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AZB bags Anup Shah's firm in Bangalore, kick-starting South Indian presence

AZB & Partners has merged with Anup Shah's Bangalore law firm, doubling AZB's size in the city, giving it two new bases in Chennai and Hyderabad and winning a new office managing partner.

Shah will lead AZB's Bangalore office as an equity partner, bringing 18 lawyers with him and taking the size of the AZB's Bangalore presence up to around 40 lawyers.

Shah's smaller Chennai office and Hyderabad offices will also be joining AZB with five and three lawyers respectively, giving AZB two new footholds in South India.

Shah (pictured) said: "There has been tremendous change and a tremendous requirement for good law firms in Bangalore, which could require services under one roof.

"There is a tremendous shortage so we probably could fill in the gap."

Shah started up his sole proprietor practice in 1993 and focuses primarily on real estate work for domestic clients.

He said that the firm also handled some commercial documentation work, FDI Press Note 2 transactions and has a litigation cell of five people. He added that the team also handles some intellectual property (IP) work, including patents and copyrights.

However, he added that he would also like to return to doing some M&A and corporate work. "Initially I used to do that [before setting up in Bangalore in 1993] but I gave it up when real estate really boomed."

Shah's Bangalore office will move into AZB House on Lavelle Road within a month.

The merged firms are currently building new 17,000 square feet premises on Bangalore's Cunningham Road, which should be completed within a year and will have space for around 75 lawyers, said AZB co-founding partner Bahram Vakil.

Commenting on the adjustment from being sole proprietor to joining a large partnership, Shah said: "I'm sure there'll be a lot of changes we'll need to make but I don’t think there'll be trouble - the [AZB] team is fantastic and they are quite happy and excited to be part of one team here."

AZB's merger in Bangalore follows hot on the heels of J Sagar Associates' (JSA) takeover of M&C Partners a month ago, which also doubled its footprint in the city to around 37 lawyers.

Luthra & Luthra has also recently named one of its capital markets stars as Bangalore managing partner to spearhead the office's growth.

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