Santanu Mukherjee to fly solo after less than a year at LuthraSantanu Mukherjee to fly solo after less than a year at Luthra

Luthra & Luthra partner Santanu Mukherjee, who is head of international trade and policy advisory at the firm and had joined less than a year ago, has announced he’d leave Luthra to apparently go independent.

Mukherjee had joined Luthra in January 2016 from US software giant Qualcomm, where he was a senior attorney in IPR and competition for India and South Asia.

In a goodbye email to the firm, he wrote that he would be “flying solo” from the beginning of 2017 after leaving Luthra by the end of this month.

We have reached out to him and Luthra’s respective managing and senior partners, Rajiv Luthra and Mohit Saraf, for comment via email earlier today.

Mukherjee is a 1997 LLB graduate from South Calcutta Law College of Calcutta University, and holds a 2001 masters in WTO Law & Practice from the World Trade Institute in Bern, Switzerland.

He had also spent several years working on global trade and IP Policy research at the elite Max Planck Institute for IP and competition law in Munich, Germany, and on policy research and advocacy at the South Centre Secretariat in Geneva.

As a Chevening Scholar he was also a visiting lawyer at Littleton Chambers at the Inner Temple in London.

Mukherjee is at least the third partner to leave Luthra this year, following Rajesh Chavda - who left in-house only 18 months after joining from Herbert Smith Freehills, senior partner Vijaya Rao in Mumbai who went part-time, and corporate partner Aparna Mittal who departed for rival AZB & Partners.

Luthra has made several lateral partner hires in that time: Durga Bose Gandham from Tatva Legal in Hyderabad, Apurva Jayant from Samvad Partners in Mumbai, as Luthra’s former partner Pradyuman Dubey returned in litigation.

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Like +3 Object -0 Dantin 26 Dec 16, 21:06
Aray... aap toh aise project kar rahe hain jaise bhoochaal aa gaya ho?
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Like +5 Object -1 Bengaluru jatt 26 Dec 16, 21:56
CAM and Luthra must setup their headquarters in Bengaluru and compete with the boutiques to feel greatest..
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Like +4 Object -3 Mohit Kharab 26 Dec 16, 22:00
The guys leaving lol (l&l) should maybe speak with mohit who is actively speaking on the ratan-cyrus sagar and supporting ratan..
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Like +10 Object -1 Motor Mouth 29 Dec 16, 09:22  interesting
It would unheard of in any well-developed legal jurisdiction (read UK, US, HK, Singapore) for a "senior partner" to take sides publicly on matters such as the Tata-Cyrus saga. Perhaps, time for Mohit and Luthra to rethink what they are doing - perhaps more harm than good - in making such statements as he has been making.
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Like +0 Object -2 Guest 27 Dec 16, 06:14
Hey Kian please update on liberalisation. We don't care about stupid Indian law firms. What's the status? Will anything be announced in the budget? And please highlight the views of impartial, respected voices like eminent senior counsels, and more people like Prof Menon and Prof Ranbir Singh. We are tired of LI reproducing Lalit Bhasin and Manan Mishra's press releases.
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Like +1 Object -2 Haha 27 Dec 16, 08:00
You think Luthra is stupid? How dare you!
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Like +4 Object -2 Business 27 Dec 16, 10:15
Not just stupid....
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Like +3 Object -1 ALIAS 27 Dec 16, 16:29
deepak joyce (partner) also quit. how come that wasnt covered.
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Like +1 Object -0 Haha 29 Dec 16, 14:11
Ha. Ha. Ha.
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Like +13 Object -0 Ozz 27 Dec 16, 20:50  interesting  top rated
As long as a certain other person is there in LL doing IP and Trade, no one else can stick on there. Strong are the clutches of the wicked ... of the west!
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Like +0 Object -0 ZRS 27 Dec 16, 22:12
This other person does not Trade, right? Its only IP... whereas Santanu was clearly more focused on trade/ policy domain??
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Like +13 Object -0 GAyatri mantra 27 Dec 16, 23:07  interesting  top rated
I know what you mean. His exit is very unfortunate
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Like +2 Object -1 Manager 29 Dec 16, 09:36
Two partners with international training and experience leave Luthra in a span of one year after short stints. What is it the management board of senior partners doing? Culturally, is this also another Papa-Uncle firm despite no family being present? Is the forever manager guy, really managing the place or is he just managing the managing partner and ensuring that all independent minded persons that can't manage are managed out? Are more departures in the offing?
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Like +22 Object -1 Considered view 29 Dec 16, 13:19  interesting  top rated
Frankly, luthra is not such a bad place. However, there are certain issues there which haven't been addressed for way too long:

1. Inability to put down the mad dogs: luthra has a culture of allowing certain people to project to the world that they are god's gift to mankind. These people then hijack the agenda of the firm, and the more able minded people get sidelined. The firm plays along so long as these people rake in money.

2. Overemphasis on "connected" hiring: first floor speaks for itself, the sheer conflict of interest in certain cases is mind blowing.

3. Predatory partners: some partners believe in the philosophy of "eat your young ones".

4. hiring scam: There is a certain college (and certain type of people from that college) that find disproportionate representation. We all know about it and wink at it, but this needs to be fixed.
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Like +7 Object -2 Kraker 29 Dec 16, 14:55  interesting
Truly the kracker syndrome
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Like +1 Object -1 In-house guy 11 Jan 17, 23:39
I have worked with LL lawyers and I just don't like their culture. They are in a time warp. Some very average lawyers are brought into a matter to advise on regulatory issues when the the lawyer dealing with the matter is much more competent and involved in the issue. On one occasion, they brought in a team which claimed to be "regulatory specialists" and I later learnt that one of them was barely a lawyer- he was a CA. He knew tax and some FEMA regs, but as in-house guy, I could tell he could not articulate his point of view, interpret a statutory provision, as trained lawyer would, and his drafting was just appalling.

He was accompanied by another "partner" who seemed extremely inexperienced to be a partner. He had no idea of the strutures followed in an M&A transactions and was a bit lost in all the documentation. I later learnt that he projects himself as a regulatory expert too!

Convinced that I will not be hiring this firm.
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Like +3 Object -3 Hohoho 29 Dec 16, 18:31
Add to it the abysmal and far below standard pay package and their "upto ...... lakhs" as bonus. It prides itself as tier 1 firm but pays as around 10% - 15% more salary than even Tier 3 firm
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Like +3 Object -6 Guest 30 Dec 16, 16:40
And with some senior associates earning less than associates may be because they became senior because they are their partner's sycophant but can't bill enough dollars for the firm.
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Like +7 Object -1 Sacchi? 30 Dec 16, 21:47  interesting
Bhai which floor? This is news, if an S.A. is earning lesser than an associate or an MA is earning lesser than an S.A.

Is it actually true, or you are just faffing coz you have an axe to grind with one of the S.A.?
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Like +1 Object -1 Business 12 Jan 17, 17:08
In other words... its a very bad place...
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Like +0 Object -0 Alias 29 Dec 16, 15:08
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Like +0 Object -0 Churnie 04 Jan 17, 08:25
All law firms go through a period of major exits. First it was AZB with Vishnu, Kalpana, Essaji and Shuva all leaving. Then it was JSA with Akshay, Som and a bunch of junior partners. Then the exodus at CAM with Ashwath, Nisha, Ipsita, VP, Harry, Dorothy, Neeraj and a bunch of junior partners. S&R lost Bhakta. Now its Luthra losing Vijaya, Deepak, Santanu.

Its a cycle. Which post bonus will start again. Upward and onward. Also moves within a year are fairly common in the international legal market whose entry Indian lawyers are waiting for.
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