Where there is a matter of Competition, Pallavi Shroff, managing partner of law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (SAM), cannot be far from it. A noted lawyer and wife of Shardul Shroff (he is the Executive Chairman of the firm), Pallavi, a graduate in marketing management from Mumbai's Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, has never been too far away from law as she is the daughter of P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India.
Shroff was quick to switch to law. She has built her reputation since setting up the practice in the 1980s in Delhi and has also led a crack team that is considered among the best in Competition practice.
But the jury chose Shroff for her heroics in 2016. Last year was the defining moment for the firm, which split in 2015. It landed a big win before the AP Shah Committee for ONGC in the case against Reliance Industries for "unauthorised" drawing of gas from ONGC's adjoining field. "The money ($1.55 billion) has, of course, gone to the government but all our arguments were upheld," says Shroff. However, the most high profile engagement in 2016 was the repetitive wins for Tata Sons and Ratan Tata in the rather bitter Tata-versus-Mistry battle right through the year. "It has been THE spoken-about dispute of the decade literally," she says. The hassle-free clearance for Vodafone India's $23 billion merger with Aditya Birla's Idea Cellular was another achievement of the year. "Everybody was ready for Phase 2, but we got the approval in Phase I. That was stellar." Shroff also challenged the Competition Commission of India's decision to order a probe into Vodafone in a matter of points of interconnect in Bombay High Court.
Since the split took place in 2015, Shroff's priority was to stabilise the firm and set up offices in Mumbai and Bengaluru (their former offices went to the other firm managed by Cyril Shroff). "The first year's priority was almost entirely Mumbai - getting the right people with the right mindset. Now we are close to 150 in Mumbai out of a total 500." In Delhi, the firm added the corporate legal team of BMR, which got five partners and 25 other associates. The Bengaluru office also got a huge fillip with the BMR acquisition as it was well entrenched in that city.
Global Competition Review, a foremost Competition law journal and wire service, ranked SAM 11th among the top Competition teams in the world. The team has six partners and 30-odd associates, one of the largest teams dealing with Competition cases in India. ~