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Three new Khaitan & Co Mumbai partners; Associate bonuses 30 to 50%


Khaitan & Co has promoted Mumbai associates Joy Jacob, Ashwin Mathew and Savita Singh to its partnership and announced associate bonuses of as much as 90 per cent of annual salaries at the top end.

Jacob specialises in infrastructure, Mathew in private equity and corporate and Singh is a real estate practitioner.

Khaitan & Co has also announced its 2009-10 financial year associate bonus payments, which on average ranged between 30 and 50 per cent of annual salaries, although in some cases reached 90 per cent, according to associate sources.

Partner Rabindra Jhunjhunwala said that despite the recent aggressive lateral hires the firm did not want to stop growing. "The idea of taking our lateral hires to keep growing, strengthening our existing team, complementing our core areas and to be truly full service."

He conceded that managing last year's growth at the firm would be difficult but that senior partners would have to spend more time on management to bed down the process.

He added that the firm would have to show it was transparent in its internal partnership career progression by rewarding good and competent associates.

Mathew, who had been with Khaitan & Co for three years after finishing an LLM in Cambridge, said: "It's been a long road and it's a very good feeling."

In respect of internal promotions vis-à-vis lateral hires he noted: "The volume of work is such that what they're doing makes complete sense and the hiring in areas which are viewed as growth areas of the future."

All three new internal partners are Mumbai-based. Jhunjhunwala said that the promotion process across the firm's offices was complete for this year.

Khaitan & Co operates an all-equity partnership where shares are determined by a variety of factors.

Khaitan & Co associate sources told Legally India that associate bonuses for the past financial year were slightly better than last year, when the firm had taken a more conservative view of market conditions.

It is understood that the majority of bonuses ranged between 30 and 50 per cent of annual salaries, although in some cases this figure rose up to bonus payments equivalent to 90 per cent of salaries.

"Truly there is no upper limit," commented Jhunjhunwala. "It is entirely dependent on associate performance, at whatever level he or she may be. We like to reward our people and we like to make our people feel that at the end of the year they are going to be paid what they are due or elevated to what they are due."

Typically, five-year qualified associate salaries at Khaitan & Co can be around Rs 20 lakh ($45,000) per year or higher, according to data from Legally India's associate engagement survey from late 2009.

For newly qualified associates the standard annual salary at Khaitan & Co is between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 11 lakh ($22,500), according to the firm. [Correction: starting salaries were originally erroneously stated as being 6 lakh]. [clarification 2: the Rs 10 to 11 lakh figure provided by Khaitan included potential bonuses and other benefits]

According to associate engagement survey data, most bonuses at Khaitan & Co in the 2008-09 financial year were between 20 and 30 per cent of annual salaries.

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