Shroff brothers settle dispute; to split law firm Amarchand & Mangaldas
Photo Credit: Shardul Shroff

Brothers Shardul and Cyril Shroff, who jointly run Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co (AMSS) as managing partners, will divide the country's top corporate law firm as part of a settlement of their family dispute, as per a statement issued on Wednesday.

The firm said all disputes between the two brothers has been successfully mediated and settled followed by an arbitral award.

Cyril Shroff has agreed not to contest and agreed for grant of probate to the will and codicil of his mother, late Bharatiben Shroff and Shardul Shroff agreed not to press the suit.

The statement said a detailed family settlement has been arrived at for division of family properties, professional practice and allocation of assets. The two branches of the family have agreed to split and bifurcate into separate entities independently carrying on the profession of law.

It did not provide further details but both the brothers were already heading their own regions, with one controlling the Delhi office and the other the Mumbai practice, while maintaining a common brand and other resources as part of the same firm AMSS.

The Bombay High Court has accepted the family settlement and the arbitral award, and also granted probate to the will of late Bharatiben Shroff and disposed of the suit between the brothers.

The panel of mediators included retired judge B N Srikrishna, senior advocate Harish Salve and ace dealmaker Nimesh Kampani.

The dispute

The dispute is over the implementation of Bharatiben Shroff’s will. She had willed her equity in the law firm to her elder son, Shardul, though an earlier agreement indicated that the family’s equity holding would be equally divided. Bharatiben was the single largest shareholder of the law firm with 22.5 per cent stake.

The original will dates back to 2012, and in that she had said that the 52,000 equity units in her name in AMSS, could be bought out by each brother with the proceeds going towards charity. However, in the codicil to the will made in January 2014, she said that she was disinheriting Cyril and his family because of the ill-treatment meted out to her.

Elder brother Shardul Shroff had filed a case against Cyril, his wife Vandana Shroff, partners L Viswanathan, James Abraham, George Goulding, Ashwin Maheshwari and the law firm itself.

Earlier, P Chidambaram, Shardul's lawyer, had disclosed that Bharatiben Shroff’s will talked about a strained relationship with Cyril since 2003 and that she was allegedly “reduced to a mere showpiece”.

AMSS is the country's largest law firm with over 600 lawyers and more than 80 partners. The firm was started in 1917 by Amarchand Shroff, the grandfather of Shardul and Cyril. They took charge in 1994 after the death of their father, Suresh.

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