41  interesting
Orissa? Ciccu is obviously a fantastic lawyer, but I really wonder whether he was before the Orissa High Court enough to justify a Senior Gown from the said High Court.

On a separate note, many lawyers who primarily practice in Delhi, have often gotten their silk from other High Courts - Sikkim and Allahabad being favoured destinations.

Again, Ciccu is a great lawyer, but the gown from Orissa is a bit strange. But then again, he is certainly not the first Delhi based lawyer to get his senior designation from another High Court.

All the very best to him in this new stint!
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2.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 A Lawyer 2012-01-04 22:42
Isn't it necessary for a lawyer to have appeared frequently before a particular High Court to be eligible for designation as a senior?
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Former Colleague 2012-01-04 21:30
Congratulations Sir and best wishes. It was always a pleasure working with you and learning from you.

Hope you will be able to take out more time for yourself now..
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4
 
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 OMG 2012-01-04 21:38
[...] so many better candidates. that too, he got designated from Orissa! [...]
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5
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 CM 2012-01-04 22:04
Where did he do his masters from?
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6
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 Check Accuracy 2012-01-05 12:13
Just to bring to the notice of Editor, and in response to statement by Mr. Shroff regarding a first partner being designated as Senior Counsel - You may want to check - Mr. M P Vashi (senior/managing partner) from M/s. MM Vashi has also been designated Senior Counsel of the Bombay High Court about a year or so back.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Anon 2012-01-05 12:41
Quoting Check Accuracy:
Just to bring to the notice of Editor, and in response to statement by Mr. Shroff regarding a first partner being designated as Senior Counsel - You may want to check - Mr. M P Vashi (senior/managing partner) from M/s. MM Vashi has also been designated Senior Counsel of the Bombay High Court about a year or so back.


The quote was "one of the first" so it should be correct. Also, the eminent Senior Counsel KG Raghawan was partner at Dua Associates until he was designated senior counsel a few years back.
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6.1.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Orissa? 2012-01-05 13:16
So is P.H. Parekh and quite a few from Chennai law firms. Quoting Anon:
Quoting Check Accuracy:
Just to bring to the notice of Editor, and in response to statement by Mr. Shroff regarding a first partner being designated as Senior Counsel - You may want to check - Mr. M P Vashi (senior/managing partner) from M/s. MM Vashi has also been designated Senior Counsel of the Bombay High Court about a year or so back.


The quote was "one of the first" so it should be correct. Also, the eminent Senior Counsel KG Raghawan was partner at Dua Associates until he was designated senior counsel a few years back.
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6.1.1.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Check Accuracy 2012-01-05 16:15
Quoting Orissa?:
So is P.H. Parekh and quite a few from Chennai law firms. Quoting Anon:
Quoting Check Accuracy:
Just to bring to the notice of Editor, and in response to statement by Mr. Shroff regarding a first partner being designated as Senior Counsel - You may want to check - Mr. M P Vashi (senior/managing partner) from M/s. MM Vashi has also been designated Senior Counsel of the Bombay High Court about a year or so back.


The quote was "one of the first" so it should be correct. Also, the eminent Senior Counsel KG Raghawan was partner at Dua Associates until he was designated senior counsel a few years back.


Based on the comments to this article: Anon - you agree at the inaccuracy? Its probably the first at AMSS...good for them...lol!
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Recommend! +3 Objection! -0 In House Counsel 2012-01-05 14:13
Long suspected and awaited move. Just surprised it took so long to materialise.
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 one more 2012-01-05 15:26
Lakshmi Kumaran and Sridharan managing partner V. Sridharan was designated Senior counsel by Bombay High Court in September last year
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9
 
Recommend! +8 Objection! -0 HK lawyer 2012-01-05 16:08  interesting
Sanjeev puri at azb was appointed by Uttaranchal high court. Welcome to the world of scam senior counsels.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Holy cow-u 2012-01-07 15:21
Quoting HK lawyer:
Sanjeev puri at azb was appointed by Uttaranchal high court. Welcome to the world of scam senior counsels.

Can't comment on Mr. Sanjeev Puri or Mr. Ciccu Mukhopadhaya. But Mr. V. Sridharan is indeed not a scam senior counsel. And anyone in the legal fraternity who knows him will vouch for this fact.
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9.1.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 In House Counsel 2012-01-09 11:01
Quoting Holy cow-u:
Quoting HK lawyer:
Sanjeev puri at azb was appointed by Uttaranchal high court. Welcome to the world of scam senior counsels.

Can't comment on Mr. Sanjeev Puri or Mr. Ciccu Mukhopadhaya. But Mr. V. Sridharan is indeed not a scam senior counsel. And anyone in the legal fraternity who knows him will vouch for this fact.


@HK Lawyer - Ciccu is a vice president of the ICC ICA, so I think his litigation and arbitration skills aren't really questionable. Would you be this cynical if Martin Rogers or Tom Lidstrom were to be made a senior counsel?
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10
 
Recommend! +8 Objection! -0 Manupatra 2012-01-05 19:33  interesting
In fact, Manupatra gives a search hit of only 10 reported judgments for "Ciccu" in High Courts - none of which involve the Orissa High Court. Slightly better if one includes the Supreme Court - 14 reported judgments. And in most of those matters, other Seniors have argued. The criteria for selecting Senior Advocates includes seeing the reported judgments they have argued in. This is very unfortunate. However, it would be unfair to single out Ciccu Mukhopadhaya alone - many many other Seniors have [...].
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Aspirant 2012-01-05 21:00
@Manupatra: Interesting research. Does this system work in Orissa or in other High Courts also apart from Sikkim, Allahabad mentioned in the comments?
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10.2
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 anon 2012-01-06 16:17
Quoting Manupatra:
In fact, Manupatra gives a search hit of only 10 reported judgments for "Ciccu" in High Courts - none of which involve the Orissa High Court. Slightly better if one includes the Supreme Court - 14 reported judgments. And in most of those matters, other Seniors have argued. The criteria for selecting Senior Advocates includes seeing the reported judgments they have argued in. This is very unfortunate. However, it would be unfair to single out Ciccu Mukhopadhaya alone - many many other Seniors have [...].


great observation. time to expose this [...]. arnab goswami, are you listening?
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11
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 ANON 2012-01-05 19:45
John Doe was appointed senior counsel of Heard and Mac Donald Islands High Court in 2008.
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12
 
Recommend! +4 Objection! -0 Anish 2012-01-06 00:36
Congratulations Mr. Mukhopadhaya, wish you great luck!
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Recommend! +3 Objection! -0 Colleague 2012-01-06 01:20
Mr. Mukhopadhaya is undoubtedly one of the best Counsels in India for both domestic and international arbitrations. He has has appeared in several ICC, LCIA and other institutional arbitrations and has recently been appointed as one of the Vice Presidents of the ICC.

Congratulations Ciccu.

All the very best.
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14
 
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Recommend! +3 Objection! -0 ra 1 2012-01-06 16:16
Graduated in 1984? That's how long it takes to become a Senior Advocate? No wonder people do not join the bar. Also, there must be an RTI about the Senior Advocate system. Many undeserving people have got it in the past.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Very Senior 2012-01-09 18:06
Look at me...I graduated in 1974 and they have still not given me any designation!
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14.1.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 LS 2012-01-10 00:11
If your daddy was a Senior, you'd have been a Senior in just a few years.

We are, after all, the land of the castes.

(You know, maybe we should agitate for a quota.)
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