Consistently rated as Who’s Who Legal’s Indian law firm of the year thanks to the sheer volume and diversity of listings the firm earns in its pages, Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co is instantly recognisable around the world for the quality and innovation of its work. For
many “it transcends the simple label of an ‘Indian firm’ and competes with the likes of the Magic Circle or the White Shoe firms on their own terms”, and its aggressive expansion strategy will only serve to cement this position further in the coming years. Several lateral hires and partner promotions, coupled with a focused strategy aimed at increasing the gender diversity of its work force have freed Amarchand of the clichéd image of the traditional Indian family-run law firm, even while the strength of the firm’s central Shroff dynasty remains a major draw for clients around the world. India’s single largest law firm, with a partnership of 86 and offices in the country’s seven largest cities, it is strategically placed to service emerging markets and investors while helping existing clients leverage policy change and market trends with its innovative and “highly responsive” counsel.
Shardul and Cyril Shroff are the firm’s co-managing partners and “India’s leading legal minds”, according to one source. They are certainly among the country’s most prolifically talented lawyers, earning international recognition in numerous disciplines: Shardul appears in Who’s Who Legal’s banking, life sciences, energy, public procurement, corporate governance and project finance rankings, while Cyril earns additional listings in the capital markets, M&A and mining editions. Pallavi Shroff heads the competition practice at the firm and is also known for her disputes work, acting in numerous high profile cases of cartelisation, abuse of dominance and merger filings, and advising the government of India on competition law and policy as a key member of the SVS Raghavan committee. Fellow competition specialist Harman Singh Sandhu is singled out for particular praise by peers, with one source describing him as “very competent and thorough. He is always on top of the details and grasps economic concepts very well.”
Nivedita Rao was named in Indian Lawyer 250’s “40 under 45” survey of the country’s leading young lawyers in 2013 in recognition of her M&A and court-based restructuring work, which sources hailed as “assured and innovative”.
One of three lateral partner hires the firm has made in the past year, Sandip Beri is a member of the firm’s general corporate practice in Delhi, to which he brings 27 years of Indian and US-based work in M&A, banking and structured finance and private equity. Nikhil Narayanan’s recruitment further enhanced the corporate team in 2013: he brings 13 years of corporate law and investment banking experience in London to the role. Ajit Warrier is a new addition to the litigation practice and has extensive experience in contractual, corporate and commercial disputes, infrastructure and engineering disputes, debt recovery laws, consumer litigation, family disputes, writ petitions and property-related litigation.
Among Amarchand’s high-profile engagements in 2013 was Vedanta Resources’ $1.7 billion dual-tranche bond offering, in which the firm performed due diligence and prepared the documentation with respect to Vedanta’s Indian operations, as well as acting for the bookrunners, which included Barclays Bank, Citigroup Global Markets, JP Morgan Securities, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, RBS, Standard Chartered and the Singapore branch
of Deutsche Bank. The firm was also involved in the Jet/Etihad deal, in which Cyril Shroff, competition partner Nisha Uberoi and project finance partner Santosh Janakiram represented Etihad alongside lawyers from DLA Piper.
Amarchand’s M&A team had a busy year, acting in numerous headline-grabbing deals. The firm advised HeidelbergCement India in the sale of one of its cementgrinding facilities to JSW Steel; acted for US private equity fund KKR & Co in its proposed acquisition of a minority stake in Hyderabad generic injectable pharmaceuticals company Gland Pharma; represented Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in its acquisition of steel company Concast India; and advised Kanpur-based trading house Frost International in the acquisition of 33.5 per cent of highsecurity registration plate operator Agros Impex India. The “outstanding” capital markets team was retained by Fresenius Kabi Singapore in its delisting of Fresenius Kabi Oncology from the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India, and Godrej Properties in a rights issue for 21.5 million equity shares, a deal in which it also acted for the lead manager Kotak Mahindra
In addition to its traditional strength areas, the firm also advised Dubai’s Noor Islamic Bank PJSC in connection with a US-dollar denominated secured term murabahah facility to fabric company Alok International (Middle East) FZE.
The “world class” disputes team has argued for Facebook Inc and Facebook India in various civil and criminal proceedings before the courts across India; Vedanta Group before the Bombay High Court; been involved in BALCO v Kaiser before the Supreme Court of India; and represented the CII and FICCI on the Special Presidential Reference in relation to the allocation of natural resources.