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FoxMandal recovery: 2 partners, office leaseback

FoxMandal Noida office
FoxMandal Noida office

FoxMandal Little Delhi has hired KR Chawla & Co's corporate head and the general counsel (GC) of Patni Computer Systems as partners. Several senior partners have also entered into a sale-and-leaseback of the firm's Noida head office to steady its cashflow.

KR Chawla & Co partner Sumes Dewan and former Patni Computer Systems executive vice president and general counsel Ajit Yadav have both joined FoxMandal as partners.

Dewan has joined the firm with two associates to boost the capital markets practice with international expertise.

He said that he had moved with the entire corporate division and corporate clients of KR Chawla to join FoxMandal's existing corporate and capital markets practice.

"I will build up the corporate practice and their cap markets practice because personally and in my team we do a lot of global listings, ICM [international capital markets] and Luxembourg Stock Exchange work," he added. "We are building and coming up with a more specific capital markets division."

Dewan had been a partner at KR Chawla since 2000 and headed the firm's corporate practice, according to an international legal directory.

KR Chawla partner Harvansh Chawla made a statement that Dewan's "services were terminated" and that the firm still had a corporate practice of 22 lawyers. He declined to elaborate further.

Dewan and FoxMandal managing partner Som Mandal strongly denied that Dewan's "services were terminated" and Mandal added: "Sumesh has come with his entire team."

The second partner hire Yadav was the executive vice president and general counsel of Patni Computer Systems for almost three years.

Mandal said: "He's a corporate commercial partner and he's one of the most experienced GCs in India."

Yadav was previously also the executive director of PepsiCo India between 2000 and 2006 and the company secretary of Hindustan Lever between 1981 and 1994.

Yadav was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press and Patni Computer declined to comment. Patni Computer also operates the legal process outsourcing joint venture Bodhi Global with AZB & Partners co-founding Zia Mody and Bahram Vakil.

A number of FoxMandal partners had left in the past months, with four partners most recently starting up SRGR Law Offices.

However, Mandal noted that last year's cash-flow crisis of FoxMandal Delhi was now settled. "Every firm has its ups and downs," he said. "We had a difficult time last year and have all put it behind us now and are very aggressive this year."

Dewan said that last year's late payment of salaries was not an issue in his joining: "That was a thing of the past - it's been completely solved."

Mandal also confirmed that he and several senior partners who owned the firm's Noida office property had entered into a sale and leaseback transaction with private third parties late last year.

"We just restructured," he explained. "[The office is] not part of the firm's investment – it is part of a private company which is owned by me and some partners.

"In any case, FoxMandal was a tenant [and] as a firm did not own [the property]."

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