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Desai Diwanji partner Sumes Dewan, ex-Fox partner & others start up Delhi-Mumbai firm

Sumes Dewan
Sumes Dewan

Desai & Diwanji (D&D) Delhi head and corporate partner Sumes Dewan started up a new law firm last week after leaving D&D two months ago.

His full service start-up Lex Favios has offices in Bombay and Delhi, and has 15 lawyers, including himself.

D&D corporate and M&A associate Yeshika Dublish has also joined Dewan, who had joined D&D in 2012 after resigning from Fox Mandal Little, as it was then called.

Former Fox Mandal Little partner Indranil Ghosh had also joined Dewan at Lex Favios as the litigation practice head. The firm has seven practice heads including Dewan who focuses on real estate, capital markets and private equity, and Bombay office head Sandeep Menon whose specialist area is banking, Dewan said that it also has a “board of advisors” which includes “senior accomplished people” who are not part of the firm. “They would be advising us in terms of pitching for clients and giving a direction to the firm. They share the vision of the firm and would help us with our client pitches,” he said.

“After Desai & Diwanji I wanted to set up a firm but the challenge was in providing all inclusive services to clients - existing clients and prospective clients. And [the services] should be [provided] by people who are experts in each practice area. Most of [the lawyers in Lex Favios] are those who I have worked with in different law firms,” commented Dewan.

“What we’ve done is we’ve taken each member [who was] a senior member of a firm, someone who had exhaustive experience in a particular area or practice,” he added. He said that Lex Favios hasn’t worked out the structure of the partnership between the 15 members yet, but that it was “more of a relationship-based thing” at present.

Dewan, who was heading D&D Delhi corporate practice after former practice head Amit Khansaheb left to BMR Legal, said that he felt “the firm wasn’t growing in the right direction” in Delhi.

The Delhi office of D&D is now jointly headed by five young partners who were promoted last year.

Dewan said that his clients from D&D had moved along with him to Lex Favios. “In Desai & Diwanji I was representing my own set of clients which I had introduced to the firm when I joined so it was partly mutual – they were fine with me continuing to advise [my own clients].”

Lex Favios’ present clients, which were D&D clients in the past, include Infodrive Software, for which the start-up is handling an FCCB issue, Uflex Limited for which it’s doing a Deutsche Bank borrowing, as well as hotel management and contractual work for the Intercontinental Hotels chain. The firm is also representing a consortium of five countries which form the West Africa Investment Forum. Lex Favios was also advising publioc sector undertakings such as SAIL through co-litigation head Shaiwal Shrivastava, who was in the process of merging his independent practice with the firm, said Dewan.

“Right now our focus is more on the banking practice and the finance practice which typically happens from Bombay,” said Dewan, adding that the firm’s Bombay head Menon is a lawyer and a banker who was heading retail banking for Barclays before joining the start up.

Desai & Diwanji partner Vihang Virkar commented that the firm “would like to congratulate Sumes on the opening of his new law firm and wish him the best of luck”.

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