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Dhir & Dhir wants Chandigarh launch by 2013 as ex-Singhania CEO Manju Mohotra joins

Mohotra: More carrot, less stick
Mohotra: More carrot, less stick
Dhir & Dhir Associates has appointed former Singhania & Partners chief executive officer (CEO) Manju Mohotra as its first ever CEO on 1 August, aiming to expand its insolvency and restructuring practice, and to set up in Chandigarh.

Dhir & Dhir managing partner Alok Dhir said: “Insolvency and restructuring is a very important vertical of the firm. There is growth and development in the sector. The business is expanding, and we’re adding new verticals. We’re having plans to expand our network in other cities.”

He added that the firm was targeting to open in Chandigarh before the end of this financial year, and that Mohotra’s joining would enable concentrating on the core business.

Dhir explained that Mohotra, who would be supported by an human resource (HR) manager and by the firm’s chief financial officer (CFO) - a chartered accountant - would bring about “technological improvement for better client servicing”, in areas including the firm’s HR management, building knowledge banks within the organisation, working on management information systems (MIS), and evaluating deliverables from professionals in the firm.

Mohotra has 14 years of experience in law firm management, having initially started for two years with DC Singhania’s Singhania & Co. When DC Singhania’s son Ravi Singhania started up Singhania & Partners, she moved with him to help set up the firm with four other professionals.

She left Singhania & Partners at the end of March this year after 12 years as CEO of the firm. Mohotra told Legally India at that time: “For 25 years I’d been working. It was an emotional decision. It was not easy to let go after something you helped start, [the firm] was more like a child.” Ravi Singhania was not available for comment at the time of going to press.

Carrots and sticks

Mohotra noted that while conventionally law firm sizes in India had been small, the recent overall growth trend has increased the need for management systems.

“Typically most law firms would not have these processes, and even if they are there, it is another thing whether they are implemented or not. Lawyers don’t like systems. They always rebel,” she joked, explaining that persuasion, not a ‘stick’ approach, was the way around such rebellion by recognising contributions to the business other than just billings.

Mohotra has experience in strategy, business development and management, and at Singhania had worked primarily in the infrastructure sector with financial and engineering consultants, contractors and regulators, in both the private and public sectors.

She said that at Dhir & Dhir, she would not ignore the infrastructure sector, but would also look to bulk up in restructuring and insolvency. “Though we are the number one in India in insolvency, but we would definitely like to expand there.”

Dhir & Dhir Associates was established 20 years ago, and now has 72 lawyers and six partners. Alok Dhir specialises in insolvency law, which is the core vertical of the firm, he said.

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