Alpha Rajan & Partners: Revolutionizing the Legal Niche

Akshat Vikram Pande & Rajan D Gupta Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Akshat Vikram Pande & Rajan D Gupta Co-Founder & Managing Partner

The legal profession has undergone substantial changes because of the recent economic crisis due to the pandemic, the evolution of the legal industry, and the market. This has given rise to a new breed of clients empowered to set the terms and conditions in the procurement of legal services.

However, one thing cannot be overlooked: captive clients don’t exist anymore. A company works with a law firm because it has the required expertise, trusted advisors, and fees that align with the added value the company or business is seeking.

Alpha Rajan & PartnersFirm,’ a premier multi-disciplinary law firm, specializes in advising and representing large foreign and domestic corporations with diverse business interests in India.

The firm has been set up for providing corporate and commercial legal advice as a service by lawyers with rich experience in their respective fields of practice.

Headquartered in New Delhi with an additional office in Bengaluru, Alpha Rajan & Partners was established from the merger of two law firms, Alpha Partners, Chambers of Rajan, and Indraneel.

Primarily, the firm assists Indian companies in fund-raising (private), inorganic expansion, and growth through M&A, Corporate restructuring, insolvency, contract, and compliance management and assists foreign companies in setting up or doing business in India, undertaking cross border transactions. It works with foreign law firms in advising their clients for Indian laws.

The firm has also established itself strongly in dispute resolution practice where it advises and represents its clients for various commercial dispute resolution through arbitration, mediation, litigation, employment law disputes, regulatory litigation, white collar, and cybercrimes. It advises on international arbitration as well as represents clients in corporate disputes, shareholder disputes and liquidation, and insolvency.

Partners Exhibiting Excellence

Akshat Pande is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Alpha Rajan & Partners. Akshat is a corporate and commercial lawyer by profession. He has experience of 18 years in corporate and commercial law, specializing in corporate transactions, private equity, venture capital, M&A, and corporate restructuring.

He completed his law graduation from Delhi University (2005) and post-graduation from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK (2006). He is also a member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (2002). Akshat’s practice focuses on private equity, venture capital, M&A, joint ventures, exchange control advisory, and investments. Akshat advises clients in healthcare, hospitality, real estate, eCommerce (start-ups), and technology.

Rajan D Gupta is the Cofounder and Managing Partner of Alpha Rajan & Partners. Rajan is a rank holder chartered accountant turned Corporate and Tax Attorney and is also a registered Insolvency Resolution Professional. Rajan has a formidable professional experience of around 25 years working as a corporate and tax lawyer.

Rajan has been in senior positions and partners with many respectable consulting and law firms such as Vaish Associates, PWC, Khaitan & Co., and Fox Mandal. Rajan is also a member of IAG Global, an international network of law firms in over 65 countries, and enjoys excellent working relations with law firms in jurisdictions such as Japan, Germany, and Southeast Asia.

Shedding light on venturing into the legal industry, Akshat expressed,I had studied law as part of the course of Company Secretary, and I found it to be extremely interesting and decided to pursue it after graduation. Many well-wishers told me that setting up a successful law practice for the first-generation lawyers is challenging.”

“Probably, I should reconsider my decision. However, as I continued with the law course, I felt more and more connected and found it to be my calling.”

“To date, I find it both emotionally gratifying and intellectually satisfying at the same time. I also feel very fortunate to have received the support of my seniors, peers, and clients who have helped me at various stages of my professional journey and contributed towards my success as a professional so far,” he added.

With a spark to do things differently, Rajan stated, “I commenced my career as a tax consultant with a leading tax law firm. Subsequently, I worked as a senior-level tax and regulatory consultant with PWC for approximately seven years. I realized that there was an acute dearth of lawyers who could provide holistic legal advice covering all aspects of law and tax in transactions.

“Thus, having developed a niche (through my focused experience) in both direct and indirect taxation, I acquired necessary skills and expertise in areas of corporate and commercial laws, and have handled several M&A transactions so far.”

“These factors helped me to develop my corporate practice, focusing on providing holistic advice (covering legal and tax aspects) to the clients,” he added.

Ennoblement in Legal Services

Alpha Rajan & Partners provide legal advisory, assist in due diligence, counsel, and represent clients across courts, appellate tribunals, and other quasi-judicial bodies on legal issues pertaining to the following practice areas:

  • Corporate, M&A
  • Commercial advisory and contracts
  • Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Funds
  • Insolvency and Restructuring
  • Employment Laws and Industrial Relations
  • Infrastructure (Energy, Highway, Road, Railways)
  • Project Finance and Banking Laws
  • Real Estate and Construction
  • Competition Law and Anti-Trust
  • International Trade Laws and WTO
  • Food laws, legal metrology, product liability, and consumer litigation (Defense)
  • Intellectual Property
  • Taxation – Direct and Indirect
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, White Collar Crimes

Overcoming the Hardships

The legal profession is still seen as extremely individualistic and person-based, and it hasn’t developed or probably institutionalized like other professions.

Hence, being a first-generation lawyer and trying to build a successful law practice is challenging enough, given that the industry is people-driven and requires one to have deep relationships. It takes time, patience, deep focus, and client commitment.

Besides having to keep pace with a very dynamic legal and regulatory regime because of the ever-evolving Indian economy, there is a huge disconnect between academics and practice in the legal field. In other words, the commencement of a career as a legal professional in India poses tremendous challenges because the law graduation course does not focus on preparing students to become practicing lawyers.

Thus, a lawyer must learn everything on the job. Hence, a lot depends upon the exposure and learning opportunities a person gets. This situation is more accentuated in fields of transactions and corporate practices, wherein even the theoretical subjects relating to such practice areas are not adequately covered by the law graduation course.

Surmounting the Adversities of the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the partners shared, “We were much busier with most of the companies rushing to close their ongoing deals. Thus, with increased M&A and PE/VC activity, we always needed hands on the deck. We also saw an uptick in litigation and arbitration matters, and since the courts were initially closed until the online hearings started, most disputes were mediated and settled.”

“Our Labour and Employment and Real Estate practices too had a steady flow of work throughout the period involving advisory and compliance-related work.”

“Personally, the phase was a bit challenging and demotivating to see few of our lawyers and their families getting affected by COVID both physically and mentally.”

“The idea of getting used to the “Work from Home” situation was initially testing for our clients and us. However, considering the safety and health concerns, we adapted quickly and integrated technology to ensure smooth functioning and seamless communication amongst our clients and us.”

However, they felt fortunate to have clients who understood, co-operated, and supported them throughout the pandemic.

Pearls of Wisdom

As advice for the young aspirants who are willing to step into the legal industry, Akshat said, “Pursue legal profession only if you are in love with the subject, are intellectually intrigued, and have a problem-solving attitude. It’s not a job, and hence do not join this profession with an employee mindset. Treat your law firm/organization as your client and therefore, do your very best.”

Rajan added, “Remember, there are no shortcuts; a thorough approach will yield results – be it researching or preparing for matters. Technology can only reduce the effort in some ways; picking up books before accessing Google is always advisable.”

Team Alpha Rajan & Partners cautioned,  “Understand that your earnings will be low in the beginning. Take the first three-four years as an extension of your college. Go for LLM only when you have spent at least five years in the profession, if at all.”

Industry Sagacity

Given the increasing interplay of emerging technologies and law, the current industrial scenario is extremely exciting and is looking upwards and onwards.

With the advent of crypto-currencies and other forms of digital currencies, the fintech sector has grown exponentially, transforming the way of doing business and/or securing investments/funds for growth.

New Age instruments and methods, including ICO’s, IDO’s, web 3.0, is pushing us to rethink, design, and implement appropriate legal regime and regulatory framework to safeguard the interests of the key stakeholders.

The rapidly changing economic scenarios across sectors, including legal, requires businesses to adapt, innovate, and implement sustainable business models. As law firms and lawyers, Alpha Rajan & Partners is re-learning and adapting to stay relevant and be ahead of the curve.

Alpha Rajan & Partners’ vision is to establish and sustain one of the most sought-after law firms providing quality advice meeting the highest professional and ethical standards. The firm is committed to expanding its horizons across sectors and increasing its footprints in at least three new jurisdictions in the next two to four years while catering to a global client base.

As part of its growth strategy, Alpha Rajan & Partners is looking to build up its team to strengthen its corporate and tax practice (with 30-50 lawyers on board). It also plans to invest heavily in creating a robust technology infrastructure for secure and seamless interaction with clients, lawyers, and other industry stakeholders.

The firm is also looking to grow its presence mainly in the MENA region through an overseas office in UAE.

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