India’s largest law firm Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co has agreed to split the 600-lawyer firm after months of legal wrangling over unequal equity shares.
Brothers and managing partners Shardul and Cyril Shroff entered a legal battle last year after parts of late mother Bharati Shroff’s will allegedly disinherited Cyril from an equal share. Late Bharati was the single-largest equity holder in the firm.
The decision to split comes after third-party mediation failed to bridge the rift between the two brothers. The two firms will begin operating as two separate firms as of April 2015 with Shardul managing the Delhi region including the Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Gurgaon offices, while Cyril will take ownership of the Mumbai side, including the Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad offices.
Both brothers will face a tough time in establishing practices in each other’s already saturated markets, especially because of the deep relationships already formed with giant clients like Tata Group, ICIC Bank and Kotak.
Amarchand is India’s largest law firm with around 700 lawyers and 86 partners, with the Mumbai side being slightly larger. The firm had previously planned to grow to 1,000 lawyers and 100 partners by 2017, and previously spoke to Legal Business about revamping its image and reducing its family stake within the partnership to 40% in a bid to open up to non-family members.
The firm comes ranked top-tier by The Legal 500 within banking, finance and capital markets; corporate and M&A; disputes; projects and energy; real estate; and TMT.