Allen & Overy‘s (A&O) Indian referral firm, Trilegal, has lost three of its 10 partners, with the trio leaving to set up an independent firm with a senior banking partner from Indian firm Kochhar & Co.
Trilegal’s Delhi-based junior equity partners Abhishek Saxena, who focuses on project finance, corporate and capital markets work, and Saket Shukla, who works on corporate, insurance partner and technology matters, have left the firm along with Mumbai corporate and finance partner Sawant Singh. They will be joined by former Kochhar & Co senior partner and banking specialist Manjula Chawla.
The new firm, called Phoenix Legal, will specialise in corporate and finance work. The intention is that the firm will have 10 associates by the end of the month, including at least three from Trilegal.
Trilegal founding partner Anand Prasad said: “These were great guys, we all enjoyed working with them and we’d love to still have them around. But I guess we were set up as a lockstep system and they probably just wanted to get to the top a lot faster and decided to set up a replica of Trilegal.”
Saxena, Shukla and Singh joined Trilegal as associates when it was founded eight years ago and were made up to the equity around two years ago.
In addition to its five founding partners, Trilegal is left with two partners that were made up this year and around 100 other lawyers. The firm operates a 13-year lockstep for the five founding partners and a 10-year lockstep for new partners.
A&O formally entered into a non-exclusive referral relationship with Trilegal earlier this year, promising the Indian firm training, know-how and work (TheLawyer.com, 22 February 2008). Trilegal currently has one associate seconded to A&O.
A&O’s India head Alex Pease said: “We’re very happy with the arrangement with Trilegal, it is going extremely well. The referral arrangement we have is with those founding partners who are still there and who continue to provide in-depth coverage in all the sectors and geographical areas that we need to cover.”