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Breaks from Deals / Issue 18

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Many have welcomed this three-day working week, shortened by Monday's Dusshera festival and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday today.

More inside on Hemant Sahai - Paras Kuhad and IPO merger madness.

Particularly lawyers from AZB, Freshfields and Platinum had a long non-working weekend to look forward to after the intense Bharti Airtel-MTN merger talks collapsed.

Capital markets lawyers could also use a break. At least 17 draft IPO prospectuses were filed by a handful of firms in the last week as clients scrambled before the expiry of their March accounts.

And law firm managers deserve a holiday too. Vaish Associates made history by inking India's first best friendship with a Chinese-Singaporean firm, which is looking to attack the Indian market from Shanghai.

However, it is unlikely that the ex-ALMT partner who started up his own firm will have much rest this weekend.

The managers of Hemant Sahai and Paras Kuhad will probably have their hands full too in bedding down yesterday's merger between the firms to create PHA Advocates.

The firms' practice areas are certainly a good fit. "The merger will bring about synergies […] combining strengths of the litigation and corporate practice," comments ex-Paras Kuhad partner Bunty Jha, who left one year ago.

Others close to the firms are less charitable. Some fear cultural clashes and Hemant Sahai in particular has faced a tough year of partner defections.

Granted, managing partner Hemant Sahai has vowed to replenish his old firm's ranks aggressively and PHA has a more modern democratic management structure that they want to build on further.

But somehow the numbers do not quite stack up: will the merged firm be 50 lawyers smaller than both firms were in aggregate? And what will happen to two of their offices?

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