Boutique tax law firm ASC Legal merges with Phoenix Legal

Aseem Chawla, founder and managing partner of ASC Legal, has decided to merge his boutique tax law firm with mid-sized firm Phoenix Legal.

The move comes at a time when a number of law firms are hiring tax practitioners ahead of the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the country’s biggest tax reform that is likely to be introduced in July.

“This development significantly broadens and deepens our tax practice,” Manjula Chawla, co-founder of Phoenix Legal, said in a statement. “This step is also relevant in the context of the continued efforts of the government of India to ease the doing of business in India and in particular, the shift to fiscal neutrality through the imminent GST regime.”

Aseem Chawla said the merged firm will provide a full range of niche legal services to clients. Chawla, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, had started his boutique tax practice after leaving Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co in 2012. ASC Legal advises on indirect tax advisory and litigation work, and cross-border regulatory and compliance advisory services.

Recently, full-service law firm Khaitan & Co had hired two senior executives—Abhishek Rastogi and Rashmi Deshpande—from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to ramp up its indirect tax practice. Similarly, Zia Mody-led AZB & Partners has hired Deepak Chopra, who was counsel to the revenue department before joining law firm PDS Legal, to take care firm’s tax litigation practice in New Delhi.

A couple of months ago, Shiva Nagesh, the head of indirect tax vertical at the country’s largest real estate company DLF Ltd, had joined Delhi-based boutique tax law firm Nitya Tax Associates as partner. He will look at the firm’s strategy and advise its clients on indirect tax related disputes.

Similarly, tax advisory firm BMR & Associates LLP had appointed Payal Tuli, a former executive at automaker BMW India and an expert in indirect taxation, as a partner in its Gurgaon office.

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