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This article, like many others, was first published exclusively for long-term supporters, 1 hour before everyone else got to read it.

DSK co-founder Satish Kishanchandani, 2 partners to start up new firm with high ‘happy quotient’

It’s still early days and their move is likely to take several months to be finalised

Satish Kishanchandani leaves firm with Nagendra Digankar, Pritha Jha (l to r)
Satish Kishanchandani leaves firm with Nagendra Digankar, Pritha Jha (l to r)

DSK Legal co-founding partner Satish Kishanchandani is leaving the firm with two corporate partners and their teams in the coming months.

He is joined by partner Narendra Dingankar - who also headed up the Pune office of the firm since 2014 - and Mumbai-based partner Pritha Jha.

Kishanchandani had been practising law since 1989, completed his solicitors qualification at Mulla & Mulla, followed by Gagrats, and Anderson & Co for five years. In 1997 he joined Dua Associates, starting its Mumbai and Pune offices, and finally co-founded DSK in 2001 with Anand Desai, initially functioning as a law firm extension of Anderson.

Kishanchandani specialises in corporate, commercial and private equity work.

He commented in a statement: “I have decided to move on after an exciting 18 year journey to set up a focused legal services practice with a difference.”

Elaborating in a phone conversation, he said that “with a difference” meant that the firm “should be more people-centric”.

“More like an institution,” he explained. “So we would not have the name of the partner in the name. Number two: the more critical part is, the happy quotient has to go up. I don’t think lawyers as a community are happy people. You have to be happy working. That’s a little lacking. It’s become more like a machine.”

Narendra Dingankar, a 1998 BCom graduate from Mumbai University, had begun his professional career at Arthur Anderson & Co in 1994 to 1998, moving to Dua Associates in 1998, and joining DSK Legal in 2001.

Pritha Jha, a 2007 ILS Pune graduate, had begun her career at Desai & Diwanji, before joining DSK in 2009 where she was promoted to associate partner in 2016, and partner in 2018.

A DSK spokesperson said that DSK’s Pune office would continue without Dingankar and Kishanchandani, with the firm’s real estate team continuing to be based there.

Kishanchandani said that his new firm would not have a Pune office. “Pune is a different market,” he said. “You need to have an interface, but you really don’t need to have a space there.”

Details of new firm still TBC

Kishanchandani said that he was feeling “a lot of emotions” about leaving DSK behind after so many years, and that details of his new set up were still being finalised.

It could take a few months before everything was complete, he said.

We understand that more than a dozen fee-earners are currently part of the departing three partners’ teams, but details of who is leaving and staying are not yet confirmed.

DSK’s recent journey

Co-founding and managing partner Anand Desai commented: “Satish and I started DSK Legal 18 years ago, and it has been an amazing journey. We respect Satish’s decision to move on and wish him the very best.”

In November 2018, DSK corporate senior partner Tushar Ajinkya had joined Economic Laws Practice (ELP) with his team.

In September 2018, DSK employment head Maneesh Upadhyay had joined J Sagar Associates (JSA).

However, in January of this year, DSK got reinforcements in Delhi: Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas partners Kirat Nagra and Rishi Anand had joined DSK with a team of eight.

DSK Legal will have 13 partners after Kishanchandani, Dingankar and Jha’s departure.

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