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JSA start-up M Dhruva hires corporate partner, grows by 50%


J Sagar Associates (JSA) spin-off M Dhruva & Partners has recruited a corporate partner, its first senior associates and two associates as the firm has begun its transformation to full-service outfit.

Payal Bhakta will join M Dhruva as a corporate and commercial partner from an in-house role at Lodha Developers, having been a senior associate at Dua Associates around eight months previously.

Founding partner Nishit Dhruva said: "We are trying to make full service law firm and now we are looking for the big ticket work.

"Still the big ticket work is eluding us but as you can see from the names, you've got some good names now."

The firm has also hired former JSA associate Tanya Raghani as a senior associate in real estate and corporate.

Raghani had been with JSA's Mumbai office since 2002 but left the firm around nine months ago after she married JSA capital markets partner Vikram Raghani.

JSA's internal policy does not allow relatives or spouses to both work at the firm.

M Dhruva has also recruited associates Karishma Dalvi and Soumita Godbole who respectively joined straight from law school and a short stint at Bharucha & Partners.

One month ago the primarily litigation focused firm began with eight lawyers after setting out independently from JSA. M Dhruva has now moved into its new Mumbai office and consists of 12 lawyers, including litigation partner Prakash Shinde and real estate and capital markets partner Manthan Unadkat.

Dhruva admitted that the current leverage of the firm was top-heavy. "We have two concerns: one is the space and the other is getting good people," he said. "It's not going to be top heavy always – we will concentrate on hiring senior associates and associates now."

"I think by July, August we should be looking at [a size of] 20 lawyers," he predicted, noting that the firm would have to find new premises as there was only space for two further associates.

The name M Dhruva & Partners was coined after the firm restarted outside of JSA. Before joining JSA, Nishit Dhruva had been running his father's former practice M Dhruva & Co as a sole proprietor.


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