Exclusive: Barely one-year-old start-up Verus Advocates has expanded its partnership with Bharucha & Partners corporate senior associates Dipankar Bandyopadhyay and Jay Parikh joining in Mumbai, while litigators Rishad Chowdhury and Sourav Bhagat will join in Delhi and Kolkata respectively.
Verus, which was started up in February 2011 by Bharucha senior associate Krishnayan Sen in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai simultaneously, will grow to five equity partners with the new joiners.
All five equity partners are NUJS Kolkata graduates, with Dipankar Bandyopadhyay and Sourav Bhagat starting their careers in 2005 in the Kolkata High Court, while Rishad Chowdhury, Jay Parikh and Sen graduated in 2006.
The firm currently has around 10 non-partner fee-earners – five in Delhi including two counsel, four in Mumbai, and three in Kolkata - as well as an office headed by Nalsar Hyderabad 2005 graduate and litigator Mayur Reddy in Hyderabad.
Sen said: “It’s been a very steady growth the last 15 months. The biggest challenge was that all four offices grow steadily and that’s something that has happened.”
Around 75 per cent of the firm’s revenue currently came from litigation, he added, which would balance out into transactional with the two lawyers joining from Bharucha. The new joiners would usher in “the next level of growth”.
“I think it’s possibly going to be a distinguishing factor, having a very strong balance of both corporate and litigators.”
Bandyopadhyay and Parikh started at Amarchand Mangaldas’ Mumbai office in 2006 and joined Bharucha & Partners when it broke away from Amarchand in 2008.
“It was the entrepreneurial bug that bit me,” said Parikh about going to Verus. “This was always something on the backburner in a sense, because I had always thought of doing something on my own and it came up as a brilliant opportunity.”
He added that it would be challenging and that the responsibilities as a rainmaking partner would be different at a start-up firm to having been an associate at an established firm, although at Bharucha they had been involved in marketing and business development activities.
Bandyopadhyay added: “When we started out at Bharucha I had the flexibility of going out for clients and making new clients for the firm. The same role will continue but at a much more aggressive pace at Verus.” He said that he also wanted to be involved in training associates.
“They caught the entrepreneurial bug,” commented Bharucha co-founding partner Alka Bharucha, adding: “We certainly wish them well.”
Chowdhury who is qualified to practice in India and New York after an LLM at Chicago Law School, will head litigation with Sen in Delhi, having previously worked in the chambers of senior advocate Raju Ramachandran.
Bhagat joined the firm in February 2012 after a stint with Fox Mandal in Kolkata and senior advocate Joymalya Bagchi until he was elevated to become judge at the Kolkata High Court in June 2011. Bhagat’s mandate would include finding work in eastern India, particularly in Bhubhaneshwar and Guwahati.
The firm will convert from sole proprietorship to a partnership firm from tomorrow and will be managed “collectively” by all the partners without a managing partner, said Sen. “The best part is that all the partners know each other for quite some time.”
Two more associate would join in Delhi shortly, and in both Delhi and Mumbai the firm was now looking for new office space, he noted.