A preeminent rainmaker in the industry 4.0, establishing global standards with Clasis Law in India

A preeminent rainmaker in the industry 4.0, establishing global standards with Clasis Law in India

An upfront with Vineet Aneja, a lawyer as an entrepreneur

Apreeminent rainmaker in the industry 4.0, establishing global standards withClasis Law in India

My professionaljourney as a lawyer began from the proverbial bottom of the pyramid with onlyone thought in mind that "there is no substitute to hard work".

India is the world's 2nd largest legalprofessionals market having more than 600,000 lawyers, but it is one of themost restricted sectors on national as well as international level. Althoughnew initiatives are being taken to open up the legal services sector in India-globalization is booming, and the constant policy reforms have brought dynamicchanges in the market in the past decade. Traditionally, the view of lawyers is being apprised as the enemies ofentrepreneurs. In the western world, the famously risk-averse attitude oflawyers often frustrates cramped business leader's style who find fault inover-layering and objection raising when receiving advice from their counsel.

At that instant, when the nationwas taking steps towards legal growth, Vineet Aneja, anexpert legal player within the industry with his teamlaid the foundation stone of Clasis Law in 2010, to accelerate thistransformation. Clasis Law presents an encyclopaedic embodiment of the currentscenario prevailing in the Indianlegal servicesdefining a global vision, scope, experience, andcapability.  It supports people acrossthe world to keep pace and remain relevant in light of dynamic internationaltrends. The firm operates from New Delhiand Mumbai and acts for a diverse national and international client base acrossa number of industrial sectors. It is maintaining the optimum quality in workthat resulted in a trail of satisfied clients, in turn, helping the firmsteadily gain traction and grow at the rapid pace in a span of nine years.

Emergingwith its unique approach

The strength of Clasis Law's corporate andcommercial practice lies in the availability, determination, and ability of itsseasoned lawyers to move projects forward with a focus to provide end-to-endservices to clients. We anticipate impending issues in transactions oropportunities from which our clients could benefit and offer seamless legaladvice customized to our client's needs. We believe that we succeed when theclient succeeds and in the course of this commitment towards the client, norequest is too small and no service too big. 

It's the out ofthe box thinking, which is very important whether it be a legal input orcommercial advice based on the business of the client.

Areasof Expertise

Clasis Law is a full-service Indian law firm thatis truly international in its endeavour. Expertise within the firm includescorporate and commercial transactions, aviation & aerospace, banking &finance, asset & project finance, insurance, infrastructure, real estate,intellectual property, employment law, competition, compliance & auditing,shipping & international trade law, TMT, litigation & disputeresolution, insolvency, white collar and data privacy.

Vineet Aneja, theManaging Partner of Clasis Law stays under the limelight for his perseverance,diligence, and professionalism. Mr Vineet is armed with B. Com (Hons) and LLBdegrees.He started his professional voyage with a litigation firm and worked withdifferent firms including Singhania & Partners, Fox Mandal, and L&LPartners. Vineet has great expertise among varied sectors including foreigndirect investment, transactions (mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures),corporate commercial, retail, hospitality, employment, e-commerce, education,healthcare, compliance and regulatory etc.

In an interview with Startup city Magazine,Vineet discussed Clasis Law and his professional journey.

Here are theedited excerpts.

Whatled you to initiate Clasis Law?

After keeping mynose to the grindstone for many years and inhabiting the desire to goindependent, I along with other members founded Clasis Law.

The circumstances that led me to take such adecision were the desire to move out of my comfort zone and to become anentrepreneur. The passion that I have for my work and the thrill to takeindependent decisions coupled with working independently gave me the courage tomove out, and establish Clasis Law.

Whatchallenges have you faced in your career? What factors helped you to defeatthem and succeed?

The major challenges are running a business andpracticing law at the same time, surviving unhealthy competition, lack of time,lack of resources, difficult clients to contend with, stress and pressure toachieve targets and deliver results. The greatest factor for success is hardwork and diligence. Perseverance and the dedication to excel are the two mainfactors that have brought me this far.

Whatthe need that you've felt essential to be filled – and what are those obstaclesfor the legal companies that jump out on their own?

The aspect that is compulsory to be filled is todeliver seamless legal advice irrespective of how big or small the assignmentis. Also, initially, one needs to work without thinking of the profit or theoutcome. It is imperative to look at the bigger picture and get as much work aspossible to shine one's way through. The primary challenge faced by law firmswho jump out on their own is to develop the business and find clients.

Doesthe law vary from sector to sector? Do the legal questions facing differentindustries differ and how do you take them on?

Yes, the law varies from sector to sector. Thenucleus of the firm is its clients, and our clients are at the heart of how wework, which is the reason why we put the interests of our clients first. Weinvest in understanding our client business, their operating context, theopportunities and challenges they face and anticipate what they will face next,which becomes the foundation for us to adopt the changes and provide our clientswith the proficient people, processes and solutions.

Whathave been the opportunities and the challenges in your journey?

Staying at the forefront of the regulatorylandscape creates both a significant challenge and opportunity for law firms.Having the investment capacity to innovate and compete in an increasinglydiverse legal market place is perhaps the core challenge faced by us.

We have a huge opportunity to recognize thebenefits of diversity. Technological advances like Artificial Intelligence (AI)is very beneficial and also support us to compete with new market entrants.

Doyou manage to strike a work-life balance or are there still grey areas you'dlike to better address? What are your other interests?

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in runninga law firm is to strike that perfect work-life balance. It is strenuous to havesuch a balance but, the effort is constantly on. From the time when I startedpractice today, one of the main aspects is technology. Technology tends to keepyou closer to your work irrespective of your location. My other interests arewatching a good movie and reading books. My favourite author is  JohnGrisham.

Briefus over the Important Cases Handled by Your Firm.

The firm has handled various notable matters overthe years. By keeping the concern of confidentiality in mind we do not name theclients. However, on a no-name basis, some of the notable recent works are asfollows:

  • Advised an Irish company in relation to the acquisition,by its Dutch group company, of a majority interest (51%) in an Indian companyengaged in the business of manufacturing insulated panels.
  • Advised a leading multinational group engaged in thebusiness of providing medical and dental imaging systems and IT solutions inconnection with the Indian leg of the global acquisition of its dental digitalbusiness by an acquisition vehicle controlled by certain private equityinvestment firms.
  • Advised on exit by a Singapore based company (which is partof a global hospitality group) from its Indian joint venture company (which isengaged in the business of managing and operating hotels) by way of sale of itsentire shareholding to the Indian joint venture partner.
  • Advised an Indian subsidiary of an Italian MNC, engaged inthe manufacturing sector in relation to the acquisition of equity stake fromthe Indian partner and structuring its exit from the Indian joint venturecompany.
  • Advised an Indian listed company, engaged in the businessof manufacturing automotive air conditions systems, in relation to investmentin it by an existing public shareholder (which is a Japanese corporation),which was acquiring an additional shareholding in the Indian listed company.
  • Advised the Indian subsidiary of a leading Spanish fashionbrand in relation to the transfer of employees between group companies.
  • RepresentedMacquarie Bank Limited in a Civil Appeal against Uttam Galva Metallics Limited& Shilpi Cable Technologies Limited before the Supreme Court of India. TheSupreme Court, in its judgment, settled the law with respect to certainprovisions of the (then) newly legislated Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code andsecured the right of the operational creditors, especially foreign operationalcreditors, to initiate insolvency proceedings without being restricted bynon-mandatory procedural requirements.
  • Advised the Indian subsidiary of a multinational softwarecompany in insolvency proceedings initiated by it against the debtor for afinancial debt owed by the corporate debtor under a wholesale financeagreement.
  • RepresentedShobiz Experiential Communications Pvt. Ltd. in a domestic arbitrationconducted by an arbitral tribunal comprising of a sole arbitrator against AsiaPacific Heart Rhythm Society, 2014 ("APHRS"). The firm represented Shobizduring the entire arbitral proceedings and succeeded before the arbitraltribunal. Shobiz received a favourable award directing APHRS to make paymentsas claimed by Shobiz including the costs paid to the arbitral tribunal.
  • Adviseda Hong Kong-based company engaged in the business of purchasing andselling a wide variety of consumer and industrial goods in relation to adispute with the Indian debtor in a company petition before the Bombay HighCourt based on the debtor's inability to pay the admitted debt. The proceedingsresulted in a settlement between the parties and the client secured payment ofthe entire debt amount.

Feathers in the cap of Clasis Law and Vineet Aneja

  • The firm has been ranked amongst the Top 40 Indian LawFirms by RSG Consulting Rankings 2017
  • The firm has been awarded "Law firm of the year, 2018 forInsurance and Reinsurance" by India Business Law Journal, a leading legal magazine
  • Vineet has been named under India Business Law Journal'sA-List of India's top 100 lawyers.
  • Vineet has been awarded for outstanding performance inCommercial Law by Advisory Excellence in the year 2018
  • Vineet has been recognized as one of India's Most TrustedCorporate Lawyers by the Indian Corporate Counsel Association (ICCA) in 2017
  • Vineet has been recommended for Corporate/ M & Aexpertise by Legal 500 in the years 2010, 2011 & 2012
  • Vineet has been awarded the ILO International ClientChoice Award for India in 2010 & 2011

PresentYour Perspective on Indian legal system and its problems.

The pendency of cases, lack of infrastructure inthe courts and lack of noteworthy judicial appointments are the major issues inthe Indian legal system. The good news is that the situation is changing, andit seems we are moving in the right direction in this fast evolving andever-changing legal system.  

Whatis your take on legal education in India?

Over the years legal education has become farmore focused and goal oriented. The laws schools in India have a proliferatingculture of moot courts which has made legal education far more practical andbehavioural than simply learning the letter of the law, though, legal educationis not as practical as it should be in terms of corporate law. The focus shouldbe on providing the students with real-time insight into the life of acorporate lawyer, and it's compulsory to gain the practical side of corporatelaw as well.

It could be achieved by conducting corporate mocksessions of negotiation of the agreements drafted so as to grab the nuances ofthe deal, conducting mock due diligence activities to identify what actionsshould be included as representation and warranties or conditions precedent inthe agreements including the sessions of client counselling to give a tangiblefeel of corporate/ business law to the student etc.

ForthcomingStrategy of the organization

The future plans of the firm include:

  • Growing the business to attract clients from all emergingsectors
  • Assessing current practice areas by lawyer – level, andseniority
  • Identifying high potential lawyers within the firm
  • Assessing career tracking and growth opportunities foryounger lawyers
  • Identifying opportunities for recruitment
  • Understanding new technology and implementing

Advicefor Law students and Lawyers

Pick your courses, and engage in diverse subjectsto understand your true calling. Try and gain as much practical exposure aspossible by writing articles, attending seminars, regular internships (both inthe corporate and litigation areas), interact with alumni and get a flavour ofwhat lies ahead as a lawyer.  Lastly,focus on hard work and rewards will follow.

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