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Four 2012-13 SLS grads + BCom/LLB start up Numen disputes boutique with hybrid-eat-and-kill-cum-sharing equity partnership

Khanna, Thomas, Raman, Bhandarkar start up law firm
Khanna, Thomas, Raman, Bhandarkar start up law firm

Four young lawyers - Arush Khanna, George Thomas, Lakshmi Raman and Chaitanyaa Bhandarkar - have jointly entered into an all-equity partnership called Numen Law Offices to focus on multi-disciplinary dispute resolution and criminal litigation firm with offices in Delhi and Mumbai, according to a press release.

Arush Khanna is a 2012 Symbiosis Law School (SLS) Pune graduate, who had begun his career at Karanjawala & Co, then worked between 2013 and 2016 at the Chambers of Sanjeev Anand, and had then co-founed Trinaya Legal. He also holds a Masters in Business Law from NLSIU Bangalore.

He will head the firm’s commercial disputes and anti-trust practice.

George Thomas is also a 2012 SLS graduate, who had been litigating since then at the chambers of AORs Rupesh Kumar, Ejaz Maqbool and most recently Gaurav Agrawal (from 2017 to date).

He is leading the firm’s Supreme Court practice from Delhi.

Lakshmi Raman is a 2013 SLS graduate, who had worked with advocate Satish Maneshinde for six years. She is heading Numen’s criminal law practice.

Chaitanyaa Bhandarkar is a BCom graduate (from HR College of Commerce & Economics in 2011) and a 2014 graduate of SVKM’s Jitendra Chauhan College of Law. He had previously been an articled clerk at FZB & Associates until 2015, and had then co-founded multidisciplinary dispute resolution firm CDP & Co from 2015 to 2017, followed by running his own chambers.

He is leading its real estate, commercial and insolvency and bankruptcy laws vertical from Mumbai.

Khanna said in the press release: “I’ve known George, Lakshmi and Chaitanyaa from college days and collaborating with them to set up a firm seemed like a natural progression. Right from our first discussions to simultaneously open offices in Delhi and Mumbai, we knew we were on the same page.”

The firm’s name, Numen, implies “spiritual force or influence”, he said, which was “symbolic with our vision to be recognised as a cultured, competent and a solution-driven law office in the coming years”.

Legal League Consulting vice president Nipun Bhatia assisted the four lawyers on coming up with partnership structure, which he said was a a “vertical-based structure” but where everyone was a full equity partner.

That means that each partner would operate as a separate profit centre that could make autonomous decisions about their own practice. “Having said that, at a firm level, there is also commonality of profit pool from where profits are diverted to reserves and sharing between partners,” Bhatia added. Such hybrid method was “based on how well each partner’s practice has performed and certain elements of common sharing amongst partners in true partnership spirit”.

The model would “promote financial performance, without compromising on the true spirit of sharing amongst partners”.

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