ALB India Super 50 2020

In the first India Super 50 Lawyers list, ALB puts the spotlight on standout private practitioners in the country when it comes to client service. These lawyers were selected based on client recommendations sent directly to ALB.

The list is in alphabetical order, and certain key lawyers have been profiled below.

50Vineet Aneja, managing partner, Clasis Law

Aneja, who has spent 10 years at Clasis Law, focuses on corporate commercial, employment, M&A and JV, FDI, secretarial compliance, retail, hospitality, insurance, white-collar crimes and private equity. He has advised numerous clients including a Spanish company engaged in the seafood business in relation to restructuring of its Indian joint venture company. In addition, he is advising a UK based company (engaged in business of manufacturing gas cylinders) concerning its exit from an Indian joint venture company as well as a U.S.-based company engaged in software licensing, as part of its global merger with another U.S.-based software company, in the acquisition of the Indian subsidiary. According to Aneja, perseverance and the dedication to excel are the two main factors that have brought him this far. He adds that finding solutions to the various challenges faced by him as an entrepreneur as well as in the professional workspace such as regulatory hurdles and other roadblocks keeps him motivated to do better each time and helps push himself to the maximum extent.

Rahul Beruar, managing partner, Beruar & Beruar

Beruar is an intellectual property rights specialist. He has been involved in some key work over the past year which included IP portfolio for the India Today Group, IP protection and enforcement for Kohler Co and Kohler India Corporation, copyright enforcement for leading international and domestic publishing giants, trademark enforce-ment for Novo Nordisk A/S, trade-mark portfolio for the Springer Nature Group, trademark enforcement for CBRE group, Indian and international trade-mark portfolio for Gabriel India Limited and Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation of India. Beruar believes that there is no one-size-fits-all kind of solution and therefore, each client requires a fresh/customised approach. “Accordingly, my approach to client service is to first understand the issues in detail, strategise and then execute so as to increase the chances of success. I believe that every problem has a solu-tion and I am guided by this belief in my work,” Beruar says. “The passion to excel by hard work motivates me to do what I do. We are born with a clean slate and its upon us to fill the slate the way we want it.”

50Shweta Bharti, senior partner, Hammurabi & Solomon Partners

Bharti leads the disputes and litigation practice and acts for organisations in a variety of disputes arising out of corporate commercial matters as well as insolvency, bankruptcy, and restructuring processes and also advises various companies, private individuals and entrepreneurs. She is an expert in complex infrastructure, engineering and construction-related arbitrations, joint venture and contractual disputes as well as corporate insolvency, and advises insolvency practitioners, funders, debtors, creditors, business stakeholders and individuals on the management and recovery of debt and assets. She has also successfully represented the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority against a case filed by the airport operator of Hyderabad International Airport challenging the fixation of tariff about the User Development Fees before TDSAT. According to Bharati, being a learner of law with an insatiable hunger to learn and excel is what motivates her, and the client’s commercial interest is paramount.

Manjula Chawla, co-founding partner, Phoenix Legal

Chawla co-founded Phoenix Legal in 2008. She is an expert in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate governance, corporate restructuring and finance, corruption and compliance investigations, employment and general corporate and commercial matters. She has advised numerous clients over the years including assisting Collins Aerospace and other business units of United Technologies Corporation in filing their claims against Jet Airways in the corporate insolvency resolution process. She has also advised Dell on the India part of the acquisition by Boomi Inc. of Unifi Software as well as advised Cooper-Standard Inc. on the India leg of the transaction involving divestiture of its AVS business to Continental AG. Chawla believes that gaining client’s trust is most important in cementing and sustaining client relationship on a long-term basis. Her motivation comes from client appreciation and a sense of achievement when she helps closes a deal or helps her client in overcoming a difficult situation and mentoring young lawyers and students.

Vishwang Desai, managing partner, Desai & Diwanji

50Desai has spent more than 28 years at his firm. He practices corporate and finance law and specialises in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, buy-outs, spin-offs, demergers, divestitures, project and structured finance, infrastructure and energy project development, cross-border transactions, and more. He has been involved in complex restructurings and buy-outs of large public and private corporations. He has represented governments, government corporations, large public and private corporations, global private equity and hedge funds, lenders, multilateral agencies in large and complex transactions in a variety of sectors. Desai’s inspiration comes from a constant desire to improve, innovate and provide a high-quality service to clients. According to him the approach to client services is simple. He says: “We aim to be proac-tive and alert, professional, reasonable, commercial in our evaluations, updated in our knowledge and straightforward in our dealings.”

Krishnava Dutt, managing partner, Argus Partners

Dutt, who founded Argus Partners after leaving Amarchand Mangaldas in 2009 , specialises in corporate/M&A, banking and finance and corporate restructuring and insolvency. He has closely worked with several large corporate groups, investors, private equity funds and renowned banks and financial institutions. Dutt has also worked closely with both the central and state governments in India while advising on several transactions including disinvestments of public sector undertakings and framing of policies. Among the clients he represented, Dutt advised HDFC on its acquisition of a stake in Yes Bank as well as GRUH Finance (a subsidiary of HDFC) on its merger with Bandhan Bank. Dutt says that it is his “dream to create a leading and a lasting professional institution” which keeps him motivated. Commenting on his firm’s approach to clients, Dutt says: “We constantly work towards our goal of becoming the most trusted advisor for our clients, where clients should be comforted that once an assignment is handed over to us they are in safe and trusted hands.”

50Satish Kishanchandani, managing partner, Pioneer Legal

Kishanchandani has been practicing law since 1989. In April 2019, he set up Pioneer Legal along with two partners. He focuses on private equity, M&A and strategic litigation. He has advised various multinational and domestic companies in the areas of corporate, commercial and other related laws. In the past year, Kishanchandani represented on deals including KKR’s acquisition of Eurokids from Gaja Capital, Excel Crop Care’s merger with Sumitomo Chemical India (the first reverse merger in 18 years) and acquisition of Best Value Chem. Kishanchandani says that his approach to clients is simple. Just “put yourself in their shoes and deliver as you would expect from your own service providers. With that, you can never go wrong.” He adds that his motivation comes from his passion for law. He says, “People think that lawyering cannot be creative, but that’s because they can’t think out of the box. There is tremendous scope for creativity.”

Manoj Kumar, founder and managing partner, Hammurabi & Solomon Partners

Kumar is an expert in public policy and regulatory, and corporate M&A. He has advised on matters relating to policy and regulation, corporate governance, corporate and M&A, cross-border transactions, disputes, crisis and reputation management and strategies, real estate, infra projects, IPR management and protection, project finance, business restructuring and legal and regulatory compliance. He has represented Fertilizer Corporation of India (FCIL) in the joint ventures of various fertiliser plants such as the Ramagundam Project, Gorakhpur Project, Sindri Project, Talcher Project and Korba Project. He has also assisted Adani Power in forming a cutting-edge strategy and rendering end-to-end solutions about Power Purchase Project between Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL) and Adani Power. Besides this, Kumar advised JBM Auto on the purchase of the joint venture company JBM Magnetto automotive. Kumar says that happy and victorious clients along with a highly contented team is what keeps his focus and motivation intact.

Nidhish Mehrotra, co-founder and managing partner, ANM Global

Mehrotra is the co -founder and managing partner of ANM Global which was founded in 2009. He is a litigation, TMT and corporate M&A specialist and has advised certain Indian companies on how to raise funds through FCCBS, GDRs at different foreign exchange market. In addition, he represents clients on information technology laws, cyber-crimes and cyber compliance. Mehrotra has counselled clients like Cosmos Animation Singapore, Applause Entertainment and ZEE Entertainment among others. His motivational mantra is “thinking out-of-the-box while curating strategic legal solutions for our clients” as well as “being trusted by the clients and team members for fulfilling their needs and growth.” Regarding his firm’s approach to client service, Mehrotra says: “The firm believes in helping to identify business opportunities as well as advising on how to avoid pitfalls. Our main preoccupation is to provide each client with a service suited to its requirements and needs.”

Zulfiquar M. Memon, managing partner, MZM Legal

Memon who founded MZM Legal in 2005, is well versed in white-collar crime, dispute resolution, commer-cial litigation and transaction support. As the managing partner his role is defined in building client relations and converting them into business. In the past year, under his guidance, the firm was successful in adding some interesting clients and mandates. Its work included a massive ED investigation where they represented a French company. It also represented a large Indian manufacturing company in South America in an ICC Arbitration, advised Fortune 100 companies in India towards their internal investigations and successfully settled some complicated matrimonial disputes. As not all clients have the same needs, Memon believes that “it is very important to understand what a client expects, and accordingly we must mould ourselves into that shape to provide the best client service. I am blessed to have a very competent team who manage the assignments while I give my time to the clients to listen to them and explain the developments to them in my way.” Memon says that his greatest motiva-tion stems from the fact that he started MZM Legal in a 150 sq. feet office with only two people, but has now managed to reach this far. “Constant active discus-sions with the clients and keeping them engaged and aware is most appreci-ated and encouraged in MZM Legal,” says Memon.

Neeraj Menon, national head and partner – energy, infrastructure and natural resources, Trilegal

Menon, who has spent 12 years at Trilegal, focuses on energy, infrastructure and natural resources. He has led his team on numerous cases including representing the investor consortium on the diligence of the under-lying thermal power project assets and regulatory aspects of the debt resolution of RattanIndia Power. He has also assisted Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors, Global Infrastructure Partners and International Finance Corporation among others. Menon believes that the vicarious pleasure of advising on matters that lead to tangible results in the form of real assets that are built, seen and experienced is his source of inspiration. He says, “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to help develop public utility assets be it power plants, transport systems and heavy industries. The outcome is very gratifying at a personal level as these assets are built for the long haul and contribute immensely to improving our lives.” He adds that demonstrating high levels of professional ethics and personal integrity at all times and in all situations is a manner in which he approaches clients.

Mustafa Motiwala, head of dispute resolution and litigation practice and Mumbai head, Clasis Law

Motiwala’s experience includes dispute resolution and litigation, arbitration, insolvency and bankruptcy, and more. He has been involved in drafting contentious court and tribunals’ proceedings as well as strategized complex contentious proceedings and is actively involved in arbitration. Having spent over six years at Clasis Law, he has advised clients in various cases including when he represented the Indian subsid-iary of a French multinational rail trans-port company in relation to an arbitration proceeding initiated by the Indian Subsidiary against a public sector undertaking and advising about anti-arbitration injunction. Motiwala’s main goal towards his clients is to offer the best possible and practical solution. “I strongly believe that providing correct and timely advice will be more beneficial to the client than involving them in the rigmarole of the legal processes and this effort has often been appreciated by my clients,” he says.

L. Badri Narayanan, executive partner, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

Narayanan focuses on general corporate, M&A and PE, taxation and intellectual property. He is an executive partner at Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan where he has spent 13 years. He advises companies on mergers and acquisitions, business transfer agreements (slump sales), joint ventures and share acquisitions and has been involved in both domestic and cross-border trans-actions. He also deals in gaming laws and structuring of gaming transactions relating to poker, fantasy games, lottery and other games from the regulatory and tax perspective. He has appeared before the Law Commission of India for amendments in the gaming laws and related tax laws on behalf of the Gaming Federation. Among his note-worthy work in the past year, Narayanan advised the world’s leading lithium-ion battery manufac-turer in a deal which involved acquisition of an industrial property by the client in India with an intent to expand their operations internationally. He also represented a Japanese company engaged in providing high-efficiency geothermal power generation system and counselled another Japanese company engaged in the manufacturing of electronic components.

Vineet Shingal, partner, Khaitan & Co

A partner in Khaitan & Co, Singhal is a specialist in corporate, M&A, private equity and venture capital. He was a co-recipient of the Young Lawyer of the Year (Law Firm) at the ALB India Law Awards 2020. He has represented numerous clients over the years. Some of his notable work includes advising the promoters of Essel Propack, i.e., Ashok Goel Trust and its affiliates in relation to the sale of its controlling stake in Essel Propack to Blackstone, through a competitive bid process for a consid-eration of approximately $462 million. He also advised Investcorp and the Mirae Group concerning the investment by Investcorp, the Mirae Group, Nexus Ventures and Trifecta Venture Debt Fund amounting to $56 million in Zolostays Property Solutions. Shingal says that the relationship with the client is based on trust and that comes with understanding the client’s business and their approach and appetite towards risk-taking. In his approach he has always been upfront in highlighting the risks involved for the client. “Once that is understood, it is all about utilising the legal acumen towards resolving the given issue and providing practical solutions within the legal framework,” says Shingal.

Sonal Kumar Singh, managing partner, AKS Partners

The managing partner of AKS partners, Singh is an expert in dispute resolution and arbitration. He advises Indian and multinational clients on several issues pertaining to domestic and international arbitration and commercial disputes and has been practicing in the field of arbitration since 2006. At this juncture, he is not only involved in high stake disputes in India, but is also involved as the leading counsel in International Arbitrations under ICC, LCIA and SIAC rules, amongst other institutional rules. He has been appointed as an arguing counsel in the Supreme Court of India for the Government of Jharkhand. Recently, he has handled one of the biggest arbitration victories for a PSU wherein, in a matter worth 30 billion rupees ($404 million), he success-fully defended Airports Authority of India in an arbitration instituted by a consor-tium of an Indian and Danish Company. Singh says that he is motivated by the confidence shown by the clients in his firm’s capabilities and expertise.

Nisha Kaur Uberoi, partner and national head, competition law practice, Trilegal

With over 15 years of experience, Nisha Kaur Uberoi specialises in competition law. She was the recipient of the Woman Lawyer of the Year (Law Firm) at the ALB India Law Awards 2020. Uberoi led Trilegal’s competition practice to some major wins in the past year including obtaining CCI’s approval for WABCO Holdings, about its $8.31 billion acquisition by ZF Friedrichshafen AG with structural remedies in Phase I. She also obtained CCI’s approval for Tata Sons, GIC (Ventures) Private Limited and SSG Capital Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.’s, in their $1.16 billion acquisition of stake in GMR Airport. Additionally, she successfully defended Japanese auto parts manufacturers, Aisan and Shindengen, in relation to allegations of cartelisation before the CCI. Uberoi is currently representing Intel Capital and Qualcomm Ventures concerning the competition law aspects of their respective investments in Jio Platforms. Uberoi says that her ability to do what she loves every day, the challenges and unpredictability of regulatory practice and the satisfaction of giving it her best, is what keeps her motivated.


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