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Pooja Mahajan, Managing Partner

Managing Partner Pooja Mahajan explains how the firm is adapting to clients’ changing needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Chandhiok & Associates from your competitors?

Clients are no longer chasing volume (in terms of number of lawyers or deals). They require considered and “thought through” advice. C&A has a fastidious obsession to attention to detail. We center our practice on predicting outcomes for our clients and helping them prepare for it. This is why strategy plays an important role in whatever we do – so that our advice is considered and relevant to the client. This is reflected in the number of challenging transactions; regulatory issues; and disputes that we have been involved in.  

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

We expect our insolvency and restructuring; and mergers & acquisitions practices to get busier. Our insolvency and restructuring practice been involved in key mandates; and this practice is practice is expected to grow as the dust around the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code settles. We also foresee greater M&A activity driven by consolidation across industries.

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

The cost of litigation has soared through the years. This is primarily due to the reliance on senior advocates for corporate and regulatory disputes. No doubt, some matters demand the advocacy skill and experience of senior advocates, but not all. We are encouraging our lawyers to play the role of both “advocate” and “solicitor”. Clients have trusted us with this approach. This has led to significant savings on litigious and regulator matters, without compromising the best representation for our clients.

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

The legal services industry is a people business and technology places a big part in bridging distances. It is also essential in how we deliver legal services especially at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology is changing the business models of clients; so we make a conscious effort to invest in our understanding of these changes. For example: we recently flew in an expert from Silicon Valley to discuss the latest on artificial intelligence.

Looking back at the last twelve months, what area of practice has really distinguished itself within Chandhiok & Associates?

We have one of – if not the best - competition law teams in India. The last twelve months have been extremely busy for them across a range of mandates and industries. In May 2017, we obtained pre-merger approvals for clients in the financial services, medical devices and lightening industries. The Competition Commission of India’s public announcements for all three approvals came on the same day. With technology changing how our clients are doing business, we are guiding them on the rules of competition in the digital era.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms - where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Over the past four years, we have increased headcount by nearly 10 times – added practice areas such as restructuring, banking, capital markets. Our focus will be to continue to provide top quality work at the right value. We work with some of the largest and prominent international firms across jurisdictions. Over the next three years, we see those partnerships deepen – with us continuing to deliver results for them and vice versa.

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