Khaitan & Co has expanded its presence in South India by merging with boutique law firm Assentio Legal, which has offices in Chennai and Bengaluru.
The merger becomes effective on 1 July 2021, from when the name Assentio Legal will cease to exist, and its partners, Thriyambak Kannan, Rohan Cherian and Renu Gopalakrishnan, will come on board to Khaitan, joined by the firm’s team of associates and support staff.
“It was clear that a merger would compound the benefits for everyone involved,” Cherian told India Business Law Journal. “Assentio Legal could benefit from the depth and reach of a large and reputable firm like Khaitan & Co, and it automatically gave Khaitan a steady and substantive footprint into the Chennai legal market.”
He added that a single meeting with Haigreve Khaitan, the senior partner at Khaitan & Co, was sufficient for them to know they were “similarly aligned” and ready to “take the leap unconditionally”.
Assentio Legal emerged from a combination of the individual law practices of Cherian and Kannan in January 2018, with Gopalakrishnan joining later, in January 2019.
“Each of us had experience in working in national law firms, counsel chambers and as independent legal practitioners before coming together to establish Assentio Legal,” said Cherian.
The focus of the Chennai office will be advising clients on general corporate and commercial advisory, M&A, private equity and venture capital, restructuring, private and public investments, real estate and dispute resolution matters.
“A strong local litigation practice is a very important factor for local clients,” said Cherian, commenting on the city’s legal market. “The Chennai legal industry is sparsely populated with professional law firms. Traditional business houses in Chennai still rely on preferred advisers in the local market, but also see value in law firms that can deliver in the face of more commercially savvy counterparties.”