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The Cyril Amarchand v Dorothy Thomas settlement: 30 days handover, 6 months non-solicit

Dorothy Thomas, CAM settle differences, life to go on (with some restrictions)
Dorothy Thomas, CAM settle differences, life to go on (with some restrictions)

The settlement of arbitration between Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) and former Chennai partner Dorothy Thomas have completed today, with the Bombay high court bench of Justice Kathawalla today recording the filing of consent terms.

According to several sources with knowledge of the settlement, which is confidential, Thomas has been working at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (SAM) from 11 October, but under the settlement she will be assisting Cyril Amarchand from 2pm until 7pm for 30 days with handover of matters and work.

However, the agreement is understood to include a six-month non-solicitation provision on Thomas until April 2017, with the exception of a few ongoing matters and clients.

The payment of any outstanding dues to Thomas and her team is not part of the settlement agreement, but the parties are understood to have agreed on the payment of outstanding dues between each other.

Thomas had alleged that CAM had wanted to close the Chennai office and refused to pay dues to her and associates, including bonuses and increments; CAM had alleged in turn that during negotiations it had offered to pay Thomas and her team pro-rated bonuses until their departure but no annually incremented salaries, due to the Chennai office not having been profitable in previous years (though in 2016 the office had exceeded targets until October).

Talks between CAM and Thomas, until her departure to SAM, included the possibility of Thomas setting up her independent practice allied to CAM by year-end, which Thomas had rejected in-part due to the costs and risks involved of setting up a new firm.

Four of Thomas’ team will remain at CAM, including principal associate Edward James; Thomas has joined SAM with around seven fee-earners.

Thomas’ departure to Shardul Amarchand, which we first reported on 9 October, led to a protracted arbitration, including the filing of interim relief in the Bombay high court on 13 October.

The petition included explosive transcripts of WhatsApp conversations between Thomas, her team of associates and SAM chairman Shardul Shroff, allegedly inducing Thomas to leave CAM without serving out her notice period, which Shardul Shroff has denied.

The petition also included an allegation and CCTV evidence that Thomas’ team had removed client files from the Chennai office, which were returned after several days.

Thomas was represented by senior counsel Soli Cooper, with Cyril Amarchand having instructed Beri & Company and Zal Andhyarujina.

We have reached out to the parties involved for comment.

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