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Vaibhav Gaggar, Managing partner

Vaibhav Gaggar, Managing partner of Gaggar & Partners discusses how the firm is adapting to clients' changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Gaggar & Partners from your competitors?

We believe that our aspiration and ability to go beyond the traditional methodologies to provide value contribution to the businesses is one of our core competencies. Our expertise lies in strategy and innovation. We make it a point to do a deep dive to understand the client’s eco-system and business before we take up the mantle of advising them on complex issues. Unlike a lot of other firms, we seek to adopt a commercio legal approach rather than a purely technical and legal one. Perhaps due to that many clients consider us their partners in their journey rather than outside advisors. This is specially true for a number of our international clients for who trust in the integrity and intelligence of their legal counsels is the most important factor.

We are also deeply invested in understanding and being in the forefront for commercio legal structures and policies in the new age frontiers of AI, Robotics, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Cyberspace and other future sciences and technologies. Dovetailed into our core strength built over decades across various Industries such as Infra, Real Estate, Auto, Environment, Telecom etc we believe we are at a very exciting place to walk with our partners as the new age economy unravels at never seen before speeds.

Simultaneous to our foray into the future industries we also took a conscious decision a few years back to build a cutting edge practice in the niche and specialized areas of emerging laws and today we can proudly claim ourselves as being distinguished as the top 1 percentile firms in terms of quality of work undertaken and results provided in areas such as Cyber, Gaming, Anti-Trust and Competition, White Collar Crimes (including Money Laundering), Sports, Media and Intellectual Property.

As stated earlier, the understanding of the commercial and business world coupled with the conscious initiatives adopted over the years has poised us ideally to partner with our clients foraying into the future and we are committed to building a long lasting relationship founded on the bedrock of trust.

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

Considering the way the global economy is moving and the huge interest and opportunities that India presents, coupled with the avowed stand of the Govt to make India a serious investment destination, we have seen a large number of very important initiatives recently in the economic and judicial framework in the Country. I believe that we are poised for an explosion in practice areas which are built on the edifice of economics and business. For instance, litigation in complex matters in areas such as Competition/ Anti Trust, Money Laundering, Cyber/ Intellectual Property & Gaming, Class Actions across Real Estate, Environment and Company matters, Insolvency laws and the fast redressal fora such as Commercial Courts and Arbitrations are poised to explode. And by explode I mean I foresee a few hundred times increase in disputes in these areas over the next decade.

Simultaneously, on the business and structuring front, with some of the initiatives such as Digital India, Start-up India, Smart Cities etc and the massive investments and opportunities available in future sciences which would cut across spectrums such as cyber space, environment, infrastructure, defence, gaming and media, I believe there are very exciting times ahead in the domain and once again an understanding of the business side of affairs and policy formulation is going to be critical.

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

We have brought on board a number of Industry experts as commercial advisors to ensure that we truly deliver when we speak about understanding our clients business. Even in a short span of time, this initiative has helped our clients on a number of occasions and helped navigate successfully through very tricky dispute and structuring challenges. We have also become a lot more involved on public and private platforms for policy formulation which needless to mention goes a long way in bringing serious value to the clients. It not only prepares the Client since it provides a more foundational understanding of the dynamics of the environment they are operating in but also helps the Client actually bring about policies and regulations which would benefit them tremendously over time.

Apart form the same we have adopted a number of best practices which are frequently used by many firms such as periodic newsletter with sector specific snippets etc.

We have also introduced layers amongst the members with an aim to deliver excellent quality with holistic and innovative approach. Our multi-scalable teams are not only capable to produce exceptional outcome with least turn-around-time but also become the trusted advisor to the client while achieving the client’s desired solutions.

Our focus and dedicated efforts to adopt a quick turnaround time has been appreciated by our clients and peers. Our new office has state-of-art infrastructure and is fully equipped to handle multi-jurisdictional conferences with ease.

We have also implemented 3 fold data-protection mechanism at the Firm ensuring that the Client’s data shall be secured with utmost importance.

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

We are constantly seeking to adopt the latest in technological advancements in the legal sector. From using highly intelligent softwares for research and data analytics to currently exploring AI and state of the art virtual meetings, we are very excited about the amalgamation of technology with the core legal strengths we possess.

At an every day yet critical level, we have adopted a system of mapping performance and productivity of our members with an aim to deliver best solutions in a cost effective manner. With the help of technology we encourages absolute transparency with regard to matter update and cost incurred.

We are also in the process of procuring an IT-driven system to manage our client relationships and matter mapping.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

One of our clients which is into the gaming domain was facing serious legal challenges on daily basis throughout the country since there was no legal structure or clarity on what amounts to Gambling ( which would take it into another realm of legalities) versus Gaming ( even though for stake, such as Poker).

While we were fire fighting on behalf of the Client before various authorities, we conceived of, drafted, presented and got enacted a statute called the ‘Prohibition of Gambling & Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2017’ ( popularly known as the ‘Online Games of Skill Act, 2017)’, which was the first of its kind legislation in India and perhaps globally that provided a licensing regime for identifying and regulating various online Games of Skill such as Poker, Fantasy Sport, E-Sports etc. The entire process from the time of conceiving the idea to actually getting it passed into law happened in a record 8 months time. This move not only helped the Client get rid of 90 % of their legal and regulatory problems but also gave a huge 8x fillip to their valuations. We believe that the said Act has been adopted in substantial parts by various other countries as well now.

On the other hand, as another example, one of our clients was engaged in a massive commercio legal dispute where our client believed that its erstwhile partner had syphoned off a few hundred million dollars and the very existence of our client was at stake. We were able to bring about a strategy wherein we combined our knowledge of the commercial courts with the criminal courts and by adopting a multi jurisdictional and multi pronged attack that entailed forensic audits, initiation of cyber, money laundering and Serious Fraud Investigation Authority jurisdictions coupled with petitions before the Commercial Courts as well as information before the Competition Commission of India, we were able to bring about a negotiated settlement of the entire gamut of disputes within a period of 1 year from the start of the disputes.

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

We have been involved in a large number of strategic decisions by our clients, therefore I believe that the perception of being an advisor is shifting toward becoming a trusted legal partner who understands the clients business and has a strong foundation in law. Now a days clients are expecting solutions which are appropriate as per their business environment and not only as per applicable laws. We keep innovating different ways and methodologies to identifying relevant remedy/solutions for our clients.

We have been associated by our clients in matters of strategy and innovation and have been able to achieve ground-breaking results in different management and operational functions.

I think it's a very exciting time ahead and I definitely foresee the firm extending itself to all the major cities in the country and having a strong international presence through strategic partnerships in the next three years. We hope to build on our core strengths of innovation, strategy and the deep rooted understanding of law and business and we see quantum growth in the areas of Anti-trust/ Competition, white Collar crimes/ Money laundering and Commercial disputes in the litigation sphere and a major spurt in PE/ VC and structuring specially in the IT and Future Sciences domain. The objective of the firm is to consolidate its position and ensure we remain a step ahead of the curve at all points.

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