Ranjit Prakash, a former senior partner at law firm HSA Advocates, has decided to set up his own boutique law firm called Archeus Law with a focus on construction law and dispute resolution practice.
Prakash started the law firm with six lawyers and will soon have an office in Mumbai, according to people familiar with the development. “The firm will focus only on construction projects, conventional and renewable energy power projects, highway, metro rail and mining projects,” one of the persons said.
Prakash, chief executive partner at Archeus Law, confirmed the development. “With changes in the legal industry coupled with demand for specialised practitioners, I thought this is the right time to start a specialised contract management and construction law firm,” he said.
This is the second such development within a month after Harry Chawla, a former partner at law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’s Delhi office, set up law firm Atlas Law Partners along with wife Niti Paul.
More and more senior partners are choosing to start their own law firms to cash in on the opportunities at a time when spending by corporate houses on legal and regulatory issues is rising. Total legal and professional costs for Indian publicly listed companies rose 7.3% from a year earlier to Rs 25,593 crore in 2015-16, according to a VCCircle study.
Prakash has experience of two-and-a-half decades. An alumnus of Campus Law Centre of the University of Delhi’s 1991 batch, he started his career with senior counsel Anand Prakash. He later started his own practice, which was merged with Hemant Sahai’s practice in 2005.
“New entrepreneurial ventures are green shoots of startups in the legal services industry. The market is conducive for such boutique startups for the talent, responsiveness and experience they offer,” said Padmini Singh, principal and head of consulting at consultancy firm Rainmaker. “This hits the sweet spot for general counsels, who are facing budgetary pressures, as it gives them Tier 1 advice without the corresponding cost.”
Meanwhile, Chawla said Atlas Law is starting with a Delhi office only and the firm will have corporate, realty and banking finance as practice areas along with litigation. “We are also expecting a few partners from other law firms as well to join us in the near future,” he said.
An alumnus of Kurukshetra University of 1990 batch, Chawla started his career with Kochar & Co and later joined Luthra & Luthra Law Office as partner. In 2000, he started his own law firm Chawla & Co before moving to Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co in 2008. In 2012, he joined back Kochar & Co as head of its Mumbai operations before moving back to Delhi at Cyril Amarchand.
Chawla’s wife, Niti Paul, is an alumnus of the University of Delhi of the 1999 batch. She started her career with Rolls Royce India before moving to Chawla & Co as senior associate. Later she worked at Amarchand Mangaldas, Kochar & Co as well as Cyril Amarchand along with Chawla. The husband-wife duo’s move to set up Atlas Law was first reported by Bar & Bench.
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