Fox Mandal: A One-Stop Solution Provider in the Legal Space

Foxmandal | Mr. Shuva Manda | Managing Partner
Foxmandal | Mr. Shuva Manda | Managing Partner

The law firms in the country have always worked consistently to deliver their best to the clients and to help them get justice on time. They primarily focus on advising the clients about their legal responsibilities and rights. These firms also work to represent the clients in criminal, civil, or other cases, where legal advice and assistance are required.

During the tough time of the COVID-19 pandemic, these firms have delivered exceptional solutions while working from home. They have handled the clients even when the courtrooms were closed. The group of lawyers in the law firms try to provide solutions of every legal problem at one place. It is difficult sometimes, but many law firms have managed to achieve excellence in delivering timely justice.

Fox Mandal is one such law firm that is delivering excellence to its clients at one place. It is the oldest law firm of India that provided legal advice to East India Company and to the successive Governments of the Presidency of Bombay.

In the following interview, the team of Fox Mandal briefed us about the journey of the firm. They also mentioned how they tackled the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following are the highlights of the interview:

Describe about Fox Mandal in detail.

Established in 1896, Fox Mandal is among the oldest full-service law firms in India. Our firm came into existence from its predecessor Fox & Mandal in 1996 when it expanded to Southern India and established its office in Bangalore. Now, with the presence of Pan-India and more than 250 professionals, we have the privilege of catering to a wide range of legal requirements of a diverse clientele.

We are consistently enabling clients to successfully navigate through the maze of complex and rapidly changing law in a world that is being continually transformed by globalization, technology, and a blurring of conventional boundaries.

Our firm has been carrying a legacy of quality and integrity through the years by offering a comprehensive range of legal services pertaining to many practice areas. These include corporate, mergers and acquisition, employment law, funds, government, regulatory and compliance, dispute resolution, real estate, infrastructure and energy, renewable energy, intellectual property, technology law, and tax.

Brief us about the featured person and shed some light on his professional tenure.

A fourth-generation lawyer and a client-focused leader, Mr. Shuva Mandal, is the Managing Partner of Fox Mandal & Associates. He has steered the firm’s leadership towards delivering quality service and ensuring client satisfaction while exuberating unmatched determination and innate compassion. Under his guidance, the organization has forged into new markets and expanded operations while maintaining strong client credence.

Revered as an A-List Lawyer by the Indian Business Law Journal, he specializes in corporate, M&A, real estate, family business, and private client advisory in addition to providing general guidance in all the practice areas of the firm. He is known for demystifying and driving complex transactions, which unlocks potential values and affect clients’ future across industry sectors.

His practice includes advising clients on inbound investment in India including entry strategy, corporate governance, M&A, and joint ventures. He has also advised clients on disposal of companies, private equity and security transactions, and public offerings of debt and equity.

Shuva Mandal is a director on the board of several large corporates, besides being entrusted with responsibility for trusteeship of selected organizations. He further devotes himself with an ardor to help start-ups through pro-bono initiatives and a start-up leadership program.

What made you venture into the corporate and commercial law sector?

Our desire to be a one-stop solution for our clients made us venture into this area of practice. We wanted to be able to provide well rounded solutions infused with multifaceted and multidisciplinary legal perspective.

What kind of offerings do you provide to your clients?

We provide a comprehensive range of advisory, liaison, and compliance/governance related legal services necessary for the establishment and compliant operation of the business in India by Indian and/or foreign entities.

The services we render, inter alia, include:

  • Structuring and setting up of operations in India as well as restructuring of corporate entities.
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts and offering advice on legal and regulatory implications of transactions and trade arrangements.
  • Representation and litigation before the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT), National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), Office of the Director-General, Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), District Courts, High Courts, and the Supreme Court.
  • Assistance in alternative dispute resolution including arbitration.
  • Assistance in obtaining regulatory and government approvals (including FDI Approval).
  • Advisory and transaction support pertaining to antitrust and competition law, banking and finance law, capital markets, REITs and INVITs, and family business.
  • Corporate compliance management and risk assessment including compliance rectification, developing adequate structural and control frameworks to ensure regulatory compliance adherence to secretarial standards issued by ICSI, India and filings with various authorities such as ROC, SEBI, RBI, labor departments, etc.
  • Advisory and transaction support pertaining to inbound and outbound investment, sectoral caps, external commercial borrowings, transfer of shares, and immovable properties as well as issuance of equity, preference, debentures, and other instruments to non-residents, dealing with FEMA and RBI guidelines.
  • FSSAI compliance management advisory services, due diligence, licensing, and registrations, etc.
  • Advisory on corporate governance setup-installation, policy formulation, review, audit etc.
  • Advisory and transaction support pertaining to mergers and acquisition including multi-leg acquisition at the global level, multi-faceted domestic acquisitions, structuring of cross-border and domestic transactions, due diligence review and risk analysis, investment and management agreements, foreign direct investment and merger control regulations, end-to-end secretarial / governance / compliance support on M&A and restructuring transactions, and litigation support before the NCLT, NCLAT, courts and other tribunals.

What kind of challenges have you faced while entering the corporate and commercial law sector?

Corporate and litigation have been our core practice areas from the beginning, and we have been representing banks, financial institutions, and authorities within the government when they entered into contracts with private parties. But at that time, it was limited to business law or mercantile law. However, with the opening of economy in 1991, the outlook changed, the requirement transitioned from mere legal aspect to commercial and business aspect infused with a practical approach.

Corporate commercial practice has further evolved and in the present form it requires a holistic approach on various overlapping legal and business areas. It is expected from the corporate commercial lawyers to have a good understanding of not only contracts, but also on financial, tax, compliance, regulatory issues, etc. Further, the application of blockchain, and digital currency has revolutionized financial markets and corporate law domain in general.

How much your firm/business was affected in these pandemic times and what were the steps taken by you to curb the damages all the while helping your clients and maintaining the safety of your employees?

Like any other law firm, we too faced recession in business during the initial phase of the lock down. We also saw a significant change in the orientation of clients from a timeline perspective. There was a sense of urgency in deliverables. The attorneys were expected to be available round the clock assuming they were working from home.

Fortunately, the transformation to work from home was seamless as our IT system was well equipped to handle the shift well before the chaotic situation started. Hence, there was no compromise on the quality of work or turnaround time except litigation matters, which were delayed owing to the closure of courts and only urgent matters being heard virtually. The government’s support in the form of extension of deadlines did make statutory filings a little convenient in the extenuating circumstances.

Furthermore, the usual uncertainty in the work situation and the loss of near and dear ones due to COVID-19 pandemic did take a toll on the mental health of the professionals. All the while, our firm took special care to offer support and assistance to employees without compromising on their safety in any manner. This could be a reason that our firm was recently awarded as ‘Asia’s employer of Choice’ by Asian Legal Business.

What would you like to advice the young generation of legal enthusiasts?

With cultural convergence and rapid transformation in the technology, the legal domain is expanding in a breakneck speed. Emerging sectors including technology law, renewable energy, funds, etc. are opening doors for niche professionals. Young generation of lawyers should take a note of the gap in the demand and supply of expertise and make most of this opportunity by equipping themselves in the legal skills necessary to substantially contribute to this arena.

Where do you envision your firm to be in the long run and what are your future goals? How do you plan to embrace the changes happening in the legal space?

We constantly endeavor to be trusted advisors to our clients and provide holistic and timely solutions, so they can remain focused on the business while we take care of their legal needs. We also work towards providing a conducive environment to our professionals to grow and attain their full potential. In addition, our firm has been at the forefront in bringing about a positive change in the society through various initiatives carried on by the Fox Mandal Foundation.

There are a lot of options these days for technical enablement in the legal domain. We have tried to incorporate those in our practices to make client service seamless and impeccable.

What is the current industrial scenario of the corporate and commercial law sector?

The COVID-19 pandemic has majorly impacted the corporate and commercial law sectors across the globe. In India, the government’s pro-active steps in the form of extended filing deadlines and monetary relief packages have been invaluable in the smooth functioning of the industry. Moreover, there is a clear shift to virtual platforms for process management as well as business development considering the restrictions in physical movement.

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