Solicis Lex: An Incremental to Transformational Change in Legal Pyramid

Law, as the essence of society, regulates human behavior at every micro and macro level and therefore, the functioning of the law is as dynamic as that of the society. As a result, today, the law is not used only to resolve disputes and maintain an orderly society but has evolved to be used as an effective instrument of socio economic development and justice. Today, it is used as a tool intended to discipline the power and empower the powerless.

Solicis Lex, a start-up Law Firm in 2011, had a transformational change. An Incremental change refers to a small adjustment made toward a targeted result but the making an incremental change does not have a significant impact on the existing structures or alter current methods however a transformational change is a process of altering the basic elements of an organizations culture, Character, including the norms, values, and vision under which the organization functions. When it comes to the business environment, transformational change deals with a company making a radical change in its business model such as done by Solicis Lex wherein a complete well-planned structure, culture and management style was done from top to bottom hierarchical structure.

Legal System in India…..

The legal system in India is quite complicated. Fewer Judges, Improper Infrastructure in courts, no computerized systems for checking records and failure to rein scams, but fortunately during the last 2 years all this is improving from very basics. The faith in Governments had gone down due to various scams and this was severely criticized by all the stakeholders. It also gave rise to the urgent need for corporate governance in India and transparency since it’s greatly affected the development of the country.

To understand the scope of the legal framework and study the amendments, proxy advisory firms analyze the role of directors and how they are impacted by changes in the amendments. Transparency in corporate governance is essential for the growth, profitability, and stability of any business. The need for good legal framework has intensified due to growing competition amongst businesses in all economic sectors at the national, as well as international level, especially due to the globalization of assets and businesses. In fact, The Indian Companies Act of 2013 introduced some progressive and transparent processes which benefit stakeholders, directors as well as the management of companies. Legal departments and CA’s today have effective control over affairs of the company in the interest of the company and minority shareholders as legal compliances are changing business scenario in India.

Nowadays, clients in India who are involved in litigation or in any other legal process have become more demanding from the law firms. They ask and expect more at a minimum cost. Although technology is assisting law firms in India, it alone cannot provide legal and ethical value in the legal profession. Clients in India do not expect technology, but better legal services.

Solicis Lex “Giving Apt Services at Optimal Cost”

With the goal of providing better legal services, Solicis Lex focuses on 24×7 legal services to cater it’s international and local, diverse client base.

Solicis Lex was built on the concept of Management Guru Late Dr. C K Prahalad’s book “Fortune at the Bottom of Pyramid”. The concept, as stated by Dr. Prahalad revolves around markets of those at the bottom of social strata, whose concerns are on spending patterns, distribution channels and marketing efforts that have been successful in reaching those in the developing world.

Dr. C K Prahalad had explained questions that tackle why we cannot create inclusive capitalism, and why all of our technology, managerial know-how, and investment capacity cannot make even a minor contribution to the problem of pervasive global poverty and disenfranchisement.

“Our main focus hence was to give apt services at optimal cost since everything today revolves around cost,” says Ameet Mehta, Founder and Managing Partner of Solicis Lex. “The focus was on market share, visibility and not on revenue,” says Devang Mehta, Partner at Solicis Lex.

Solicis Lex Since Inception:

Solicis Lex was founded by Ameet Mehta, Managing Partner. His diverse educational background of Bachelor of Engg, MBA Finance from Leeds University Business School, UK, LLB – Mumbai University and Mergers & Acquisitions, London Business School gave him a solid edge on various fronts. He is a Prolific Writer, and his articles are covered in various, Media, Newspapers and Magazines today. He authored and co-authored many books such as ‘Conveyance, Redevelopment and Criminal Law’ and ‘Ready Reckoner for Stamp Duty and Market Valuation 2013, 2014 and 2015’ etc.

Ameet states “When I use to meet with very senior lawyers in different firms during my graduation days, some use to share with me that the junior lawyers in their firm are not as motivated as they should be. I used to study some business models of such law firms. Hence we got a correct ‘starting’ point wherein we were able to rectify some issues at the start itself. Also what really attracted us was to take few concept points of Dr. Prahalad’s book and endeavor to have an ideal law firm”. Senior Associate Partner Tushar Gujjar states, “We believe many law firms do pay young lawyers and professional staff reasonably well. However, we believe law firms make a mistake when, after setting a reasonable salary, they continue to try and motivate their young lawyers and professional staff with more money. It really doesn’t motivate them, or at least only motivates a few of the young lawyers. We narrowed down to few motivations which we also use to appreciate in our good old days and those are Autonomy to work, Mastery of a subject, Purpose of my career.”

Aim To Provide Valuable Legal Solutions

Solicis Lex aimed to provide valuable legal solutions in various practice areas with a strong emphasis on ethics. Their clients benefit from the expertise and experience and are enjoying the privilege of personal attention and responsiveness. Many clients appreciated the firm’s tag line “We don’t work from 9 to 5, we work from start to finish.”

Solicis Lex’s practice extends across diverse sectors of industry and services, such as manufacturing industry, service industry, real estate, consumer, labor, financial services, Banking, Pharma, IT etc. Lawyers appreciate the different challenges that their clients face in the current business environment as a result of technological changes, evolving government regulations, and competitive pressures in the marketplace. Solicis Lex today is housing more than 100 lawyers and are providing legal services related ranging from Civil and Criminal matters, DRT, CLB, Consumer cases, Due Diligence, Merger and Acquisition, Joint Ventures, Private Equity; Support to International Firms Venturing in India; Support to Indian Firms Venturing Abroad; Real Estate Projects; Banking & Finance, IPR and trademark; Written Opinions; Legal Claim Processing; Human Resource Compliances; Import Export Compliance, Banking Litigations; CAT; Cyber Law; Taxation; Child Labour; Charity Commissioner; Arbitration; and SEBI Related matters.

Challenges at the Inception:

Every organization gets encountered by tons of pitfalls and hurdles, but the success is defined by how well they manage to tackle and get over the roadblocks. Solicis Lex being one of the most successful law firms in India has faced many challenges and learned many lessons from them. Adv Ashok Mishra, Associate Partner says, “Location, Travel and Image building plays most important role in selecting a business model of any firm and we had to keep a fine balance on these issues.”

The firm narrowed down to following challenges at start

  1. Office Location,e. finding a reasonable location for office was their first hurdle. After much struggle of finding the best possible location; a friend helped them and facilitated with space where they grew.
  2. Marketing was another challenge. How would people know they exist? Hence, they focused on networking with their various forums and social groups. “It was important for us to get the word out, and also to improve the likelihood of potential clients finding you when they conduct online searches for specific terms related to your practice,” shares Adv Pradeep Bhatt.
  3. Establishing Policies, Ethics, Systems, and Procedures was the next challenge. Whether clients are getting the correct profile of people or not, it’s important to establish a series of business policies and stick to them.
  4. To Partner or Not to Partner? The whole idea was whether to have a partner at the start or not? Whether it can be beneficial at the start? Incidentally, they got the right people at the start and all are there till date. For them, it was easy to understand that a larger, collaborative group can provide them a great support, networking, and resources that they might otherwise miss when going it alone.

“Like every business, the biggest challenge for Solicis Lex was Building a reputation and Brand,” states Devang Mehta, Partner. Networking is important in most professions, and the law is no different. In fact, networking may be more valuable to a lawyer than just about any other profession.

“So, when you’re starting your own shop, don’t hide under a rock. Get out there. Meet people. Stay in touch with those you already know. Attend events at places and get moving to the Network. Brand Building is a long-term, cumulative process and we know that we should not expect results overnight,” Ameet tips.

Building Clientele in an Innovative Way

Solicis Lex organizes initial meeting usually called as Conferences with their Lawyers which normally is given free of cost. This is the first point of interaction. When the firm propagates “Fortune at the Bottom of Pyramid”, it was making no sense to charge people for conferences. They should feel that this litigation or legal work would work out being cost effective. FREE email support on various queries during the basic planning was another follow-up connectivity. FREE subscription to their e-newsletter and updates of notifications, Govt Circulars and informative subjects relevant to client’s needs from time to time. FREE participation on topics at private seminars, summits, lectures and their annual client appreciation at social events were extremely helpful to the clients.

Strategy for the Future

Adv Vikhil Dhoka, Associate Partner states that, “Solicis Lex’s advice is delivered by well-informed, accessible, partner-led teams, which strives to provide the highest quality of service to the clients, by listening, understanding their needs, responding promptly and living up to the commitments that they made and this we shall continue.”

Adv Jayshri Manjrekar, Associate Partner states, “Team of Solicis Lex believes that the firm’s place in the market is its value proposition that it can offer to potential clients. The ability of firm’s strategy to deploy existing talents in the pursuit of new business from prospective clients is the most important aspect in the client-firm relationship.”

Adv Shweta Sharma, Associate Partner says, “Hopefully, the client(s) on the firm’s wish list are those that you can personally be involved in securing and servicing work. If not, you may need to consider trying to get on the radar screen of these corporates that are already represented by other firms.”

Leisure Activities of Lawyers:

Lawyers at Solicis Lex enjoy, the party as also study throughout the year. “They work hard and party harder” states Purvi Shah, Director Finance, who manages accounts and finance with tight controls. The firm celebrates Diwali Party, New Year Party, annual Anniversary Party where all Lawyers go to a Disco together, Outing trip’s, Annual review meetings in star hotels, Dandiya program, Christmas Celebration, Cake cutting every week for Birthdays of all employees or some celebrations. The lawyers are busy throughout the year with various activities. Some of the lawyers travel outside India for their various works and the firm supports them to the highest extent.

Solicis Lex provides a good answer to corporates wherein ‘how the implementation of a successful business model and ambitions of Partners and management is well focused’. If anything, for a big law firm to survive and flourish, information flow between management and the partnership needs to improve, particularly as firms continue to try and get either large/global or more boutique and focused in key practice areas.

All the partners believe the team has contributed tremendously to make the firm grow and the team is confident to win many more challenges.