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3 years of Khaitan: 70% growth, 18 lateral partners; This year: No partner promos, 9 SAs in new career track

Khaitan: Steep internal ladder or change of gears?
Khaitan: Steep internal ladder or change of gears?
Exclusive: Khaitan & Co has not promoted any partners internally in its annual promotion round after internally restructuring its associate and partnership track, nine associates were promoted to senior associate level and one lateral associate partner joined in Mumbai.

“We don’t have any internal promotions this year [to partner],” Khaitan & Co Mumbai office co-founding partner Rabindra Jhunjhunwala said. “Ours is an equity structure, keep that in mind. We don’t introduce the salaried concept.”

Jhunjhunwala told Legally India that the associate partner designation, which was introduced in September 2010, despite being non-equity was not a salaried partner equivalent because the firm was “grooming” associate partners with a “clear-cut understanding” that they would become equity partners within two years.

Pachmatia: Lateral
Pachmatia: Lateral

Former Udwadia Udeshi associate partner Raj Panchmatia joined the Mumbai litigation practice yesterday, increasing the number of associate partners to three. Udwadia Udesh & Argus managing partner Krishnava Dutt was not available for comment.

Nine associates were also internally promoted to senior associate level at Khaitan with effect from 1 April.

It is understood that the majority of new senior associates graduated around 2007 and were alumni of NLIU Bhopal and NLU Jodhpur, with two having studied at GLC Mumbai, although the firm declined to disclose their names.

Career ladders

In 2011 the firm had promoted a number of senior associates to the new principal associate designation after creating a new associate career progression framework. Under the new system, associates are eligible to be considered for senior associate status after around five years of post qualification experience (PQE).

The promotion from senior to principal associate is possible after around six years of PQE or longer and is based on individual assessments, with a weightage of around 80 per cent given to performance.

For principal associates to progress to the associate partner level, they would have to demonstrate further potential and ability in areas such as business development after at least seven-and-a-half years of practice experience.

“I don’t think anybody within the firm would be upset that they didn’t make it because no associates were anywhere close to the equity level in terms of seniority,” said Jhunjhunwala about this year’s round.

Ganesh Prasad joined the firm as a partner in Bangalore yesterday after serving out his notice period at Amarchand & Mangaldas.

Outside odds: Better?

In April 2009 Khaitan & Co consisted of 32 partners nationally, with around 178 fee-earners in July 2009, according to data shared by Khaitan & Co with Legally India at the time.

In the last three years, Khaitan & Co’s partnership has grown by 23 partners to 55 – more than a 70 per cent increase.

Of those, according to Legally India reports since April 2009, 18 have been lateral hires, while 10 internal promotions not related to lateral hiring were reported in the same period.

Only one partner has been reported to have left to join other firms (see below).

[Update: see comment below for some more partners who have left over the years]

Partners at Khaitan & Co through the ages

Financial year-end Lateral partner / equivalent hires # Internal partner promotions #
  • Abhilek Verma – Bangalore, May 2011 – From PAV Law offices
  • Anindita Phukan – Bangalore, August 2011 – From independent practice
  • Ganesh Prasad – Bangalore, April 2012 – From Amarchand & Mangaldas
  • Paku Khan – Delhi, December 2011 – From Amarchand, serving out notice
  • Sharad Abhyankar – December 2011 – Independent practice
  • Raj Panchmatia – Mumbai, April 2012 – From Udwadia Udeshi


2010-11 8

April 2011:

  • Rajat Mukherjee – Delhi – joined from Skadden & Arps in 2010
  • Akash Choubey – Mumbai – Recruited from NLIU Bhopal in 2004
  • Zakir Merchant – Mumbai – joined in 2007
  • Bhavik Narsana – Mumbai – joined in 2006

April 2011: 3

  • Nishant Singh – joined from Amarchand in 2010
  • Abhishek Sharma
  • Rahul Ray – joined in 2002
7 (6 non-lateral)
2009-10 4

April 2010: 3

  • Joy Jacob
  • Ashwin Mathew
  • Savita Singh
  • Bharat Anand – March 2009, Delhi – from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Murali Neelakantan - August 2008, Mumbai – from Ashurst
  • Kalpana Unadkat – October 2008, Mumbai – from Ashurst

June 2009:

  • Sanjay Sanghvi, joined from PwC in January 2008
Before 2008
  • Data not available

April 2008:

  • Vibhava Sawant (Mumbai)
  • Arindam Ghosh (Mumbai)

April 2007:

  • Sanjeev Kapoor (Delhi),
  • Sharad Vaid (Delhi),
  • Bhumesh Verma (Delhi)
TOTAL (excl pre-2008) Lateral hires 21 Internal promotions 10

Reported partner leavers

  • Rahul Ray - Delhi, July 2011 – To Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan
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