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This article, like many others, was first published exclusively for long-term supporters, 13 hours before everyone else got to read it.

‘Bullish’ Khaitan moves to 350-seat office from Delhi to Noida • In Bangalore shifts to client WeWork with double capacity for 150

Khaitan new Delhi-Noida offices in Max Towers (via Max Estates)
Khaitan new Delhi-Noida offices in Max Towers (via Max Estates)

Khaitan & Co has moved into a managed offices in Bengaluru operated by its client WeWork, with a seating capacity of 150, which is nearly double its current local headcount; in the National Capital Region (NCR) it has relocated to a state-of-the-art but more traditional office space in Noida from Delhi.

However, despite WeWork being known for providing flexible seating and co-working arrangements, the move to a WeWork-managed space in Bengaluru by the law firm predates the Covid-19 crisis and the firm’s decision that everyone will by default be working from home until the end of this year.

The same is the case in the NCR, where it has moved into the Max Estates-owned Max Towers property, which is near the Noida Sector 16 metro station, and between three flyovers (DND Flyway, Dadri Main Road/ Noida Expressway, and Amaltash Marg).

Amar Sinhji, Khaitan & Co executive director for human resources (HR), said: “Relocating to a better and bigger space in both Delhi and Bengaluru was on the cards for a while now, given our steady growth and our commitment to provide a modern working environment to our members and clients.”

“This move is a significant milestone in our long-term expansion plans in India,” he said. “We are very bullish about our future in Bengaluru and Delhi and hence have planned for almost double the existing capacities.

“We foresee steady organic growth in both the cities with an expansion of our current client base and the growth of some of our niche practices.”

Delhi to Noida

In the NCR, the move to two floors in Max Towers (see picture above) gives Khaitan total seating for 350 people.

This is in addition for capacity for another 138 clients and visitors in spaces such as conference rooms, etc, plus space for another 20 in the basement.

That is space for more than another 100 staff in the NCR region, where Khaitan currently has a total headcount of 240, including 188 lawyers and 53 non-lawyers providing support and other services.

Managed Bengaluru space

Marketing image from hip WeWork Embassy Quest location in Bangalore Richmond Town (via WeWork website)
Marketing image from hip WeWork Embassy Quest location in Bangalore Richmond Town (via WeWork website)

In Bengaluru, the WeWork India property is its so-called Embassy Quest location in Richmond Town (which is owned by the Embassy Group real estate giant, as all of WeWork India’s local operations).

Khaitan was paying WeWork for a full seating capacity of around 150 members in the office (rather than only having an option to scale up later), confirmed Sinhji, which was “almost double our current member strength of 80, to account for steady organic growth” in Bangalore.

The deal had been in the works for nearly two years and was not at all related to Covid-19 (or its announcement last month that it would make working-from-home the default option until 2021).

That said, in a report by Moneycontrol about Khaitan’s move, the ability to easily scale up further (especially since the space is fully managed) was also part of the rationale. Bangalore-based senior partner Rajiv Khaitan had said: “The nature of the workspace required by law firms has been evolving over the years, and the needs have particularly changed during this global pandemic. WeWork’s unique ability to provide fluid, flexible and managed workspaces made the decision to partner with a leader such as WeWork an easy one.”

Currently Khaitan has 77 staff in Bangalore, including 55 lawyers (including 12 partners), plus 21 non-lawyer “shared services” staffers.

The average age of staff at the office was a young 34, Sinhji confirmed.

Perhaps that is in line with WeWork’s well-known branding as a hip young workspace with lots of amenities for its tenants (even if the company itself may have struggled in ensuring any profitability in its breakneck expansion and having faced a global working-from-home pandemic where physical office spaces have increasingly become optional).

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