Khaitan & Co setting up shop in Chennai to expand South India reach

The new office will be led by corporate partner Vivek Sriram and newly-hired dispute resolution partner Arva Merchant

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Khaitan & Co has announced plans to open an office in Chennai in a bid to further expand its reach in South India. 

The Mumbai-based firm said the Chennai office will allow it to ramp up its work with existing and prospective clients in South India thanks to the region’s position as a base for a number of large and medium scale conglomerates and industries in sectors including automobiles, textiles, construction, engineering and pharmaceuticals. 

The office, which will open its doors in the latter half of the year, will complement the firm’s longstanding Bengaluru arm, which opened for business in 1994. It will be its first new office in India since it set up shop in Mumbai in 2001.

It will focus on M&A, private equity and venture capital, general corporate matters, solvent and insolvent restructuring, private and public investments, real estate and dispute resolution matters including domestic and international arbitrations. 

Haigreve Khaitan, the firm’s senior partner, 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.

Khaitan’s Chennai office is set to be co-anchored by corporate partner Vivek Sriram and newly-hired dispute resolution partner Arva Merchant, with more lawyers expected to relocate once the new practice is up and running.

Sriram, who will be moving over from the firm’s Mumbai headquarters, mainly focuses on corporate and M&A work, as well as private equity and venture capital matters. Prior to joining Khaitan in 2013, Sriram made appearances before the Madras High Court and other local tribunals on matters relating to corporate, commercial, election and debt recovery laws. 

Merchant is taking on the new leadership role after seven years as a local independent practitioner. She specialises in litigation, mediation and arbitration in commercial and real estate. Throughout her career, Merchant has racked up significant experience appearing before India’s Supreme Court and the Madras High Court as well as various local arbitration tribunals. 

The firm’s partner headcount sits at 177 following Merchant’s arrival and the recent bumper round of partner promotions  that saw 22 lawyers made up across its offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. 

Earlier this year, Khaitan launched its first international outpost in Singapore, having obtained a license to set up shop in the city state as a foreign law practice in March. The Singaporean office, led by private client practice partner Anuj Shah and strategy director Jean Muller, focuses on cross-border M&A, private and public investments and advising high-net worth Indian families based in Singapore on issues such as tax and success planning.

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