September 07, 2023: We are delighted to announce that Chennai-based law firm Commercial Law Advisors (“CLA”) will be merging with JSA with effect from 1 October 2023. This merger will significantly bolster JSA capabilities and service offerings in the growing Chennai market, and more broadly across South India, along with its offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
The merger will bring aboard a talented team of legal professionals, comprising 4 partners and 17 associates, who will be integral to JSA's growth and client service capabilities. Post the integration with CLA, JSA is poised to become one of the largest law firms in the Chennai market and southern region.
With the combination of its existing team in Chennai, the Firm’s total strength in Chennai will comprise of 5 partners with diversified expertise and over 20 associates and JSA’s total count now stands at over 480 attorneys including 131 partners.
CLA was set up by Varun Sriram and Bhavya Sriram in the year 2017 with a team of 3 associates. Over the last 5 years, it grew to 4 partners and over 15 associates. CLA has been ranked in the prestigious Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide 2023 with the following commentary:
“CLA has a growing reputation in the Chennai market. The team is fluent in M&A and real estate transactions. The firm has capability in joint ventures, venture capital investments, data protection law and commercial contracts, among other areas.” – Chambers Asia – Pacific Guide 2023
The four Partners joining from CLA are:
Varun Sriram: Varun Sriram who will be joining as an equity partner has been in legal practice for over 17 years with a focus on mergers & acquisitions and transaction advisory. His sector focus includes healthcare & pharma, e- commerce, real-estate, automobile/EV, and financial services. He advices several prominent business houses, promoter groups, funds, and start-up ventures. Varun also focuses on private client practice including those involving corporate reorganization / foreign exchange regulations. Varun has been ranked in the Corporate M&A category of Chamber & Partners Asia-Pacific Guide 2023. He is also recognized by Forbes India in their 2022 Legal Powerlist in the top 100 individual lawyers’ category. Varun was formerly a partner with JSA and prior to that a partner with HSB Partners. He is an alumnus of Symbiosis Law College, Pune and a qualified Company Secretary.
Bhavya Sriram: Bhavya who will be joining as a partner has been in practice for over 16 years. Her focus areas include employment law related matters, estate planning, commercial contracting, and general real estate advisory. She serves as the external member on POSH committees of several companies. Bhavya is an alumnus of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad and previously worked with HSB Partners and Amarchand Mangaldas. Bhavya is also a certified Chartered Trust and Estate Planner under the Board of American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) India.
Akshaya Suresh: Akshaya who will be joining as a partner has 16 years of PQE. She focuses on technology laws, privacy & data protection, and commercial contracting. Prior to CLA, she was the legal head and a key member of the leadership team at Freshworks. Prior to that, she was a senior associate with JSA. Akshaya is an alumnus of ILS Law College, Pune. Akshaya has mentored many startups in setting up their legal and privacy functions. Akshaya was listed in the Forbes India Legal Powerlist, 2022 of top individual lawyers.
Aravind Raj: Aravind who will also join as a partner has been in practice for over 15 years and is a seasoned real estate law practitioner. His focus areas involve real-estate acquisitions, infrastructure projects, joint developments, and project finance work. Aravind also assists the lenders in IBC related matters before the NCLT and securitization proceedings before the DRT. Aravind is an alumnus of School of Excellence, Chennai and previously worked with HSB Partners and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.
With this merger, JSA is well equipped to offer a wider array of legal services and expertise to its clients, further solidifying its position as a prominent player in the Chennai legal market. The addition of CLA's attorneys will strengthen JSA's capabilities in various practice areas, including corporate commercial, banking and finance, with focus on sectors such as financial services, healthcare, real estate, technology, privacy and data protection, and more. This expansion will also introduce new capabilities, including employment laws, technology, privacy and data protection law, fund structures, estate planning, and others in the Chennai office. The merger aligns with JSA's commitment to deliver exceptional legal services that meet the evolving needs of its clients.
This merger is more than just a union of legal expertise; it's a homecoming for one of CLA's founders, Varun Sriram, who has worked with JSA as a Partner in the past. Akshaya Suresh was earlier a Senior Associate at JSA.
Varun expressed his excitement about this reunion, stating, "Returning to JSA feels like coming home. We are all thrilled to contribute our varied experiences to one of India's most eminent law firms and grow the firm’s Chennai office. The depth and breadth of the team will enable us to provide nuanced, practical guidance to clients across the full spectrum."
Our Joint Managing Partners, Amit Kapur and Vivek Chandy expressed their commitment to the merger, stating, "This is a momentous step for JSA, and we are excited to welcome back Varun, and happy to have his partners Bhavya, Akshaya and Aravind join JSA along with their highly skilled team from Commercial Law Advisors into our fold. We believe that their expertise and experience will enhance our ability to provide top-notch legal solutions to our clients, not just in Chennai but across India."
About JSA: JSA is a leading national law firm in India with over 480 professionals operating out of seven offices across India, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. The Firm’s practice organised along service lines and sector specialisation caters to top Indian corporates, Fortune 500 companies, multinational banks and financial institutions, governmental and statutory authorities, and multilateral and bilateral institutions. JSA is recognised as the Indian law firm that led and continues to lead a paradigm shift towards institutionalising and professionalising law firm ownership and management in India.
For further information please reach out to:
Priyanka Pandey (Manager (Corporate Communication)
M: +91 7052397642