Partha Mudgil, the co-founder and COO of Linklaters’ pioneering Nakhoda tech group has left the firm. He will be replaced by Shilpa Bhandarkar (pictured above), the current Global Head of Innovation. She will continue in her innovation role at the same time, the firm told Artificial Lawyer.
The firm also confirmed industry rumours that other members of the Nakhoda team focused on ‘contracting technology … have also left to pursue other opportunities’. It described the departures as ‘a few’ – though this figure is disputed by City insiders.
Meanwhile, it’s understood that some of the leavers departed in late summer 2019, but the firm – perhaps understandably – has tried to keep the moves under wraps.
Artificial Lawyer understands that the group’s CTO, Victor Paraschiv, has also left and that although the firm has been keen to say it was a small number of staff members that had quit the 20-plus team inside Nakhoda, the total figure of departures is likely a lot more than ‘a few’.
Various figures are circulating the market at the moment, from just under half the team having left, to the majority of those who were permanently involved having departed since late summer 2019.
Artificial Lawyer has asked Linklaters to specify the exact numbers who have left Nakhoda. A spokesperson replied with the following statement: ‘We won’t be disclosing headcount figures for Nakhoda.’
However, the global law firm stressed that this was not a case of Nakhoda scaling back and that it would keep going. Also, Edward Chan, a partner at the firm who has helped to run the group, is very much staying at the firm.
As to why people have left, this site understands that there was a desire to explore new opportunities and move in new directions beyond what was currently possible at Nakhoda, given its present strategic remit.
A spokesperson in addition told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We can confirm that Partha Mudgil, COO of Nakhoda, has left Linklaters after 8 years with the firm. We are grateful for the leadership he’s given to Nakhoda as a founding member of the team. A few members of Nakhoda’s contracting technology team have also left to pursue other opportunities.
‘Our flagship technology platform will continue building bespoke, transformative legal tech products for our clients as part of Linklaters’ wider innovation offering.’
The move is something of a surprise as Nakhoda had been doing great work around its flagship product ISDA Create, a web-based negotiation platform, which is used by more than 50 top-tier global banks and funds.
Linklaters would not comment on where Mudgil was headed.