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Trilegal of counsel Sakya Chaudhuri moves to HSA as partner

Sakya Singha Chaudhuri

Former Trilegal counsel and regulatory practice head Sakya Singha Chaudhuri has joined HSA Advocates as partner to head the firm’s regulatory practice. Chaudhuri left Trilegal in the last week of July and joined HSA in August.

Chaudhuri, who, before joining Trilegal, had been an associate at HSA from 2007 to 2009, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Trilegal but one has to move on for their personal growth.

“I have known Hemant for a long time. He is one of the oldest names in regulatory in the profession in India. I have a very good chemistry with him and hope we can use that chemistry and grow the practice.”

Chaudhuri graduated as a lawyer from the University of Calcutta in 1998, practiced in the Calcutta high court until 2001 and joined NDLO as an associate until 2003. From 2003 to 2007 he was a chamber junior for former additional solicitor general of India VR Reddy.

He will head HSA’s regulatory and policy practice with a special focus on the energy sector, airports, environment and competition law as a partner, according to his Linked-in profile.

HSA managing partner Hemant Sahai did not comment since yesterday.

Update: HSA managing partner Sahai commented via email:

With the recent elevation and induction of senior lawyers into HSA’s infrastructure, projects and regulatory team (including Sakya, Avirup and Aniket Prasoon from Trilegal), HSA has the strongest and most experienced practice team in this area in India. We now have five partners/associate partners (Hemant, Anjan, Sakya, Pranav, Avirup) leading the infra, projects and regulatory practice with a strong team of senior associates and associates supporting them.

As is well known and recognised, infrastructure, projects and regulatory practice is extremely specialised and requires focused  knowledge and skills and understanding of economic, financial, technical and commercial issues, in addition to strong legal  strengths. This is not a practice area for generalist lawyers as is evident from the fact that most law firms, have been unable to develop and/or sustain this practice area.

Furthermore, with a trillion US dollars to be spent on infra in India over the next 5 years, and PPP being the focus of the government, specialist lawyers in this area are expected to remain very busy. We are already witnessing a slew of regulatory issues that require innovative legal approaches. 

The significance of this growth area as well as recognition of HSA as specialists in this area is evidenced also by the engagement of Hemant Sahai as the strategic adviser to government of Japan, for infrastructure in India.

Chaudhuri had done a six-month secondment in Trilegal’s former best friend Allen & Overy’s competition practices in its London and other European offices in 2010. After he returned, Trilegal opened a pure play competition practice to be handled by him and former NLSIU professor Rahul Singh.

Singh has since left to Oxford for a PhD in competition law but continues to enjoy a part-time role with the firm’s competition practice.

Commenting on recent exits from the litigation team, Trilegal co-founding partner Anand Prasad said: “Some parts of the electricity regulatory practice has got a bit commoditised in the last few years and we have been attempting to move our practice to doing more complex disputes. As a consequence of this, we have encountered a bit of a churn in the electricity regulatory team. The firm is rebuilding the electricity regulatory team with this focus, with Sitesh Mukherjee in the lead, and has already made a bunch of fresh hires consistent with this strategy.

“Of the old team, a few excellent people have moved to counsel practice and we are hopeful that they would return to the firm sometime in the future.

“As to the others, we wish the very best for the future. Sakya too is a nice guy and similarly we wish him the best with his new venture.”

Click to show 52 comments
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Like +9 Object -1 Growth 07 Aug 14, 13:54  interesting
No Growth in Trilegal?
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Like +33 Object -2 AP 07 Aug 14, 14:42  interesting  top rated
Trilegal has lost a gem. Statements such as "Of the old team, a few excellent people have moved to counsel practice... as to the others, Sakya too is a nice guy...” reflect on the attitude of the managing partner. Interesting to know that Trilegal promotes non excellent people to senior positions and underlines their non-excellence once they leave.
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Like +2 Object -3 just 07 Aug 14, 17:07
Am no trilegal fan..but pls be fair. Couldnt "as to the others" mean those excelle t chaps who havent gone for counsel practice but other avenues?
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Like +3 Object -0 kianganz 07 Aug 14, 17:13
That actually seems like quite a reasonable interpretation of his comment...
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Like +3 Object -2 Interpretor 07 Aug 14, 17:36
You could also read it as people who chose other revenues (like Sakya and Aniket) weren't excellent, and trilegal is not concerned about them leaving.
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Like +12 Object -0 Anon 07 Aug 14, 14:47  interesting  top rated
With Sakya's exit, everyone who had moved from HSA to Trilegal with Sitesh in 2009 have now moved on for personal growth. Moral of the story?
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Like +9 Object -0 Sour Grapes 07 Aug 14, 15:31  interesting
"Some parts of the electricity regulatory practice has got a bit commoditised in the last few years and we have been attempting to move our practice to doing more complex disputes" - Really?
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Like +14 Object -0 Manish Tewari 07 Aug 14, 19:16  interesting  top rated
Quoting Sour Grapes:
"Some parts of the electricity regulatory practice has got a bit commoditised in the last few years and we have been attempting to move our practice to doing more complex disputes" - Really?

Is Anand planning to join Congress as a spin doctor...
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Like +1 Object -0 Hmmm 07 Aug 14, 15:33
Kian - Has Sakya moved with his team? heard Anand and Aniket joined him at HSA?
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Like +2 Object -0 Guest 07 Aug 14, 22:46
more to follow
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 08 Aug 14, 12:44
wait and watch
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Like +3 Object -0 Scooted 07 Aug 14, 17:35
Super like for Anand's sugar coating the "the others" (non-excellent / loser types) slur by the 'oh such a nice fellow' line
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Like +5 Object -1 Super like 07 Aug 14, 18:24
Anand is great at drafting:-)
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Like +17 Object -18 Anon 07 Aug 14, 19:34  controversial
Aniket is a very hardworking genuinely nice chap - I wish him all the best - Go HSA - hope you value the resources of Trilegal more than they did.
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Like +5 Object -0 PKS 07 Aug 14, 23:47  interesting
All the best to Sakya and his team....sorry for TRILEGAL....Regulatory practice is no more Trilegal's forte.
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Like +9 Object -1 OMG 08 Aug 14, 12:01  interesting
I wonder what is Trilegal's forte!
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Like +11 Object -1 Anon 08 Aug 14, 05:25  interesting
Standard Trilegal rouse... anyone who leaves... proposes to leave to pursue something that is unfairly denied to them in Trilegal is either a fool or good riddance to bad rubbish... it's time to call this bluff.
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Like +6 Object -0 Guest 08 Aug 14, 10:54  interesting
Looks like series of departures has hurt Trilegal arrogance very deeply. Dont remember reading anywhere about "unfair denial by Trilegal". Is it conscious speaking? There is already too much information in public regarding how scewed Trilegal policy on promotions have been. It vseems that even partners dont know what the policy is. I guess partners need to sit down and give a serious thought to where they want to steer the firm.
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Like +4 Object -12 Singapore 12 Aug 14, 06:07
It seems Trilegal did care for some of the departures but not for all. Anyone in law firm management would know that you don't want senior resources in the system if they are not likely to become partner shortly- they are just a heavy load on the system and take away opportunities from other associates.

All associates in T knew that Sakya used to handle a number of tariff matters but they also knew that he would not become partner there. Similar for Avirup and some of the recent departures in the corporate team. May be they should have let them go earlier but the fact that these candidates knew that they would not get to appear before the partnership committee was evident. They tried their luck but the firm made it clear they are unlikely to make it and hence found other avenues where they all seem to be doing better. That to me, is fair game. Could be bad if they were allowed to rot for 12 years and then told that they would not make partner because of some random reason.

It is nice that T has stated that some excellent people have moved to counsel practice. Everyone knows Prerna and Anusha were stars. Aniket too was great but came under pressure of so called mentors who made him believe that he would not make it big in trilegal. May be he should have stayed longer. Certainly not good riddance, infact a clear loss, but all the best to him and others!

What matters ultimately is that everyone gets good exposure and opportunities. That makes good lawyers and a good lawyer will always shine through!
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Like +14 Object -0 To Singapore 12 Aug 14, 11:00  interesting  top rated
You really think someone is stupid to blindly follow or be pressurized by their mentors? If this is true, then the big guys/partners in Trilegal clearly do not inspire enough confidence in their ranks, as a star like Aniket is following the “riff-raffs”/”has beens” out of the door. It appears to me that Sitesh’s team has disintegrated due to the perception that he is unwilling to make anyone a partner in the lit/regulatory space and also that he hardly has the clout to push his candidates for partnership - Shankh being a case in point. You seem like an insider/ex-Trilegal, so if you think Avirup, Shruti, Rachika, Sameer (am I missing anyone!?!) were not good enough for Trilegal, but you think that some of the current corporate partners/counsels in Delhi are better than them, it’s your prerogative – but I would agree more with the comment from “No class of 91”, Trilegal doesn’t care for Shruti and Avirup leaving because they now have a decent 5-6 PQE level – but the question is how long can they hang on to the middle rung once they reach the 8 PQE range and realize their chances of making partner are also slim. Although I must admit that none of the counsels who quit from the Delhi office were partnership material for Trilegal - they clearly lacked the required arrogance and humbug to make a partner there.
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Like +4 Object -0 Chai Pe Charcha 12 Aug 14, 11:42
Very well put. You also seems to be an insider !!!

Is Rahul Singh back in Trilegal?
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Like +20 Object -0 To singapore 12 Aug 14, 17:40  interesting  top rated
It appears that you are implying that Sakya was asked to leave. Which, as you are well aware, was not the case. Most of the regulatory clients left with sakya. This is so because litigation requires serious work and strategy, not just great formatting and fancy language skills. Sakya was clearly not trilegal partner material, his focus was on good work and not sharp dressing. It is a great lie that people left for no chance of growth Within the firm. People left for lack of litigation experts to learn from and train with, except may be Sakya.
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Like +3 Object -3 Singapore 13 Aug 14, 05:20
Don't imply my friend as you do have limited imagination. It is true that T did not inspire all the good people and are paying the cost for it. But don't feel you and I should take a judgement call for who makes partner there. I left sometime back but know one thing that you can't deny, and that is that T do have high asks of partner candidates (They also train associates very well else not everyone with T in their cv would be eligible to interviews at Amss and JSA and Khaitan). May be they should lower that and start making partner earlier but making younger partners doesn't help necessarily if they don't have sustained business cases.

T need to find a way to revive confidence of good associates in litigation as continued departures would lead to doom.
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Like +5 Object -0 To Singapore 13 Aug 14, 11:41  interesting
Can you please elaborate a little more on the training bit? What sort of training have you seen being imparted by 'T' partners? It will be useful to see 'T' doing something which is extra-ordinary and gets its lawyers interview calls from big firms - which it seems other firms lack!
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Like +6 Object -0 To Singapore 13 Aug 14, 11:54  interesting
And isnt it slightly ironical to say "they train their associates so well" - when they themselves think that these associates are incapable of becoming partners within the firm!
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Like +4 Object -0 To Singapore 13 Aug 14, 13:26
"Limited imagination" - when you don't have a logical response, make it personal :)

Actually I concede its a bit harsh to say that alls wrong with T. They'll pick up their game soon. To be fair they became a top law firm in such short period of time.

But I understand that except for regulatory clients, most of their litigation clients were first their corporate clients? Isn't that the case? So who are their litigation clients once regulatory clients are gone?

Best of luck T ! Here's is to hoping that you sort your lit, top down.
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Like +3 Object -0 sing song 12 Aug 14, 22:49
Seating in Singapore you seem to have access to Trilegal's HR documents, and know that these chaps were told to buzz off...or do you work for Densu's Singapore office?
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Like +4 Object -0 To Singapore 15 Aug 14, 06:11
Singapore, you say you left T a while back but you speak very authoritatively about the competence levels of the senior resources who have recently departed the firm. You also seem clued in on what associates had to say about these departures. Maybe a lot has changed since you left. Maybe the people in question also grew and evolved (as I hope you did). Maybe it's silly to rely on your memory of T and these guys from (god knows how long back). More likely, you're a partner at T trolling the LI website and trying to spin the T viewpoint into the discussion. Has been known to happen before. Very naughty.
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Like +2 Object -1 To To Singapore 16 Aug 14, 15:54
"More likely, you're a partner at T trolling the LI website and trying to spin the T viewpoint into the discussion. Has been known to happen before. Very naughty."


Exactly what everyone's been thinking :)
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Like +0 Object -0 Singapore 19 Aug 14, 14:25
I wish! No baby, I am not a partner at T but I find your conjecture very odd. Are you saying that only ex trilegal associates or rival firm partners such yourself have the right to comment here but no one from T should. May be that's what you want so go ahead. This discussion is only one sided. I don't think people in T care for it, so why should I?
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Like +6 Object -0 To Singapore 22 Aug 14, 19:54  interesting
This discussion is only one sided. I don't think people in T care for it, so why should I?
Awe! sulking ? Come on, we were just playing. Here, you bat now.
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Like +15 Object -0 Guest 08 Aug 14, 09:21  interesting  top rated
How is Sitesh Mukherjee managing with so many departures..who is handling the work? or he doesnt have much to manage, so no cause of worry
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Like +6 Object -0 Complex 08 Aug 14, 11:21  interesting
As Anand Prasad said, Sitesh will only handle "complex" matters - so no need for rubbish juniors in his team - he will act as an one man army in these complex regulatory matters
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Like +10 Object -0 No class of 91 08 Aug 14, 11:32  interesting
Trilegal is like the rich football clubs where the academy products (read home grown talent) hardly gets a look in when it comes to partnership - good catch by HSA, and smart move by Aniket that he dumped them before he reaches the stagnation level at Trilegal. HSA now has a bunch of ex-trilegal chaps
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Like +2 Object -2 XYZ 08 Aug 14, 12:55
Rahul singh is already back in trilegal
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Like +3 Object -1 Anon 08 Aug 14, 13:08
Between early/mid 2011 to now, the Delhi office of Trilegal has seen the departures of 10 people at the counsel/partner level - senior fee earners essentially (happy to provide names, though subject to LI approving). Perhaps time for Anand to put a spin on that as well? Or, he could just come to terms with the fact that the A&O bye-bye has been painful.
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Like +4 Object -1 Anon 08 Aug 14, 13:20
@Prachi, apparently Trilegal has seen far more Counsel departures across offices in the recent past - check, check! They are making Luthra look good!!!! :D
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Like +3 Object -0 Guest 09 Aug 14, 02:16
HSA pays Diwali bonus in March
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Like +5 Object -2 diwali 09 Aug 14, 21:57
Diwali is whenever you get the money...
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 09 Aug 14, 16:33
Why does the headline reads "Trilegal of counsel...."? It seems to be wrong. Sakya was no of counsel, if i recall correctly.
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Like +8 Object -0 Guest 09 Aug 14, 21:31  interesting
Trilegal portrays itself as a democracy while the founding partners make all decisions. HSA on the other hand is a pure one man show. Only time will tell if the ex Trilegal boys can say if they made the right decision
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Like +4 Object -0 Big b 13 Aug 14, 22:13
So true. Qs the wisdom to move to a autocracy where designations such as "associate partner" are used to lure people into believing they are anything other than senior associates. When in reality they are salaried and can't hire, fire or take any management decisions. Time will tell but some of these guys will start moving out within 2-3 years if the market picks up. If the market doesn't pick up, they will not move out and ...
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Like +0 Object -0 RC 11 Aug 14, 11:42
Such bad sentence construction in the headline "Trilegal of counsel?"
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Like +0 Object -2 kianganz 11 Aug 14, 11:51
Agree it sounds clumsy, but "of counsel" is actually a designation used by law firms between senior / principal associate and partner, usually (or sometimes alongside).

As opposed to 'counsel', who generally do litigation, 'of counsel' doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the courts...
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 11 Aug 14, 13:27
Accepted. But Sakya was 'Counsel' and not 'of counsel'. So, why don't you correct the headline.
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Like +0 Object -3 kianganz 11 Aug 14, 18:11
Actually we've used of counsel before for the designation in relation to Trilegal, and at most firms they're fairly synonymous.

The 'original' designation, as borrowed from foreign law firms where the concept comes from, is of counsel but maybe saying counsel is more popular here?

But to be honest, I don't think it makes much difference either way since both can describe the designation, nor is it grammatically incorrect... :)
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Like +5 Object -0 Err 11 Aug 14, 17:58  interesting
That's all very well, but his designation was, in fact, 'Counsel'. Here:

Or you could have just asked the guy you've written about
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Like +2 Object -1 Correction 12 Aug 14, 06:11
Kian, sakya was not head of Trilegal's regulatory practice. He was part of Sitesh's team.
Though he is now head of regulatory practice at HSA.
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Like +23 Object -1 Hyuck 11 Aug 14, 12:52  interesting  top rated
In Anand-land, he's the only truly excellent lawyer out there. A day will come when he will be the only lawyer left at the firm, basking in all his excellence. Unless of course someone invents a cloning machine.
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Like +5 Object -0 Guest 11 Aug 14, 20:12  interesting
Very well said!!
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Like +0 Object -0 Scooter- 19 Sep 14, 07:55
HSA has the best infra and regulatory team? They are good, not the best I suppose. Any thoughts?
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Like +0 Object -0 To Kian 20 Jan 15, 14:29
Kian, time to do a follow up on where all the senior-level people who left Trilegal in the last one year have gone. Would be good to know where the won't-make-it-at-Trilegal [...] are now
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