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AZB Mumbai corp partner Bhavi Sanghvi leaves fee-earning behind to become KM partner

AZB doubles down on managing its knowledge
AZB doubles down on managing its knowledge

Many Indian firms have been looking to do more of knowledge management (KM) for many years, with an eye on their foreign counterparts, but the immediate pressures of earning revenues and servicing clients often get in the way. At AZB & Partners, Bhavi Sanghvi, has now transitioned from corporate, M&A and private equity partner to full-time knowledge management, heading up its KM function for the past month-and-a-half.

This may be the first time that a partner at a big Indian law firm is doing KM full-time.

Sanghvi had begun her career at AZB in 2006, after graduating from NLSIU Bangalore, and was promoted to its partnership in 2014.

Explaining her move from transacting in deals to transacting in knowledge, she said: “To be honest, I’ve always been interested in learning and training, and this was actually a good way to also leverage the practice experience I have, to further what we already have in terms of training initiatives but to have it in a more organised manner.”

“Overall, this kind of contributes to the larger role we have to deliver quality and support to clients.”

Eshan Sharma, who had joined AZB Mumbai as its chief operating officer (COO) in April, added: “It made a lot of sense for Bhavi to spearhead this entire function, because she’s one of us and has had 12 years of experience as a transaction lawyer, to leverage all that and impart practical knowledge to our lawyers.”

Sanghvi noted that she would be putting a permanent KM team in place, starting small but expanding this organically. “Earlier we didn’t have a separate team for it, it was done by transaction lawyers.”

Work carried out by the KM function would include supplementing on the job training, focusing on knowledge exchange and learning within the firm, integrating knowledge and technology, and developing practice resources, she explained.

On the technology front in particular, Sharma said he would be supporting Sanghvi on a day-to-day basis.

KM has a reputation for less stressful work hours than fee-earning work, Sanghvi agreed, with compensation generally depending on the role, the firm and a variety of other factors.

In terms of advice for other lawyers on how to make the shift to KM, law firm policies permitting, Sanghvi said that having actually personally done legal work before definitely helps, although there were also good KM professionals who had not necessarily been trained as lawyers. “It helps me tailor things in a more practical manner, which will really get to what people know, in terms of knowledge.”

A KM role would generally suit lawyers keen on learning and imparting knowledge, which “kind of keeps you engaged”.

“It is a way to make other people better lawyers,” she added.

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