lawyers start courting cases: Legally binding: Lawyers start courting cases on their own

By admin Nov26,2023
Several mid-to-senior lawyers in litigation and dispute resolution practices at top law firms have moved out from their cushy jobs to start their own boutique companies.

Working in silos during the pandemic period helped many lawyers make independent decisions in key cases, which boosted the confidence of several of them to start their own. Since the operating cost of such boutique firms is low, these lawyers have the flexibility to take up small-ticket disputes for which litigants wouldn’t approach full-service firms.

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“Hyper specialisation of dispute resolution practice areas is one of the reasons for many lawyers to start their boutique practice. This makes it easier for lawyers to attract this work from clients of their existing firms and get referrals from other firms if they are a boutique,” said Lee Ignatius, cofounder and partner at specialist search firm Vahura. “While such boutique firms generally do well in their core focus areas, scaling up and diversification is sometimes a challenge in a competitive market for clients and talent,” he added.

Specialised tribunals such as the National Green Tribunal, Debt Recovery Tribunal, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal and the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity are some of the niche litigation areas for lawyers.

Actions taken by regulators like the Securities & Exchange Board of India, its appellate tribunal, and the Competition Commission of India have also led to the creation of several practice areas within litigation and dispute resolution practices. Another is the National Company Law Tribunal, which adjudicates cases related to bankruptcy, company affairs, shareholder complaints and scheme matters such as merger and amalgamation.

“I always wanted to start my independent practice and cater to clients, who found it difficult to afford the services of a law firm,” said Nisha Kaba who has started her independent practice in Mumbai. “Apart from this, I also intend to give some time to matters that are of a larger public good.”

Kaba was a senior associate at Naik Naik & Co and in September she left the law firm to start her independent practice in areas such as commercial litigation, dispute resolution, white-collar crime, insolvency and general corporate advisory.

Last month, Aditya Ganju, a disputes partner at Khaitan & Co, left the firm to start his independent counsel practice at AG Chambers. In the same month, Sachit Jolly started his independent practice specialising in international tax practice. He was with DMD Advocates before starting his own firm, Chambers of Sachit Jolly.

Around the same time, Ashish Pyasi, formerly an associate partner at Dhir & Dhir Associates’ Mumbai office, started boutique litigation and dispute resolution firm Aendri Legal. At the beginning of the year, Abhishek Birthray, Tanu Priya Gupta and Reeta Mishra started niche practice in construction arbitration and commercial litigation in New Delhi.

This trend has also triggered demand for senior and experienced lawyers at large law firms.

“We are currently working on about a half dozen active mandates from full-service law firms where they are seeking to hire sector-specific and niche litigation dispute resolution lawyers,” said Neha Sharma, founder & chief executive of legal search and consulting firm Avimukta. “Candidates with over 12 years of experience who can also bring clients or attract work in specialised areas such as white-collar crime, bankruptcy laws, securities laws and regulatory, are in great demand.”

By admin

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