Indian giant Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co has lost two equity partners in an unprecedented move among India’s jealously guarded equity partnerships.
A 13-lawyer team led by Mumbai-based husband- and-wife pair MP and Alka Barucha, who are believed to hold 15 per cent of the equity between them, are understood to have left to create an independent law firm.
MP Barucha specialises in high-end litigation and arbitration, while Alka Barucha specialises in corporate.
Their son Justin, a principal associate at Amarchand, will join them, along with two senior associates and eight assistants.
The departure of the couple leaves the majority of the remaining equity in 375-lawyer Amarchand held by just four members of the Shroff family: husband and wife Cyril and Vandana Shroff, who head the firm’s Mumbai office, and Cyril’s brother and sister-in-law, Delhi-based Shardul and Pallavi Shroff.
The Baruchas have no formal tie-up with any international firm, although both have close personal relationships with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s India head Pratap Amin.
Like all foreign law firms, Freshfields is prohibited from practising in India under the country’s protectionist regulations, but will seek to position itself ahead of any possible future liberalisation of the Indian legal market.
Liberalisation has been promised by the Indian government, but is fiercely opposed both by India’s major corporate equity partners and many of India’s large number of sole practitioner litigators.
Freshfields’ magic circle rival Linklaters has close ties with Indian firm Talwar Thakore & Associates.