Firm Focus: Vashi and Vashi
GC speaks to Vivek Vashi, founder and managing partner of Vashi and Vashi, about how the firm continues to move from strength to strength since opening in 2017.
GC: What differentiates Vashi and Vashi from its competitors?
Vivek Vashi (VV): Since we opened in 2017, Vashi and Vashi has expanded to now have two offices in Mumbai, with a total strength of 21 lawyers. The firm is well positioned to handle various complex and high-stakes disputes across India, focusing on quality-driven dispute resolution.
The firm also encourages advocacy. Subject to client preference, the firm’s lawyers are encouraged to argue before courts, tribunals and regulators. Moreover, the firm provides its associates with state-of-the-art infrastructure and resources, which further encourages and facilitates them to service clients with accurate and prompt guidance.
GC: Which practice areas do you see growing over the next 12 months? What is driving these changes?
VV:The firm works on a broad gamut of domestic and international matters, with our primary focus being commercial dispute resolution. Recently, the firm has capitalised on the evolving areas of domestic arbitration and insolvency, where we are focused on streamlining dispute resolution to provide litigants with speedy and effective recourses to justice. Recent amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 have brought about a significant increase in the speedy disposal of arbitration proceedings with the introduction of a capped time period for completion of proceedings. This has further resulted in an increase in litigants opting for alternative dispute resolution process as opposed to litigating in court. Similarly, in the most recent amendment to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, homebuyers have been included in the class of financial creditors which has provided them with a level playing field as against larger developers / builders in a plethora of cases involving delayed construction projects in India. As a result, in the last year alone, our firm has handled substantial matters before the National Company Law Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal.
GC: How is technology changing the way that you interact with your clients and the services you can provide them?
VV: Technology has made lawyers easily accessible to clients in need of urgent and speedy advice. This has made dispute resolution less time consuming and more cost effective for clients. At the same time, evolving technology has largely benefitted the legal profession with myriad sources of news and online databases at their fingertips. This enables lawyers to provide more comprehensive and well-informed strategies and advice to clients. Access to such information through growing technology has also encouraged the legal fraternity to stay abreast of current affairs, growing industries and evolving laws and practices across jurisdictions. Technology has also introduced a competitive element to the profession, ensuring clients receive the highest quality of services at all times from their counsel.
GC: What is the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
VV: The clients’ interests have always been a foremost priority of the firm. As a result, the firm’s practice is not limited merely to dispute resolution; an integral part of the practice is preventative advice which helps clients preserve value. A number of potentially high-value disputes, mainly in relation to in-bound investments, are resolved by early identification and resolution of issues.
The team is also encouraged to work out of their comfort zones in a way that their exposure is not restricted to any one niche practice area, but extends largely to all-round client servicing of their matters and requirements. This not only introduces a higher degree of responsibility in the associates, but also improves their growth, matter management, rapport with clients and, resultantly, secures client confidence in, and loyalty to the firm.
GC: Can you provide a practical example of how you have helped a client add value to their business?
VV: In dispute resolution, as a practice, we provide a cost-effective analysis of most matters to our clients before advising them to pursue litigation as a remedy. This is mainly because the Indian judiciary is overburdened with a considerable backlog of pending matters, and speedy justice is still a pipedream. In many cases, clients are advised and have benefitted from strategic out-of-court resolution of the dispute in its nascent stages, rather than having to incur huge expenses in prolonged and avoidable litigation. Additionally, the firm discourages clients from engaging in a multiplicity of proceedings and / or exhausting resources in pursuing futile litigations merely as a pressure tactic; rather, they are encouraged to consider the merits of their case and have an informed and strategic resolution approach.
Further, it is often the case that larger, financially able litigants solicit advice from multiple law firms on varying aspects of their disputes, resulting in piecemeal strategy with no logical goal in mind. The firm therefore encourages clients to share a holistic view of their matters, so as to enable providing them with comprehensive and strategic advice while keeping their interests in mind and financial resources in check.
Based on such experience, a client has recently engaged the firm to act as its' legal department, owing to promptitude of turnarounds and quality of work product and advice.
GC: Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms, as opposed to purely legal counsel?
VV: It goes without saying that clients require stability and strategic direction from their legal teams; however, clients also need versatility. Using the illustration of the firm, clients do not look to us only to represent and advise them in dispute resolution but also to assist them in related matters. The firm is their first point of call.