Khaitan & Co boosts South India presence with Assentio Legal bolt on

Firm says acquisition of the Chennai-based boutique aligns with intended focus areas for its upcoming office in the city


Khaitan & Co has acquired boutique law firm Assentio Legal to bolster its regional presence in Chennai.  

The deal comes just a few weeks after the Mumbai-based firm announced its plans to open an office in Chennai in the latter half of this year in a bid to further expand its reach in South India. 

Assentio Legal’s three founding partners —Thriyambak Kannan, Rohan Cherian and Renu Gopalakrishnan — and their team of associates and staff will join Khaitan’s Chennai and Bangalore offices in July. 

Kannan’s practice focuses on corporate, commercial and civil litigation related to the insolvency and bankruptcy code, while Cherian’s expertise lies in general corporate and commercial advisory, as well as M&A, private equity, venture capital and transactional support across various sectors. Gopalakrishnan, meanwhile, specialises in representing businesses on inbound and outbound acquisition strategies and mining and trade financing.  

Founded in 2018, Assentio Legal has business advisory, dispute resolution and transaction teams operating in Chennai and Bangalore, as well as in Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad through its associates, according to the firm’s Linkedin profile.  

Khaitan said the Assentio Legal’s founding partners’ combined expertise lines up with its planned focus areas for the Chennai office, which include 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 are delighted to welcome the Assentio Legal team into our firm. They bring in the right set of talent and values which makes them an ideal match for our presence in South India. We are certain that with their deep experience and understanding of the South Indian market, their excellent track record and skill set will enable us to significantly contribute to our clients with enhanced expertise and execution capabilities.” 

The firm’s partner headcount sits at 180 with Kannan, Cherian and Gopalakrishnan’s arrival and the recent bumper round of partner promotions that saw 22 lawyers made up across its offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. 

Khaitan’s Chennai office is set to be co-anchored by corporate partner Vivek Sriram and dispute resolution partner Arva Merchant, with more lawyers expected to relocate once the new practice is up and running. The firm said the office will complement its long standing Bangalore 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.

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