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Too many foxes: Fox Mandal Cal distances self from Som & Delhi with newspaper ad due to conflict

Multiple Foxes stir trouble in WB henhouseMultiple Foxes stir trouble in WB henhouse

A keen-eyed reader has brought to our notice that Fox & Mandal, Kolkata, has published an advertisement in the Kolkata-based Telegraph newspaper, stating that the venerable firm, “has no other branch in any part of the country”, especially not Fox Mandal:

Fox & Mandal is legally distinct and separate from any other firm of Advocates.

This notice is being issued to dispel confusion in media reports and otherwise about Fox & Mandal, Solicitors & Advocates.”

When contacted, a partner at the Kolkata firm confirmed that the advertisement was placed by it but declined to comment further.

However, reading between the lines and from what we’ve learned from market sources, the main reason for the notice was a conflict of interest that had been caused for Fox Kolkata’s government work, though that will require a brief tour of history.

Stone cold Fox

Readers may be forgiven for not having kept up with which Fox is which, since there are three firms with remarkably similar names that were not helped by a history of co- and re-branding.

There is the original true-blue Calcutta firm of Fox & Mandal, which was established in 1896 and has 5 partners and around 45 total fee-earners.

Fox Mandal & Associates is the Bangalore-headquartered firm headed by Shuva Mandal, with several offices also in Chennai and Hyderabad.

Then there is Fox Mandal & Co, which is the Delhi-based firm whose managing partner is Som Mandal.

At the end of the last decade, Som Mandal had expanded the brand - together with the Fox Kolkata and South India partnerships - with a short-lived merger with Bombay’s ancient solicitors firm Little & Co, creating FoxMandal Little, and expansion to London.

Famously, after a cash crunch in the firm resulted in the firm deferring salaries, that we had first reported way back in 2009, everything eventually ended in tears, as documented in our long-form analysis in Mint in 2011.

When we last reported about Fox Mandal Delhi, the firm was down to 4 non-family partners in 2011 after the majority had left.

Both Fox Cal and South India had begun extricating themselves from the ill-fated Delhi brand, always quick to clarify that they were separate partnerships and legal entities despite sharing a family heritage and branding (and despite still, to this day, having a joint website, which even more confusingly simply states Fox Mandal).

The requirement for the newspaper notice, however, was likely more practical.

Fox trap

Som tweets (though @FoxMandal is not a law firm)Som tweets (though @FoxMandal is not a law firm)

We understand that it is Som Mandal's high-visibility engagement with and for the BJP that may have endangered some of Fox Kolkata's government work, since West Bengal is famously ruled by the staunchly anti-BJP Mamata Banerjee from the All India Trinamool Congress party.

We had reported in 2016, that Som Mandal ran for West Bengal assembly elections on a BJP ticket (but lost).

Now, more recently, in November 2017, Som Mandal was mentioned in newspapers for representing Trinamool defector Mukul Roy, who had joined the BJP, in a war of legal notices with the nephew of Mamata, Abhisek Banerjee.

Mandal reportedly wrote in his letter to Mamata's kin: “Not only is your client’s conclusion incorrect, baseless and contrary to facts, but your client has deliberately given the alleged meaning and purport to the statements made by our client during the November 10 rally for malafide reasons to suit your client’s convenience.”

That kind of thing probably made Fox & Mandal Kolkata's job in West Bengal more difficult, and hence, this newspaper notice.

It also brings to a close this history tour, since we've run out of puns to use in headings that are sly as a fox (or not).

Click to show 14 comments
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Like +6 Object -0 Foxy 05 Mar 18, 18:06  interesting
i visited a Fox Mandal office in South Mumbai, i was told its more than a 100 yr old firm!
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Like +2 Object -0 FoxWagon 05 Mar 18, 19:20
Absolutely foxy story Kian ! So much for foxiness - First fox to comment :D
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Like +1 Object -0 Darkseid 05 Mar 18, 19:21
Bring the Hound out and let's go fox hunting!
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 05 Mar 18, 22:59
Words of wisdom from Mr Som Mandal, to be printed, notarised and kept on record if Congress ever comes back to power:

Rahul is a "Pappu"He can't understand what Modi ji said at Davos and how Indians are now admired around the World. Where is his Brain???
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Like +5 Object -0 kianganz 06 Mar 18, 10:52  interesting
Oooh, I didn't remember Som was active on Twitter. *clicks follow*

That said, I don't think Congress will be back for at least a decade, if ever...
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Like +0 Object -0 India Shining 06 Mar 18, 15:15
Lets not forget the India Shinning debacle!
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Like +0 Object -1 kianganz 06 Mar 18, 11:02
Have updated article with a picture from his Twitter.

Amusingly, the @FoxMandal account linked to in his profile is not of the law firm:
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 07 Mar 18, 11:46
HA HA!! Please tell him that!
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Like +1 Object -0 NiMo 06 Mar 18, 09:14
If it has been so then what was the need for this notice? Why bother about 'confusion with' media?
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Like +1 Object -0 XFX 06 Mar 18, 19:11
You got the notice and thought u caught them off guard but actually there is nothing much to it. Perhaps (as they have always been) they remain one group Fox Mandal with 3 different legal entities for obvious reasons (to accommodate more than 20 partners in each entity). There is nothing new in the Notice.
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Like +3 Object -0 Old Fox 06 Mar 18, 22:16
Whatever one says, Mr Som Mandal ka kaam kaise bhi chal he raha hai. Not much 'maara-maari', just some good old 'bhai-chaara' and networking in some estd international conferences. Highs and Lows will come and go, but the key is to maintain the continuity which he has managed to do so, beyond any reasonable doubt. Keep it up!
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Like +3 Object -0 Vixen1011 07 Mar 18, 12:28
What does the fox say?
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Like +1 Object -0 kianganz 07 Mar 18, 12:32
Finally! :)
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Like +0 Object -0 Truth seeker: 08 Mar 18, 05:46
It is simply a ploy to avoid its conflict of interest liability that it faces due to conflicting assignments with sharing of confidential assignment information. Sorry a bad try. Your website and letter head gives away everything Mr Debanjan Mandal. Try some other day :-)
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