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Manoj K Singh, Founding partner

Founding partner Manoj K Singh explains how the firm is adapting to clients’ changing needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Singh & Associates from your competitors?
  • ISO 9001:2008 certified;
  • Full service (one-stop solution);
  • Pan-India presence;
  • In-house advocacy expertise;
  • Experienced professionals (including lawyers, company secretaries, chartered accountants, engineers, specialized para-legal staff);
  • Excellent turnaround time;
  • Technologically well-equipped;
  • One point of contact policy;
  • Competitive Fees (value for money).
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
  • Arbitration (both domestic and foreign);
  • IPR;
  • Pharmaceutical;
  • Insolvency & Bankruptcy;
  • Real Estate;
  • Tax;
  • Energy.

Drivers behind growth of above practices are stable government, independent judiciary, transparent regulatory bodies and robust policy & legal framework (e.g. make in India, amendments to arbitration law, introduction of GST, RERA, I&B Code etc. making India a conducive destination to do business.

What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Modern technology has become pervasive; and Singh & Associates since beginning embraced innovative up to date technologies to provide the best service experience to our clients better at all times.

On the client side, the Firm has adopted a few systems to ensure a seamless information flow and communication with the clients. The firm implemented Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to increase efficiency, provide greater value to clients and develop new businesses. It seeks to provide comprehensive, timely and consistent information to clients through reports (billing, log-sheets, etc.), thus, keeping clients updated on the status and progress of the cases. The implementation of ERP in the firm enables deeper insights and ensures optimization of firm's operations to improve efficiency and augment growth. The ERP software at Singh & Associates ensures transparency in effective work output, precise billing, data management and adherence to timelines in internal case management.

Also, the Firm keeps in touch with the clients through the apt usage of video conferencing facilities. Video conferencing helps us keep in touch with the clients in real-time especially if they are located across geographical locations and overseas. This has led to faster and more effective collaborations and has replaced normal tele-calls. We also use additional platforms / software for safe and swift transfer of data.

A robust ‘knowledge management system’ at Singh & Associates helps us serve our clients effectively and efficiently.

Adoption of technology helps us serve our clients better, on-time and in real-time.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Yes, indeed. For example, video conferencing (VC) has helped increasingly to interact and keep in touch with the clients across geographical boundaries and overseas. Replacing normal tele-calls, VC has led to faster and more effective collaborations with the clients. We also use additional platforms/software for safe and swift transfer of data. Therefore, adoption of technology helps us serve our clients better, on-time and in real-time.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
  1. We have successfully represented ERA Infra Engineering Limited, a large Indian Infrastructure Company in an international arbitration involving complex FX derivatives (the ISDA Master Agreement) before the LCIA.
  2. We have successfully represented ERA Infra Engineering Limited, a large Indian Infrastructure Company against Adani Global Pte Limited in an international commercial arbitration before the SIAC.
  3. We have successfully represented and settled the matter for and on behalf of Delhi Transco Ltd. (DTL) in an international arbitration before the Arbitral Tribunal for resolution of disputes through international commercial arbitration following the ICC Rules on arbitration.
  4. We have successfully represented and settled the matter for and on behalf of our client Jindal ITF in an international commercial arbitration before the SIAC.
  5. We have represented IRCON International (a Government of India Public Sector Undertaking Company) against a major infrastructure multi-national company in an international commercial arbitration before the ICC, Paris.
  6. Successfully represented M/s Era Infra Engineering Ltd (a Listed Company) in proceedings under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. The Hon’ble NCLT passed an order admitting the application and appointing the IRP. The Firm, on behalf of its client filed an appeal against the said order of the Hon’ble NCLT on whether it is mandatory to serve a notice under Section 8(1) of I&B Code 2016 read with Rule 5 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules 2016 in prescribed Form 3 before filing an Application under Section 9 of the I&B Code, 2016 by an Operational Creditor (i.e. prior to initiating the Insolvency Resolution Process). The Hon’ble NCLAT was pleased to allow the appeal filed by the Firm and hold that it is mandatory that the notice be served under Section 8(1) in the prescribed form 3 before filing an application under Section 9 by an Operational Creditor. Prior to the decision of the Hon’ble NCLAT in this matter, the law with respect to this issue was not settled and this matter settled the law. The Adjudicating Authorities appointed all across India is now referring to this decision of Hon’ble NCLAT as the same is set as precedent w.r.t Section 8 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  7. Successfully represented a public limited company engaged in the business of export of Basmati Rice. The team on behalf of its client challenged the said notices before the Principal Bench, CESTAT, Chandigarh wherein vide order dated 22.09.2016 it was settled that de-husking of paddy into rice does not amount to manufacture and hence rice is not an excisable good. Thereafter, the Excise Department appealed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, against the order of the Principal Bench, CESTAT, Chandigarh which was dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
  8. We are assisting one of the leading multinational pharmaceutical companies in its on-going dispute with a competitor relating to an investigation into parenteral use of excipients (inactive pharmaceutical ingredient). We are not only assisting the company in court but also helping them in strategizing the whole issue so that the ongoing legal battle should not affect the business and representing the client before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.
  9. On behalf of the client, a leading industrial boiler manufacturer, we negotiated the settlement with the client’s Indian Partner. In the settlement, we are not only able to provide the client the cost of investment they have invested in the Indian Joint Venture Company but also restrained the Indian partner from using the technology which the client has contributed.
  10. We successfully won a matter before the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal and safeguarded the interest of a leading waste management company converting waste into energy who had invested more than INR 200 Crores in the business.
  11. We are representing a listed infrastructure Company in arbitration proceedings against NHAI and have been successful in seeking an interim award at the initial stage of the arbitration itself which was later on upheld by the Hon’ble High Court. The total arbitration claim is of INR 1200 Crore.
  12. We are contesting a large arbitration case for India’s waterways transportation company against NTPC. We have been able to seek interim award in the initial stage of the arbitration itself.
  13. For a pharma industry client, we deputed and deployed one of our lawyers as a “legal implant” in the client’s office. One of our lawyers was stationed in the client’s office and assisted them in day to day legal regulatory issues in real time with assistance from our head office. This smoothened to a great extent the communication/coordination between our office and that of the client and was of great help to the client.
  14. We assisted a client from infrastructure sector in their dealings and negotiations with lending banks regarding restructuring of finances by way of preparing detailed presentations highlighting crucial points in favor of the client.
  15. We analyzed the operations and constraints in operations of one of our clients relating to transportation of coal through inland waterways and assisted in plugging loopholes in operations, thereby saving time and costs hence adding value to their project.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms - where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Yes, clients are definitely looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms. Today, the firm has a sterling reputation and has grown to a 7-partner firm, 7 Principal Associates, in together comprising a team of 120 qualified lawyers and other professionals. Exponentially growing its services over the nation, Singh & Associates has started its 5th office in the country with its entrance in Gurugram recently. Successfully surfing on the waves, Singh & Associates aspires to be the most sought after law firm providing one stop solution to complex issues maintaining highest service standards.  

Legal Developments by:
Singh & Associates Founder – Manoj K Singh Advocates and Solicit

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