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Four FoxMandal partners go it alone to create new 'top-10 Delhi firm'


Two more FoxMandal Little Delhi partners have resigned and started a new full-service law firm with two other FoxMandal partners who left the firm earlier this year.

FoxMandal Delhi infrastructure partner and head Ravi Bishnoi (pictured 2. right) and corporate partner Rajan Gupta (pictured left) have resigned.

They will start up SRGR Law Offices together with real estate partner Saroj Jha, who resigned from FoxMandal in September, and litigation partner Gaurav Bhatia (pictured right) who left FoxMandal in March to be an independent advocate.

Bishnoi said that by the end of next year SRGR planned to be among the top 10 non-national Delhi-based law firms by revenue, which he said was realistic to achieve with the present partnership size.

Gupta said: "We have started just a week back and we are getting very good responses from clients. Lots of clients have approached us so the work has started - in the next month or two we will be executing transactions."

SRGR has hired six associates and taken office space of around 1,400 square feet around Delhi's Bengali Market area last week.

Jha (pictured 2. left) said: "In six months I hope we'll be at least another six lawyers."

The partners intend for SRGR to become a full-service practice, in addition to covering each of their practice areas of corporate, real estate, infrastructure and litigation.

Gupta explained: "There are quite a few legal fields – for example IP and IT –which presently we don’t have the capability in but otherwise I think we are on path to become a full-service law firm."

Bishnoi added: "If necessary we might take in partners in the middle of next year depending on whether there are any areas which we need to cover…

"Frankly speaking, we would look at Bombay only in 2011."

Bhatia said that the diverse experience of each of the partners was the main strength and value of the new firm. "Our aim will be to strive for excellence and together we form a great synergy."

Jha had resigned in September from FoxMandal and was considering his options at the time, including a move in-house. "All of us had the opportunity to join elsewhere but we all thought, let's start our own firm," he explained.

Jha had joined FoxMandal four years ago from Delhi-based firm Corporate Law Group.

Gupta had been a corporate partner at FoxMandal for three years, prior to which he was a Khaitan & Co partner for two years and an indirect tax consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers for five years.

Bishnoi headed up FoxMandal Delhi's infrastructure practice.

Bhatia had joined FoxMandal in late 2008 after the firm took over his Delhi litigation practice Bhatia & Co. He left in March 2009 to become an independent advocate.

Each of the four partners will take an equal equity share in the new firm SRGR, which is an acronym composed of each partners' first name.

Jha said: "We are all equal partners in equity otherwise there are problems… We have a Trilegal model - that's how we are planning to go."

Trilegal operates a pure lockstep model, with the founding partners at the top of the lockstep ladder.

FoxMandal's Delhi office has suffered a string of partner and associate defections after the firm did not pay associate and partner salaries for several months because of cash-flow difficulties.

It is understood that FoxMandal Delhi still owes back-payments to lawyers and the cash-flow situation is not yet resolved.

Managing partner Som Mandal was not available for comment.

Pictured, left to right: Rajan Gupta, Saroj Jha, Ravi Bishnoi and Gaurav Bhatia.

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