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DSK frees up managing partner time with hire of corporate CEO

Rajesh Iyer
Rajesh Iyer

DSK Legal has appointed Rajesh Iyer, the former South Asia head and director at management consultancy Palladium Group, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the law firm.

DSK co-founding and managing partner Anand Desai said: “He will be responsible for assisting in planning and implementing the strategic and operational priorities of our firm - which continues to grow.

“This move is intended to free up my time – as you know I like doing client work and in my opinion I was not able to devote adequate time to firm matters. Rajesh will help us to implement our strategy, increase coordination across partners.”

Iyer has over 25 years of experience in strategy and operations and has consulted for over 48 industries and sectors in Western Europe, South America, Africa and India. The London Business School’s Sloan Fellow has an MBA in marketing and finance from IMDR Pune and has worked with companies such as Andersen ad Ernst & Young.

Iyer, who is based in Mumbai, said that attracting and retaining good talent was one of the key challenges law firms faced.

He added that the Indian legal industry was also witnessing a global trend where law firms, whether small or big, treat themselves as a business. And while “some firms have been lucky to have lawyers who just want to manage the business”, he said, others faced a dilemma with respect to the role of the managing partner who would lose “client facing” time when spending it on business management tasks.

“In their heart everyone wants to work with the client and deliver great service to client. That’s where any professional service person’s heart lies,” he noted.

Iyer was of the view that because of the increasing need for legal services in the country, lawyers were becoming increasingly industry-focussed. For example, M&A lawyers earlier would service clients from all sectors but they now specialise in specific sectors such as, say, the infrastructure sector.

“While [increasing demand for services] is a huge opportunity it is also a challenge for law firms to prepare themselves internally to deal with this change.”

In 2012 Dhir & Dhir appointed ex-Singhania & Partners CEO Manju Mohotra as its CEO, while AZB & Partners Mumbai senior partner Abhijit Joshi was given the CEO role in 2011.

Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi and Mumbai each have non-lawyer chief operating officers (COOs) from foreign law firms.

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