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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.

Shahani arrives to bolster Luthra CM as more laterals on way (but team won’t grow above 3, 4 partners, vows Saraf)

Jitesh Shahani returns, joins Geeta Dhania at L&L cap markets
Jitesh Shahani returns, joins Geeta Dhania at L&L cap markets

Jitesh Shahani has on Monday joined L&L Partners from the Singapore office of Allen & Overy (A&O), three months after we had first reported his impending move in August.

After the departure of four out five of the firm’s capital markets partners and 12 other fee-earners to IndusLaw that month, this brings L&L’s capital markets practice back to two partners, including Delhi capital markets partner Geeta Dhania (who had been at Luthra, as it was previously known, since 2005 after graduating from NLSIU Bangalore).

The practice’s total fee-earner count has now grown to 8, including both partners, though two more hires were in the pipeline to take that number to 10: Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas principal associate Murtaza Zoomkawala who would be joining as a managing associate in December and associate Tripti Pandey had joined earlier this month from AZB & Partners, according to the firm.

Senior partner Mohit Saraf said: “We are actually in advanced talks with a lot of people. We want to hire the right people and are not in a hurry.”

He added that the firm’s capital markets practice would not likely return to a size of five partners. “I don’t think that is required,” he noted, adding that the team would most likely consist of three partners, or possibly a maximum of four, with a total of 15 fee-earners.

“At the end of the day there’s pricing pressure in the capital markets,” Saraf said. “The leverage has to be right.”

As eventually agreed between L&L and IndusLaw in a somewhat messy public aftermath ending in arbitratio nand Bombay high court litigation, both firms have been continuing servicing existing clients and mandates together in a handover period with fees being split between the firms.

However, as we had previously reported, IndusLaw under former L&L capital markets head Manan Lahoty would not be getting public deal credit for those transactions in prospectuses, which would primarily hurt from a perspective of league table rankings.

Return to very first home

Meanwhile, Shahani is joining in Mumbai, where Lahoty was based, though he was spending this week in Delhi.

“I am delighted and happy to be back,” he commented. “Yesterday [Monday] was in fact a nostalgic day for me, because I spent my early years as an associate and a senior associate in the Delhi offices. It’s nice to be back.”

Shahani had spent the first five years of his career at L&L after graduating from Nalsar Hyderabad in 2005. In 2011 he went abroad, joining Linklaters, then Standard Chartered Bank as senior legal counsel in equity capital markets, and Ashurst Singapore capital markets team.

In 2016 he had moved to Baker McKenzie to join partner Pallavi Gopinath Aney, and in 2019 joined Allen & Overy with her.

He has worked with issuers and underwriters on capital markets deals including Rule 144A and Regulation S equity public offerings and private placements, international debt offerings and equity linked offerings of exchangeable and convertible bonds.

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