Today, every business needs two professionals: an accountant and a trusted legal advisor. The reasons for hiring an accountant are pretty obvious that you need someone to set up the charts for the accounts of the company, review your financial credits periodically and prepare data for all type of tax returns. A legal advisor on the other hand, regardless of the nature of the business, industry or sector, will provide vital assistance in almost every aspect of your business, from basic zoning compliance and copyright and trademark advice to formal business incorporation, mergers, financing and manage risks, liability and disputes. Driven by new business opportunities, it is needless to say that today the Indian corporate advisory sector is witnessing the most eventful phase of its evolution, and these changes are presenting newer challenges, which in turn are setting off a sharp need to manage corporate legal businesses more proficiently in India.
Among the countless worries for entrepreneurs who are starting a new venture or are already running a small business, hiring and working with a corporate advisor, who can add value to business can be an extremely intimidating process. While there are a lot of legal advisors in the market, only few are capable to cater to the dynamic needs of the industry. VERUS – a full-service law firm with offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, is one of the few who endeavor to provide end-to-end corporate transactions &advisory and dispute resolution solutions across different industry sectors. The brainchild of former law school friends Krishnayan Sen and Dipankar Bandyopadhyay– VERUS is named after the Latin word ‘verus’ which stands for truth and symbolises the principle on which the firm was founded –to stay true and forthright to clients, colleagues, employees, partners, judiciary, professional friends and even rivals.
The Genesis of VERUS
Set up in 2011, the inception story of VERUS is one of audacity and entrepreneurship.Narrating the founding story of VERUS, Krishnayan–or Just Krish, as he is fondly known amongst friends,-speaks, “In 2006, after my graduation from the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, I joined the chambers of Mr. V.R. Reddy,former Addl. Solicitor General of India at the Supreme Court in Delhi butdue to the sudden demise of my father, I had to return to Kolkata and take over my father’s legal practice in February 2007. While I had built considerable goodwill in Kolkata, I realized that in Kolkata my exposure to high-end corporate-commercial litigation and international arbitration was limited. Seeking exposure and experience in management and running of a mainstream corporate law firm which offered sophisticated legal services to large corporate and multi-national companies, I moved to Mumbai in mid-2009, and joined M/s Bharucha & Partners, a spin-off firm from India’s then largest law firm Amarchand & Mangaldas.”
While still at work with M/s Bharucha & Partners, Krishnayan and his colleague and former law-school friend, Dipankar, sensed a gap in the market – both from the external service propositions, as well as the internal running of a professional law firm.They noticed a clear dearthin law firms which could offer sector specific forthright advice to clients, on a pan-India basis, and at a price which would offer genuine value-proposition to a client. Sensing this gap in the industry, in January 2011, Krishnayan took a leap of faith and teamed up with Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Jay Parikh, Charles De Souza, Rishad Ahmed Chowdhury and Gandhar Raikar –some of whom were still working at senior positions in leading law firms - and established VERUS with a vision to build an independent non-family professional law firm that would blend expertise, energy and innovation to build long term partnerships with clients.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Tailored to industry’s best practices, VERUS offers solutions and services such as corporate transactions and advisory for mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, infrastructure and projects, competition law, employment and labour law, general corporate advisory, financial regulations and anti-money laundering & frauds.
The firm’s corporate practice is led by Dipankar Bandyopadhyay who is a versatile corporate lawyer having worked in some of the most complex deals and transactions.
Unlike many corporate law firms where the litigation practice forms only a small support practice within the firm, VERUS has a robust pan-India disputes practice which boasts of significant representations and experience in corporate-commercial litigation, commercial arbitration, banking litigation, anti-trust and telecom litigation and public law remedies. Two of its partners, Krish and Rishad, are qualified as Advocates-on-Record at the Supreme Court of India. Another disputes partner Charles De Souza, the first internally promoted partner of the Firm, was recipient of the 40 under 40 Rising Star Award by Legal Era.
Highly acknowledged for walking the talk with their clients, VERUS adopts a multi-disciplinary legal practice to encourage the lawyers to focus on a client’s business in a holistic manner rather than providing compartmentalized practice based solutions. The assignments are delivered by partners who, by virtue of their experience and long standing relationships with clients, are able to anticipate the requirements and challenges of the client’s business. VERUS offers practical and commercially relevant solutions which are uniquely tailored to meet the clients’ objectives. Driven by a strong conviction that quality must be manifested in each work product that is delivered, the company is winning frequent mandates from existing clients and generous appreciation from new clients for its exceptional quality and time liness delivery.
“We are fortunate to have sound lawyers who are able to successfully discharge the role of a trusted advisor to clients and thereby build enduring relationships. We have a team which is dedicated in firm-building and which realised, very early on, that short-cuts and compromises were not open to us. The firm, despite having four offices, acts and functions like one unit there by offering clients an alternative experience that what they are used to with BigLaw. Today, we are a successful one-stop-shop for clients who need both transactions and disputes representation across the four metros at a price which provides value to its clients but we make it clear that our fees are not at the rock-bottom. Our firm has been built on a culture of freedom, autonomy, openness, curiosity and entrepreneurship which keeps the firm moving into the right direction and offers fresh ideas and thoughts to clients, thus keeping us different from our competitors,” utters Krishnayan.
VERUS is also a part of CICERO, a prestigious international network of independent law firms that has its presence in over thirty-six countries. As a result of their association with CICERO, the firm is successful in offering its clients with global footprints and seamless legal advice across borders.
Investing in a Brighter Future
With each endeavor that mirrors VERUS, towards their clients, the firm has successfully set its mark amongst the Indian law firms. The success saga of this young firm does not end here. VERUS has grown tremendously over a span of five years from a small 100 sq. feet office space with two full-time lawyers in 2011, to four offices at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad with 5 partners, 35 fee-earners in 2016, working for marquee clients advising on some of the most complex legal issues. The competence of the team at VERUS is very well reflected in its clientele which includes MNCs like McDonald’s, GE, Fiat, Uber, Huntsman, Thomas Cook, Schlumberger, Diversey, Maersk Line; Indian corporates and banks like Kotak Mahindra Bank, Essar, Vedanta, Axis Bank, Crompton Greaves; and Statutory Authorities &government undertakingslike Competition Commission of India, TRAI, Coal India Ltd., State Bank of India, GAIL, HPCL.
In a short span, VERUS has already emerged as a firm which is ahead of the curve, setting new market trends and challenging existing notions; for example when it when it first advised United Bank of India to invoke the little used RBI Circular on wilful defaulters against Kingfisher Airlines and which laid the path for other banks to follow or when it hired start-up specialist Roochi Tripathi as a partner solely dedicated to advising start-ups. Throwing light on the future roadmap of the company Krishnayan says, “We wish to be the firm which does the most interesting and original work in the legal services industry. Looking ahead we are also planning to grow to a 10 partners-50 lawyers firm by the end of this financial year. Believing that technology and artificial intelligence will play a significant disruptive role in the legal services industry, we are already in the process of building and investing in a proprietary technology which will revolutionize the way legal services are offered presently. VERUS was formed with a spirit of audacity, entrepreneurship and innovation and we need to keep reinventing ourselves to keep that spirit alive. It does not need to be all business and logical. Sometimes, a little chaos and disruption is good.”