India in grip of talent war as FoxMandal forges ahead with recruitment drive

India in grip of talent war as FoxMandal forges ahead with recruitment driveIndian firm FoxMandal Little has hired four new associates as part of a major recruitment spree that has boosted the firm’s lawyer count by 63 in the past year.

In the past few weeks, ­FoxMandal has hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer London corporate assistant Vidur Bhatia and former UK Ofcom legal adviser Harman Singh Sandhu as an associate in the competition department.

Litigation associates Sandeep Mahapatra from Indian rival Dhir & Dhir Associates and Akshat Hansaria have also come on board. Hansaria previously worked with Rajiv Mehra, standing counsel to the Indian government.

The hires follow the opening of a new office in Kerala, South India, in August.

FoxMandal managing partner Som Mandal told The Lawyer: “Our plan is to grow because Indian firms are still ­smaller compared with many major international firms. We also need to grow because the client expects work in a timely manner – many of the firms that are smaller in India still have issues in ­satisfying clients in respect of timelines. It’s important for a firm such as ours to have enough people on the scale required.”

FoxMandal also operates a foreign lawyers programme that has recently seen it take on a Swedish assistant judge and a UK law student on three to six-month secondments.

FoxMandal’s ;latest hires follow considerable ­recruitment activity in the Indian market, with Indian firm Luthra & Luthra last week scooping a four-lawyer team from IP ­specialist ;Anand ;and Anand.

Senior Anand IP and entertainment partner Ameet Datta joined Luthra in Delhi, with senior associates Mohit Lahoty and Himanshu ;Bagai ;and ­associate Thomas George.

They bring Luthra’s IP capacity to two partners and 10 lawyers. The firm also has three lawyers in Bombay and one in Bangalore.

Luthra managing partner Rajiv Luthra said: “I’m thrilled to have him as part of the family. He and the other three lawyers add an amazing strength to our ­current capabilities.”

He added that Luthra would be looking to grow its patents expertise next, as the majority of its strength is currently in pure IP and trademarks advice.

Anand managing partner Pravin Anand declined to comment on Datta’s departure but said that the firm was constantly replenishing its talent.

The Indian legal sector is experiencing an escalating war for legal expertise from inside and outside of the country, resulting in a full-blown salary war between local firms. (The Lawyer, 14 April).

Last month Allen & Overy’s non-exclusive Indian alliance firm Trilegal lost three of its 10 partners, who quit to set up their own firm, Phoenix Legal (TheLawyer. com, 16 October).

Clifford Chance made waves ;when ;it ;hired ­Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co ­partner Rahul Guptan from Mumbai for its Singapore office (, 19 August).

Earlier ;this ;year, ­Amarchand lost two equity partners, who also set up an independent firm (The Lawyer, 18 February).


FoxMandal Little:
Lawyers: 300-plus
Offices: In India: Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Dhaka, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida, London, Bangladesh

Luthra & Luthra:
27 (16 corporate, 11 litigation)
Lawyers: 160
Offices: Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi

Anand and Anand:
Lawyers: Around 65
Offices: Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Noida