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HSA’s Amitabh Sharma ends 3-year tenure as managing partner while Sahai works overtime to steady ship post DSK exits

Amitabh Sharma ends management tenure at HSA, but remains loosely with firm
Amitabh Sharma ends management tenure at HSA, but remains loosely with firm

Amitabh Sharma, the managing partner of HSA Advocates who had joined in April 2016 from Khaitan & Co, has laid down his management duties at the firm.

Sharma will formally be continuing in an of counsel role with the firm, although it is understood he would theoretically also be free to work with other law firms in this capacity.

Founding partner Hemant Sahai told us today: “Amitabh has infused lots of energy and brought in several beneficial practices for firm and practice development.

“Most importantly, he challenged the status quo and forced people to perform or perish... So we have seen some of our legacy barriers to growth being challenged and precipitated change. In the current and prospective scenario, change in attitudes was necessary.”

We have reached out to Sharma, who declined to comment further.

Sharma had joined as a managing partner in 2016 with a brief to take over all management at the firm, after Sahai had suffered serious injuries after a motorcycle accident.

Since then, Sahai is understood to have been focusing primarily on fee-earning and, by 2017, much of the management of HSA was handled by Sharma jointly with a collegium of senior partners partner Aparajit Bhattacharya, Anjan Dasgupta and Abeezar Faizullabhoy, with consultation of Sahai on major decisions.

Bhattacharya and Dasgupta have since joined DSK Legal with their teams, and Faizullabhoy has moved to Argus Partners.

Sahai told us that while he had no plans to appoint a new managing partner any time soon, the firm would come up with a revised management structure or collegium of senior partners shortly, with day-to-day management of finances, billing and other issues in any case handled (and continued to be handled) by chief operating officer (COO) Jayamon VP.

In addition to fee-earning, we understand from sources close to the firm that Sahai (and the rest of the firm) have been working overtime to retain clients of the DSK departing duo and their teams, in addition to lining up a number of lateral hires to fill any gaps over the past weeks: corporate partners Dipti Lavya Swain and Gaurav Sahay had joined in Mumbai and Bangalore respectively, with litigator Faranaaz Karbhari joining as counsel in Mumbai.

In a press release about Sharma’s departure sent late yesterday, Sahai stated:

I am grateful to Amitabh for bringing his varied experience, immense energy and for introducing diverse new management practices. He has been instrumental in defining a new growth trajectory for the firm and cleaning up significant legacy barriers to growth that we had been encountering. I am happy that Amitabh will continue to be engaged with the firm as an of-counsel, to manage his client relationships that he has regularly been advising over the years apart from pursuing other interests outside the firm. I wish him all the best in his endeavours.

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