Khaitan & Co has announced that it would open an office in Chennai later this year with a relocation from Mumbai and the hiring of dispute resolution independent counsel Arva Merchant as a local partner in the city.
Merchant has been practising since 2008, after her LLB at ILS Pune and an LLM at UCL in London and has been independent as a Chennai-based advocate since 2014.
She specialises in litigation, mediation and arbitration in commercial and real estate, and has experience before the apex and Madras high court, and tribunals.
Khaitan’s Chennai office would formally only open later this year, the firm said in a press release, and would focus on advising on pretty much the full gamut of corporate and private equity work, as well as real estate and dispute resolution.
The office would be headed by existing Mumbai-based Khaitan corporate partner Vivek Sriram and Merchant as resident partners.
Sriram will be relocating from Mumbai to Chennai and focuses mostly on corporate and M&A work, as well as private equity and VC matters as well as some disputes in Chennai.
Senior partner Haigreve Khaitan said: “We believe that Southern India holds great promise for the firm, and it was only a logical choice for us to set up our presence in Chennai after Bengaluru to cater to our growing set of clients in this region.
“We are extremely thrilled and looking forward to extending our support and exceptional service to all our existing and prospective clients on the ground.
“Vivek’s decision to anchor the Chennai office made it very easy to take the plunge. We are already in talks to expand our local talent pool including with some of our younger colleagues relocating to Chennai and focussing on setting up our customary state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities and also forging new relationships.”
According to the release, Chennai was “aligned with the Firm’s broader strategic view of the Southern states of India being a solid base for a number of large and medium scale conglomerates and industries” in various sectors, particularly in automobiles, textiles, cement, engineering and pharmaceuticals.
Khaitan & Co is now 175 partners large with Merchant’s joining, and now has offices in Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Singapore, having got a licence to operate in the island nation as a foreign lawyer practice in March 2021.
Phoenix Legal had closed its Chennai office in 2019.
Arva MerchantWork history From: Jul 2014: Counsel | Independent Practitioner, Self-EmployedFull-time (Chennai) Dec 2018 – Apr 2021: Partner | Counsel, Arunkungumaraj & AssociatesFull-time (Chennai) Jul 2010 – Jun 2014: Advocate at the Chambers of M/s. Satish Parasaran, R. Parthasarathy and Rahul Balaji, Advocate, Madras High Court (Chennai) Dec 2008 – Apr 2010: Associate with Advocate Shaunak Thacker, MumbaiEducation 2002 – 2007: ILS Law College, B.S.L., LL.B., Law 2007 – 2008: UCL, LL.M., Civil Procedure and International Trade Law 2019 – 2019: Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs , Course on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Laws and Procedure, Law Vivek SriramWork history From: Apr 2018: Partner, Khaitan & Co (Mumbai Area) From: Aug 2013: Senior Associate, Khaitan & Co (Mumbai Area) Jan 2011 – Aug 2012: Advocate, Madras High Court 2011 – 2012: Associate, Vichar Partners Aug 2009 – Dec 2010: Associate, Majmudar & Co, International Lawyers 2004 – 2009: Student, NLUJEducation PSBB, , 2004 – 2009: National Law University, B.B.A, LL.B (Hons.), 2012 – 2013: Northwestern University School of Law, Master of Laws (LL.M.),