Dhir partner Jay Cheema joins Clasis for int’l reach, to start energy-infra practice

Clasis Law has added an energy and infrastructure practice with former Dhir & Dhir Associates energy and infrastructure partner Jay Cheema, who joined the firm as partner in Delhi effective today.

“I am both for oil and gold,” said Cheema, adding, “I only feel that this [practice area] is bound to grow both nationally as well as internationally as India’s energy needs become more demanding. There is a great emphasis by Indian companies making acquisitions overseas – essentially I see my role there in terms of advisory.

“A fair bit of my practice is in international energy law. I have advised clients in South America, Africa and China and intend to strengthen my international energy law expertise.” Clasis has a ‘best-friend’ preferential referral relationship with international firm Clyde & Co.

Cheema said he established the energy and infrastructure vertical at Dhir & Dhir, which had been primarily known for reconstruction and telecom work. He left the firm on 30 October.

He graduated as a lawyer from Panjab University in 1991 and obtained an LLM from the University of Ottawa in 1994, after which he pursued a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Toronto in Canada to become a Canadian-qualified lawyer. He graduated in 1995 and worked at Fasken Martineau Walker for a year before returning to India to join MNC Legal. Cheema left MNC Legal as a partner in September 2011 and joined Dhir.

Vineet Aneja, Partner and head of Clasis’ Delhi office said: “Energy and infrastructure are core sectors in the context of Clasis Law’s strategic plan; Jay’s arrival adds a complementary depth of capability to our current offering and in an area where we are witnessing increasing client demand and potential.”

The firm also started its indirect tax practice in September after recruiting Grant Thornton indirect tax director Manoj Mishra as head of the practice in Delhi.

Dhir & Dhir CEO Manju Mohotra commented: “It was nice to have Jay and we wish him all the best.” She added that associate partner Santosh Pandey, who had been handling some of the firm’s infrastructure work after joining the firm in August 2012 when the infrastructure practice of the firm “really picked up”, would take charge of Cheema’s specific oil and gas vertical alongside his existing projects in road, power and ports. The firm would not hire someone immediately to replace Cheema, she said, as the firm’s associates also shared an excellent rapport with projects clients.

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