ATLAS LAW PARTNERS, CORPORATE & TRANSACTIONAL ADVISORY LAW FIRM OFFERING SOLUTIONS FROM PROFICIENT LEGAL PRACTITIONERS
A boutique corporate and transactional advisory law firm, Atlas Law Partners offers expertise in corporate commercial laws, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, banking & finance, private client practice matters, regulatory matters, antitrust/competition laws, and dispute resolution.
The founding idea of Harry Chawla and Niti Paul, Partners, comprises of legal practitioners with varied experience across diverse practice areas and expertise across multiple industries, including banking & financial services, real estate, e-commerce, oil and gas, hospitality, health care, media, technology & entertainment, retail trade, education, steel and power, shipping, aviation, infrastructure, projects and more. Established in November 2016, the firm today has a presence in New Delhi and Pan India.
Harry Chawla, Partner, joined the law practice in 1990 and has worked since then with several leading Indian law firms, including the erstwhile Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co., Cyril Amarchand & Mangaladas (CAM), Luthra & Luthra Law Offices and Kochhar & Co. He had also started his whole independent practice in 2001 under the name Chawla & Co. which firm merged with the erstwhile Amarchand & Mangaldas in 2007.
Niti Paul, Partner, was admitted to the bar in 1999 and has worked with leading Indian law firms such as erstwhile Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff &Co., Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Kochhar& Co. She has also worked in the in-house legal department and was leading multinational corporations.
In an exuberating conversation with The CEO Magazine, Harry talks about his firm, his journey, plans, technology, market and more;
The CEO: Do you believe yourself to be the "Consultant of The Year" and why?
Harry: I am a corporate transactional lawyer with varied experience in domestic and cross border transactions in different sectors and industries. In my career, I have been privileged to work with many domestic and international counsels and this has helped in expanding my horizon and provided greater appreciation of ways of doing business. I use my experience in advising clients on achieving their business goals in the most efficient and compliant manner. The advice is business-friendly and practical.
The CEO: What purpose are you serving as a consultant and how have you evolved from day one?
Harry: I started my career as a litigation associate. After two years I got a chance to move to the corporate practice domain which in those days was in its nascent stages in India. Over these years, I have been able to use my litigation background and knowledge in offering advice to clients with a degree of foresight. I have been a Partner at various top-tier law firms. I was a part of the Management Committee of AMSS and later was the Co-Head of the Delhi Office of CAM. I then co-founded Atlas Law Partners where I am currently a Sr. Partner.
The CEO: Where is the demand for consulting services going in India and how do you decide the nature of the right target audience?
Harry: The demand for consultants is growing daily and would continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the immediate future. Identifying the appropriate target is always a challenge and one needs to keep working at it. This is the process of hit and trial which is constantly evolving.
The CEO: Do you feel the industry and technology association has amplified over the years?
Harry: Technology helps in faster research, more efficient drafting, case preparation and effective time &resource management. The industry has transformed itself over the last twenty-five years such that once upon a time, consultants were considered a luxury or a necessity in the time of need. Today, a consultant is an integral part of the management team who comes in at an early stage and continues to be a part of the developing phase of a project.
The CEO: In a competitive market, what hurdles did you have to battle?
Harry: Of all the key challenges faced by Indian law firms, most are reigning in costs by moving from traditional hourly billable format to fixed fee matters. Other challenges like achieving super specialization to face intense competition heads on, threat from accounting / consulting firms who have been investing heavily in their legal services arm despite warnings from Bar Council of India &various lawyers' associations and retention of correct talent with thousands of lawyers entering the legal market on a regular basis can also pose to be hurdles if not handled appropriately.
The CEO: How do you chalk out a business model for a successful name?
Harry: Niti Paul and I are recognized names in the Indian corporate commercial legal market. Since its inception, the firm has been recognized due to the associations of the established names and rankings in the legal market in India and outside. Today, start-ups and entrepreneurs in the law firm space need to identify their niche practice areas and work with a focus towards developing these. In this day and age of super specialization, it is important, especially for start-up law firms to identify their practice areas and hire the right talent for these practice areas and industry sectors.
The CEO: In the next five years, do you believe you would have achieved the status it was seeking?
Harry: Atlas Law Partners endeavours to grow from strength to strength. We see our prospects increasing in leaps and bounds in our areas of specialization including banking & finance, mergers &acquisitions, and real estate. We also see ourselves growing in the start-up space, representing investors and start-ups alike from an early stage seed investment to a 6th and/or 7th round of funding. Our competition law practice, in so far as a merger control filing are concerned, is recent and has received successful approvals one after the other.. ALP team is small but an effective one and we hope to grow in numbers, transaction size and volume year after year.
The CEO: What are the achievements and awards earned?
Harry: Out of many, here are some to name a few: Ranked as a Notable Firm for Banking and Finance and Corporate and M&A practices by Asialaw, Named as the Rising Star of India's legal profession, by India Business Law Journal for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018, Harry Chawla, Co-Founder and Senior Partner at the Firm was ranked for his work in Corporate M&A by Asialaw Leading Lawyers in 2018, Harry Chawla ranked in India Business Law Journal's A-list of Top 100 lawyers in 2016-17, Niti Paul, has been featured as one of the prominent figures in The Phenomenal She 2019, published by the Indian National Bar Association etc.
The CEO: How does one acquire the status of 'the best consultant', what gives you an edge over your peers?
Harry: Our attorneys at the Firm have worked with leading Indian and multinational corporations, financial institutions, start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses and government corporations in India and abroad. Our clients benefit from the legal and technical skills and industry specific know-how and experience of our lawyers. The Attorneys at the Firm are known for giving practical advice and having a solution-oriented approach.
The CEO: Is there anything that you believe should change in the industry?
Harry: Indian legal market should open to Foreign Law Firms. Over the last two decades, foreign lawyers have helped increase standards of drafting and quality of documents. Likewise, they have helped lawyers appreciate the necessity of understanding client business requirements before they render advice. The foreign law firms will strengthen this aspect and help in bringing global best practices to India.