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Hemant Sahai bulks up merged corporate strength with new partner

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Hemant Sahai Associates has recruited an AZB senior associate as a partner in Mumbai, after recently merging with Paras Kuhad & Associates to create a national firm called PHA Advocates.

AZB & Partners senior associate Utsa Shome is set to join PHA in November to strengthen the corporate practice of the newly merged firm, which had been depleted by several recent departures there.

Shome said: "I am going to basically develop the corporate side and develop the role. The office is primarily litigation driven but also had lot of corporate work , but needs people with that experience to help and move much more into that area than what is existing."

Shome had been with AZB for four-and-a-half years, having been at Luthra and Luthra and Dua Associates before that.

AZB co-founding partner Zia Mody said: "We enjoyed having Utsa with us and we wish him all the best in his career ahead."

PHA Advocates is the result of the 1 October merger between the law firms of Hemant Sahai and Paras Kuhad, creating a national firm of 115 lawyers in five offices.

The merger was understood to have been in part prompted by the resignation two of Paras Kuhad's Mumbai partners who will now start up a new Mumbai firm called Vidhii Partners with several former Paras Kuhad associates.

Hemant Sahai had lost a number of high profile partners in the past year, including its Mumbai office head and corporate partner Saurabh Awasthi, and Delhi-based regulatory and projects litigator Sitesh Mukherjee who joined Trilegal with a team of four.

The departures reduced the headcount of Hemant Sahai considerably, bringing it down to around five lawyers in Mumbai who will move into the same office as Paras Kuhad.

However, it is understood that the recruitment of AZB's Shome preceded the now successful merger talks between the firms.

Hemant Sahai Associate's legacy Mumbai practice is hoped to expand up to a size of around 15 lawyers in future, PHA's managing partner Hemant Sahai told Legally India at the time of the merger.

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