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JSA partner sets up own shop again, inspired

Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Jyoti Sagar Associates (JSA) partner Nishit Dhruva and two of his team have left after 18 months with the firm, restarting his former litigation and conveyancing practice with plans to turn full-service.

Dhruva will start his new firm M Dhruva & Partners this week with two former JSA associates, five lateral hire associates and seven to eight support staff.

He said: "Basically I was always on my own for 20 years before I moved in with JSA."

"Integration of the litigation practice, arbitration and conveyancing was becoming a little difficult - it's the JSA brand and JSA fees and all that," explained Dhruva. "I thought it'd be better if I'm on my own and I can take care of my clients who were not integrating or not ready to integrate with the JSA brand."

Dhruva said that before joining JSA he was doing a lot of work for the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), ONGC and a number of banks, which had caused conflict issues with existing JSA clients. By going independent, that work would return to him, he said.

JSA founding and managing partner Jyoti Sagar explained: "We mutually came to the conclusion that his conveyancing and litigation practice was not fitting in the overall strategic plans and direction of the firm. Nishit is thus reverting to his original litigation and conveyancing practice…"

JSA focuses primarily on transactional work although the firm does handle some big-ticket disputes for clients such as PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Nishit has been a warm and wonderful partner of ours," added Sagar. "Our best wishes will always be with Nishit and we wish him God speed in his practice. Needless to add that JSA will continue to interact with Nishit in his areas of practice and we do hope to send work each other's way."

"It's a very amicable parting with no hard feelings anywhere," confirmed Dhruva, "and in fact I'll work very closely with JSA in terms of handling their litigation work."

Dhruva is joined by Khaitan & Co real estate associate Manthan Unadkat and Dhir & Dhir Associates litigation associate Avinash Gautam and six of his team members from JSA.

Dhruva has taken on a 1,300 square feet office in the Fort area's Prospect Chambers near Bombay High Court but said: "In next 15 months we might definitely need a bigger office."

He noted that his time at JSA had also given him the appetite to start a fuller-service practice and he would also start targeting some commercial and corporate mandates. "It's going to be a small boutique-all-in-one firm."

Correction 1 February 2010: We had originally reported that M Dhruva & Co would be starting with six former JSA associates. The actual figure is two from JSA - associates Prakash Shinde and Dhwani Mehta - and five lateral hires, of whom three are in the final stages of being confirmed. We regret the original error.

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