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Manju Mohotra, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Singhania & Partners has joined Dhir & Dhir Associates as CEO with effect from August 1, 2012.
Manju, who is not a lawyer by profession, has been managing law firms for the last 14 years.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Manju says, “It was by accident that I came into Singhania & Co after having spent about 12 years in various general corporate industries. My main forte had always been marketing along with management”.
Manju joined Singhania & Co. as a General Manager – Business Development in 1998 and within 6-7 months she was made the CEO. Ravi Singhania started his own firm Singhania & Partners in 1999 and Manju joined him as the CEO along with a couple of more lawyers. She was associated with Singhania & Partners till April 2012 and then went on to take a much desired break.
Manju said, “When I joined Singhania & Co., being a non-lawyer, it was not easy. I am talking about 14 years back when the concept of a non-lawyer managing lawyers or law firms did not exist because it is a very typical role wherein management was in the hands of family members and promoters.
DC Singhania took on the challenge and took me on board despite reservations from some of the members in the firm. DC Singhania roped me into the management and that was my grounding time wherein I learnt the ropes of management of a law firm. I later managed to successfully execute at Singhania & Partner.”
“I am a quick learner, I poured myself into the legal files and tried to observe as much as I could both by participating in meetings, talking to lawyers and reading up the matters executed by the firm. Law is any way common sense!”
“Before joining Singhania & Co., I was working with Wisitex Foundation and was also Director for Infrastructure and Investment. This helped me in networking with the infrastructure companies from a totally different perspective”.
After joining Singhanias, she developed the firm’s infrastructure practice and coordinated with agencies on various infrastructure projects. Manju always had the feeling that the infrastructure sector in India would witness tremendous growth. She managed relationships and coordinated with financial consultants, engineering consultants, financial institutions and regulators.
She understands the need of both the Private Sector and the State/Center authorities and has worked on various consortiums-Legal, Financial, Engineering to come together for Infrastructure Projects; both Public Private Partnerships (PPP) or otherwise.
She is a people’s person and “loves interacting and meeting people”.
Talking about her decision to join Dhir & Dhir, Manju said, “The last 12 years has been a great experience, wherein the firm saw a decent growth. I thought it was time to move on and take on new challenges. Dhir & Dhir is a mid level firm. They are the leading law firm of India in restructuring and finance, telecom advisory and litigation in India, the firm is expanding its practice both in corporate advisory and infrastructure space. I felt it was a good fit for me”.
Talking about her role as CEO, Manju said, “It is too early to comment. However, the larger vision is to take the firm to the next level and I will put in my best to accomplish that. The role in general is the same as what I did at my earlier firm, which is from looking out for good talent to networking to number crunching to expanding the branch offices”.
Sharing her thoughts on law firm management, Manju said, “Like any industry, management is crucial. Combining lawyering and management does get tough…. Its not necessary that all lawyers can be great managers. However, today many law firms in India are also looking at this aspect very seriously and are wanting to bring in professional managers to run the firms are looking at this issue seriously.
Talking about her plans at Dhir & Dhir, Manju said, “We want to take the firm to the next level. We are amongst the top firms in restructuring and insolvency. We would like to expand it further. Secondly, infrastructure is another sector where we would like to further expand. We are building the team in the corporate side specializing in infrastructure space and project finance space.”
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Dhir & Dhir Managing Partner Alok Dhir said, “I am delighted to welcome Manju Mohotra as CEO in the law firm. She brings with her a long and successful experience of management in the legal services sector and we look forward to her acting as a catalyst in contributing to the growth of the firm, enabling us to provide highly qualitative professional services to our clients in each area of expertise of the firm viz Restructuring & Finance, Private Equity, Infrastructure, Energy & Power, Telecom, Real Estate, Litigation and Arbitration and General Corporate Advisory, etc.”
Recently, Santosh Pandey too has joined as Principal Associate in the Corporate Advisory team of Dhir & Dhir Associates.
On Santosh’s joining, Alok Dhir said, “I am delighted to welcome Santosh Kumar Pandey to our Corporate Advisory team in Delhi. Santosh specializes in Projects, Infrastructure & Energy [PIE]. His induction will further strengthen Projects, Infrastructure and Energy practice of the firm which services clients in India, China, Africa and South America, The PIE team is known to provide cutting edge advisory in cross border projects and infrastructure work.”
Prior to joining Dhir & Dhir, Santosh worked with Singhania & Partners for more than 5 years where he was primarily involved in various infrastructure projects apart from general corporate advisory.
Dhir & Dhir has 6 partners and over 50 lawyers in its Delhi and Mumbai offices.