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This article, like many others, was first published exclusively for long-term supporters, 3 hours before everyone else got to read it.

Khaitan & Co vows to hire 40 freshers again in 2021, pays bonuses • To ‘shave costs’ via tech, policies as WFH blows open old model

Blue skies ahead at KCo, at least for the time being and for 2021 graduates
Blue skies ahead at KCo, at least for the time being and for 2021 graduates

Khaitan & Co has committed to honour all current job offers made to graduate recruits starting this year and that it would also hire a similar number from campuses as this year, to start in 2021, despite the global looming COVID-19-related depression.

According to a statement by executive director, human resources, Amar Sinhji: “We will also go ahead with all committed hiring - both on campus and for laterals. We will continue to be on the lookout for good talent that is also culturally aligned to our firm values & ethos.”

Sinhji added: “We will have a batch of approximately 40 joining in July or now wherever the law colleges complete their academic year.”

We also asked whether the firm had made plans yet for the upcoming graduate recruitment season, for current students who would start work at the firm in 2021 after so-called Day Zero campus interviews that would have started around about now.

“Yes,” he said. “We will also hire for the batch of 2021 - approximately the same number [40].”

This echoes the statement we had reported from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas on 13 March, whose managing partner Cyril Shroff said the firm had no plans to reduce its recruitments.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Khaitan have historically both been amongst the largest of law firm recruiters on campus, so this will be welcome news for law school recruitment committees, especially considering that globally law firms have already begun cutting costs and future commitments aggressively.

That said, Days Zero have understandably been shelved for now, in light of campus closures, with new dates being currently worked out.

Bonuses as normal, promos upcoming

Khaitan has also completed its internal performance review and promotions process, which would be announced soon, alongside having announced its bonus payments.

“We have today released our bonuses in full for the financial year 2019-20 - across the firm,” Sinhji said, adding that bonuses had been the “same as last year”, or “higher in case of exceptional performance”.

“As we also follow the CTC concept, we do not view the bonus numbers in isolation.”

He added in a statement: “The firm has had a record year and we look forward with optimism to the year ahead, inspite of the current pall of gloom cast by these unprecedented events.

“We are in fact looking at the current situation to relook at the way we work. We will become even more technology focussed and use what we have learned from this situation to shave off costs and improve processes and delivery quality.”

Shaving of costs

We asked Sinhji how such savings could be made.

“We will look at more ‘work from home’ options and thus shave off real estate costs,” he said. “This period has also taught us that travel is not necessarily essential. The same results can be achieved with the use of technology.”

For nearly all firms and businesses, the pandemic has been an unprecedented trial by fire, in many cases, for firms to stress test - in many cases for the first time - their remote working facilities and systems.

This has worked well, according to Sinhji.

“Team work became seamless and if we relook at how we structure our teams & work flows - we just may not need to have so many people working on deliverables in the future,” he said.

“Even geographies ceased to matter - as long as the most competent person was on the assignment. That has blown to smithereens the concept of growing (physically) across different geographies.

“As long as the final product / service that is delivered is the best possible, the recipient could not care which physical location it originated from.”

25% savings in support costs possible

Sinhji continued: “Same with many others costs, such as local travel, physical libraries and so on. Even on the employee engagement front - the engagement without physical presence can be almost as deep, when done digitally. In fact the reach is far more and the whole process far more efficient too.”

Back office and support services could also be “centralised”, according to Sinhji, “irrespective of physical location, using technology”.

“At a rough estimate one could look at shaving off 25% or more of those costs.”

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