J Sagar Associates (JSA)

Editorial analysis
    • Established: 1991
    • Partners: 70
    • Lawyers: 270
    • Recommended for: Banking; Business Crime Defence; Capital Markets; Competition; Franchise; Internet and e-Commerce; Life Sciences; M&A; Oil and Gas; Project Finance; Public Procurement; Real Estate; Regulatory Communications; Trade and Customs; Trademarks
    • Split of work: Domestic 65% International 35%
    • Offices: Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi
    • Practice Areas: Banking and Finance; Capital Markets and Securities; Dispute Resolution; General Corporate Commercial; M&A and Private Equity; Projects; Regulatory and Policy Tax

    The past year saw the retirement of Jyoti Sagar from his role as managing partner, though the firm will continue to bear his name and he will remain on board as chairman. Former Mumbai managing partner Berjis Desai has been at the helm since April, and spent last year focusing the establishment of the firm’s shipping law practice in June, following a lateral hire from Singapore, as well as the expansion of the media and entertainment law group – something he achieved with the hire of Nandini Mehta as a partner in the Mumbai office.

    Sources around the world are unequivocal in their praise of JSA: “We recommend them because we find them very ethical, professional and their turn around time is amazing”.

    PEOPLE & PRACTICES

    Despite his new responsibilities, Desai continues to be internationally recognised for his work in banking law and business crime defence. He specialises in financial and securities matters, structured finance, securitisation and over-the-counter derivatives as well as offshore investments. His “world class” disputes practice encompasses expertise as both an arbitrator and counsel, in international, commercial and domestic arbitrations and white-collar crime proceedings. Similarly well thought of for his business crime work is Mumbai partner Somasekhar Sundaresan, who combines his work in this area with a focus on corporate governance and debt and equity capital markets, earning listings in Who’s Who Legal in all three disciplines. He counts among his clients a number of investment banks, issuers of securities, stock brokers, funds, foreign institutional investors, non-banking financial companies, stock exchanges and securities depositories, and was named in our “40 under 45” survey of India’s leading young lawyers last year. Chair of the firm’s banking and finance practice Dina Wadia meanwhile “ranks alongside Berjis” as an “excellent” provider of banking law advice, particularly in investment fund matters, cross-border transactions and financings, as well as being “highly visible” in the public procurement space.

    The firm’s most prolific lawyer in terms of Who’s Who Legal listings is Bangalore partner Sajai Singh, who appears in the franchise, IT, life sciences and telecoms editions of the publication. He concentrates on transactional work with a focus on representing emerging technology companies involved in inbound investments in India, venture capital and private equity investments, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and M&A deals. Also in Bangalore, partner Probir Roy Chowdhury is known for his corporate transactional work in the high technology industry, with a particular focus on cross-border M&A.

    Gurgaon-based Sumanto Basu is chair of the projects practice at JSA and is considered a “leading light” in energy matters. His expertise extends to electricity, oil and gas, LNG and renewables projects, advising numerous international energy companies on their operations in India. He has also advised many large Indian oil and gas companies with regard to domestic as well as international investments. Another prominent name in the firm’s energy ranks is Venkatesh Prasad, who advises on upstream production-sharing contracts, joint operation agreements and general field development issues, having worked extensively in the project finance in the upstream and midstream oil and gas projects. He is also listed in our “40 under 45” survey. Known for his work in cross-border M&A deals, Mumbai partner Akshay Chaudasama regularly acts both for foreign companies entering India and Indian companies in their outbound acquisitions, particularly in real estate, a department he leads within the firm.

    Farhad Sorabjee is the head of JSA’s competition law team, and regularly appears before the Competition Commission as well as appearing in numerous complex multi-jurisdictional commercial arbitrations and disputes. He is an “expert” in restrictive and unfair trade practices and receives a prominent listing in Who’s Who Legal’s trade and customs edition. Another “key” member of the firm’s competition team, Amitabh Kumar assisted the Indian government in drafting the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2007, and regularly handles abuse and cartel cases as well as merger filings and compliance issues.

    CLIENTS

    JSA has featured regularly in our headlines over the pastyear, acting in several of the most significant and highvaluematters in the market.

    The firm advised Italian auto-component manufacturer Streparava Holdings in a two-part deal that culminated in the acquisition of a 100 per cent stake in its joint venture with India’s Sansera Engineering; advised Actavis Group in the sale of its subsidiary Actavis Pharma Manufacturing to Hyderabad-based Vivimed Labs; assisted Celfrost Innovations during the acquisition of its commercial refrigeration and food service products business by Middleby Commercial Food Innovations; and helped Germany’s Brenntag Group expand its presence in India with the acquisition of the chemical and food ingredients distribution division of India’s Zytex Group. JSA was also involved in Baring Private Equity Asia’s proposed acquisition of a 42 per cent stake in Mumbaibased outsourcing company Hexaware, in which it advised the promoters of Hexaware.

    In April, the firm represented Adani Power, which appealed to India’s Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for tariff adjustments owing to the high price of imported coal and a scarcity of domestic resources. The groundbreaking decision, which was welcomed by the Indian power sector, meant that if a power project becomes commercially unviable due to circumstances beyond its control, it may qualify for compensation through higher tariffs. Amit Kumar successfully argued on behalf of Adani that India’s CERC must strike a balance between the short-term interest of lower tariffs for consumers and the long-term interest of continued supply.