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The new Khaitan & Khaitan strategy, rising from Khaitan Sud ashes with shiny old Trilegal office


Umesh Khaitan’s newly rebranded firm Khaitan & Khaitan – the Khaitan Sud & Partners (KSP) breakaway - has moved away from its previous top focus of project finance, to focus on corporate governance, private equity and venture capital and environment law practices. It has also moved to a much bigger office.

Khaitan & Khaitan was formed early this year, as the rebranded version of Khaitan Sud & Partners (KSP). The KSP partnership had dissolved before September 2015, Khaitan told Legally India today.

Khaitan & Khaitan’s partnership consists of five salaried partners from KSP, two non-partners from KSP who were promoted to the partnership and one laterally hired partner.

The 10 partners, including managing partner Umesh Khaitan, hold equity, he said. A fixed percentage of the total equity was held by Khaitan and his son Ashutosh Khaitan while the remaining equity is divided amongst the eight non-family partners.

The equity held by each of the eight non-family partners will be variable and subject to their individual performances and other factors, and will be decided by the firm, said Umesh Khaitan.


Khaitan had co-founded Khaitan & Khaitan in 2003 with his colleagues from Khaitan & Co. Subsequently, as other lawyers joined the partnership the firm rebranded to Khaitan Jayakar Sud and Vohra.

“I was quite flexible with the idea”, commented Khaitan, adding that he was supportive of other partners wanting “to see their name” in the partnership.

As Jayakar and Vohra exited the partnership, Malini Sud remained and then her son Tanuj Sud joined the partnership from Dua & Associates, the firm became Khaitan Sud & Partners (KSP).

Finally, after Malini Sud exited the partnership to start up Capex Legal, and Tanuj Sud exited to start up Gravitas Legal, only Khaitan and his son Ashutosh Khaitan remained in the partnership.

“Finally we’re back to the original,” commented Umesh Khaitan on the firm being rebranded to Khaitan & Khaitan.

Practice in focus

Project finance had been the primary focus area of KSP, but corporate governance mandates for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) now account for the biggest source of the firm’s revenue.

Khaitan said that the project finance market was dead owing to Rs 500 crores of bad debt declared by the Reserve Bank of India and released a list of defaulting banks that owe money to various public sector banks.

“Every bank is a defaulter now”, he mused, adding that he did not expect any new projects to come from the banks. He said that mandates of the existing clients may turn into debt restructuring mandates or litigation.

Tanuj Sud had also told Legally India last year that within KSP’s traditional focus on project finance the firm had seen a shift from routine project finance work to debt restructuring transactions. When KSP dissolved its Motor Accidents vertical in 2014, Umesh Khaitan said that the firm was still continuing to do high end insurance matters.

Umesh Khaitan today told us that 40 per cent of Khaitan & Khaitan’s revenue now comes from SME mandates, where the firm is helping traditional family-run businesses with corporate governance.

Private equity and venture capital, environmental law and litigation are the remaining sources of revenue, with 20 per cent of it coming from each of those areas.

Khaitan said that the firm has relationships with various angel funds which refer them to the start-up businesses they are interested in investing in. The firm’s environmental practice advises power sector companies, among others, in complying with environmental regulations.

“We still do have many litigation cases, which I don’t like”, he remarked. He said that the litigation practice isn’t the way to go as a revenue making strategy for law firms in the future, and they should instead focus on coming up with solutions to avoid litigation.

Swanky new office

Khaitan & Khaitan has rented out to a third party the 4,000 square feet, two-storeyed Defence Colony space which he had first purchased in 2003 and from where the firm had always run.

For its own office, last month the firm leased a 9,000 square feet space in South Delhi’s Kailash Colony A-38 ground floor and a basement that was formerly occupied by Trilegal.

In this new office the firm has a cafeteria and four boardrooms – features that the old office lacked.

Separate partner cabins, and separate team-wise seating areas for associates, senior associates and interns are also available in the new office.

The Lajpat Nagar office, which went to Tanuj Sud and his start up law firm Gravitas Legal but that carried the logo of KSP when it was first launched in September 2015, was purchased by Tanuj Sud.

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