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

JSA partnership votes Vivek Chandy with Amit Kapur into much-slimmed management, in hotly democratic elections

Kapur (left) continues leading JSA with Vivek Chandy
Kapur (left) continues leading JSA with Vivek Chandy

After changing its constitution earlier this year, the partnership of J Sagar Associates (JSA) has today elected senior partner Delhi-based Amit Kapur into joint leadership at the firm, alongside partner Vivek K Chandy.

They will both be serving three-year terms at the firm, which is the only major Indian law firm to be electing its management in a full and glorious democracy.

Bangalore-based corporate M&A partner Chandy, a newcomer to top management at JSA but one of the firm’s top revenue-generating partners, had pipped outgoing joint managing partner Dina Wadia to the post after votes were counted today.

Kapur is understood to have led the vote count.

Chandy, who had joined JSA in 2009 with Murali Ananthasivan (who has since gone independent), has not been part of the previous seven-strong executive committee that had been voted in from 2015 for a three-year term.

Wadia’s joint managing partner Shivpriya Nanda, who had been elected with Wadia in September 2015, is understood to have not stood for the top management position again this time.

It has been a big week for democracy at JSA, with the firm also having voted in five new executive committee members in an election hotly contested by 11 interested candidates on 21 December.

Dina Wadia, Amitabh Kumar, Amar Gupta on excom alongside JMPs
Dina Wadia, Amitabh Kumar, Amar Gupta on excom alongside JMPs

Kapur, Chandy, Mumbai-based Wadia, as well as Delhi-based partners Amitabh Kumar and Amar Gupta were elected into the excom for the next three years (both Gupta and Chandy are newcomers to the committee).

The excom has thereby returned to a headcount of only five members, after having temporarily grown to seven in 2015.

The slimming of management had been hotly debated by the partnership earlier this year.

In a meeting in July, JSA’s partnership had decided to do away with its senior partner plus two joint managing partners model, that had been adopted after the retirement of senior partner Berjis Desai, who handed over to Kapur in December 2016.

Part of the reason for the trimming in leadership was that some partners felt that the various management positions at the firm came with too great of a financial cost to the rest of the partnership.

Additionally, the senior partner position that had been de fact re-created for Kapur in December 2016, had not originally been intended to be part of the top management make-up of the firm.

Update 18:58: JSA has sent a statement that all management terms will run from 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2022, and added the following comments from partners:

As outgoing JMPs (Dina and Shippi) “It has been a wonderful experience leading the firm through its transition period and we now hand over the reins to the next JMPs secure in the knowledge that JSA is on a firm footing and poised to take the next leap forward. The new JMPs have the experience and esteem to lead JSA and continue our journey of building a strong and vibrant institution built on a shared culture and strong values.”

Vivek Chandy said - “Will endeavour to continue the good work of our earlier leaders, men and women, who with foresight and dedication built a formidable institution. Look forward to working with Amit and the rest of the team to take JSA to new heights.”

Amit Kapur said - “I am humbled by the trust and confidence reposed in me by the partnership. It shall be my earnest endeavour to carry forward the task of institutional building as started by Jyoti and Berjis and ably carried forward by Dina and Shippi and now entrusted to Vivek and me, to actualize the vision of JSA to be the finest law firm.”

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