Gajendra MaheshwariExclusive: Former Ernst & Young (E&Y) associate director Gajendra Maheshwari and manager Rajat Bose started up tax and disputes boutique Reina Legal on 1 December in Gurgaon, after hiring seven associates including a mix of chartered accountants (CA) and lawyers. 

Reina Legal focuses on tax, corporate and commercial litigation, and arbitration.

Bose who left E&Y in November after almost four years with the Big Four consultancy, said: “We’ve noticed that there are not many law firms in India that can provide quality tax advisory and litigation support and not charge exorbitantly. Of late we have seen that clients are having a lot of issue with the kind of fees the Big Four are charging. With the recession they [clients] have become a bit conservative but at the same time are looking for quality.”.

“We are from that market and we understand the level of quality and performance that [clients who instruct the Big Four] expect to get their money’s worth. We are focussing on providing the quality of Big Four at the rates of a mid-sized law firm,” he added.

Rajat BoseRajat BoseMaheshwari, who qualified as a CA in 1997 and as a lawyer in 2000, practiced tax consultancy independently from 1997 until 2004, also obtaining an LLM degree in 2004 and joining E&Y the same year. He left E&Y in April intending to start up on his own.

Bose graduated from ILS Pune in 2005 and joined Zeus Associates to assist on indirect tax and corporate commercial matters until 2007. From 2007 until 2009 Bose was with KPMG, also one of the Big Four consulting firms.

Explaining their move, Bose said: “A Big Four consultancy is more in the nature of business consulting where the legal aspect at times is not given so much importance. It is [concerned] more [with] what is the practical approach and is going to help the business in the future.”

“Also, while working in a Big Four there is so much hierarchy [such that] even when you are a partner you are working for someone else,” he added. “There are all kinds of people, some want to move out and do their own practice. That was the primary reason for us, why we moved out.”

Maheshwari and Bose gave Reina – which means “queen” in Spanish – a gestation time of around eight months after Maheshwari left E&Y in April to set up the office, infrastructure and hire associates. They said that three of the associates have around five years of experience each working with bigger law firms in India.

Bose told Legally India that at Reina, Maheshwari would focus on his specialist sectors – telecom, and entertainment and software - and Bose’s target sector was retail and consumer products. Their established clients included residential and commercial real-estate company Ireo, telecom service providers MTS and CMC Telecom, and financial services group Religare, which they have been representing in tax litigation.

“We have plans to expand not only as a law firm but also as tax solutions provider. Eventually to venture into that area is what the long term plan is,” explained Bose. “[As a tax solutions provider we intend to] provide assistance to Indian clients in routine tax and legal work where you do not require much of an intellect. Where it is not that time consuming, they can sort of buy it off-the-shelf.”

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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Gunjan Mishra 2012-12-12 17:45
Kudos to Gajendra and Rajat. My best wishes!
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 #ShadowWarrior 2012-12-12 17:56
this is interesting considering the present market.. but looks like very good potential considering the people involved..
lawyers have always been a little constrained working in the audit firms.. now that they have started to move towards opening a practice, would be a good blend of accounting, corporate and legal experience... and an opportunity for others also to spread their wings.
the #shadow is watching...
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 a nony mouse 2012-12-12 17:59
is this permitted ?

combination of lawyer and CAs in a single firm ?
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3.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Anony 2012-12-12 20:08
to give these people the benefit, i would assume that there will be two firms, one consultancy and the other law and that there would not be a profit share between them.
otherwise this is indeed not permitted, neither in India (where there are no regulations specifically governing law firms!)nor in most other markets that i know of.
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3.2
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 john the baptist 2012-12-12 20:11
sure it is.. why do you see a problem?
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3.2.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Anony 2012-12-12 23:16
you are obviously an accountant (perhaps with a law degree as an afterthought). Please condisr taking advise on the Advocates Act from a proper lawyer...
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3.2.1.1
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 john the baptist 2012-12-13 09:57
@Anony.. I am very much a proper lawyer (a very well researched one, at that.. thank you) and not an accountant. My comment was a first reaction from the extract inserted below your statement by AA. It seems that you probably missed seeing the same while posting..
Also, to conclude obviousness in such a short time is a bit impulsive, don't you agree?
And i assume by "condisr", you mean "consider" spelt c-o-n-s-i-d-e-r in the queen's English..

cheers.. have a happy rollicking day..
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3.2.1.1...
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Darth 2012-12-13 13:20
Quoting john the baptist:
@Anony.. I am very much a proper lawyer (a very well researched one, at that.. thank you) and not an accountant. My comment was a first reaction from the extract inserted below your statement by AA. It seems that you probably missed seeing the same while posting..
Also, to conclude obviousness in such a short time is a bit impulsive, don't you agree?
And i assume by "condisr", you mean "consider" spelt c-o-n-s-i-d-e-r in the queen's English..

cheers.. have a happy rollicking day..


@Baptist

Hmmmm...you sure don't articulate like a "well researched lawyer". Maybe an accountant, maybe a BA English pass course student but not a lawyer.

And your reasoning is bereft of more than a token bit of logic.

Please don't bother posting some wannabe sarcasm in return. Better to read up on the Advocates Act and hone your "well researched" self.
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3.2.1.1...
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 john the baptist 2012-12-13 17:51
Thank you Darth for your advice.. good to see you are keeping well at the bottom of that electrical shaft you were pushed into.
And don't bother, will not waste sarcasm on tin heads like you..
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3.2.1.1...
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Darth 2012-12-14 10:05
Quoting john the baptist:
Thank you Darth for your advice.. good to see you are keeping well at the bottom of that electrical shaft you were pushed into.
And don't bother, will not waste sarcasm on tin heads like you..


Oh it wasn't half as bad as they made it out in the movie, just a scratch really. Come over to the darkaside, young padawan. It's good fun.
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3.2.1.1...
 
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Lol 2013-10-16 19:42
The consistency with which Indian law schools produce egoistic douches who are no more than keyboard warriors is alarming.

Pathetic to say the least.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 AA 2012-12-12 19:44
The First Schedule of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, under item (2) of Part I considers that paying or allowing any share, commission or brokerage in the fees or profits to any person other than a member of the ICAI or a partner or a retired partner or the legal representative of a deceased partner, to be a professional misconduct. Item (3) treats accepting any part of the profits of the professional work of a lawyer, auctioneer, broker or other agent who is not a member of ICAI, as professional misconduct. Further, item (4) prohibits entering into partnership with any person other than a Chartered Accountant in practice, unless otherwise recognised by the Central Government or the Council. Item (5) considers as professional misconduct the securing of any professional work through the services of a person not qualified to be his partner. The Chartered Accountants Amendment Act, 2006 has modified the position to enable members of ICAI not only to transact with a non-member, but also to enter into partnership and share profits.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 However 2012-12-18 13:58
Till the Advocates Act is amended to similarly permit multi-disciplinary partnerships (MDPs), CAs can partner with non-members only if they are not lawyers. If they transact with advocates, then that would be a violation of the Advocates Act, which prohibits MDPs (ignorance of law is no excuse).
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Thank God 2012-12-12 20:28
Thank God there's another start up. It must be at least 3 days since the last one came up. I was having withdrawal symptoms.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 john the baptist 2012-12-12 22:18
Arre...there is news that more are coming soon.hold your horses for a bit more
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Hm 2012-12-12 22:40
How is itin your comfy cubicle where you are slaving to fill someone else's pockets? Grow a pair and try doing something worthwhile!
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Mamma mia 2012-12-12 23:08
OMG! Where are the BCI tigers???? Why aren't they protecting our jobs from these malicious bean counters??? Frankly I'm more scared of losing my plum job and knickers to these audacious desi CAs rather the foreign sahibs from linklaters et al. But seriously folks these loonies at reina or rihanna legal sound daft brazenly talking about a firm of CAs and lawyers. There is a reason why the professions are regulated seperately and if Bose miyan thinks he's stumbled on the discovery of the century, he's got another thing coming.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Dazed and Confused 2012-12-13 06:10
This is clearly prohibited under the AA.

This is the same thinking that allowed the Walmart CFO to act as the general counsel too. That turned out real well.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 a nony mouse 2012-12-13 07:24
Kian / Prachi

I cant see the "recommend button.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Nick 2012-12-13 07:37
While partnership between Chartered Accountant and Lawyer is certainly not permitted, there is no restriction to retain a qualified LLB (non-practicing) by a CA firm and a qualified CA (non-practicing) by a Law firm. This is very usual, all B4 firms/ Law firms hire LLB and CA respectively for their client matters, particularly for tax and corporate law practice! Again many CA turned lawyers have been setting up law firms for working in the area of tax, corporate and commercial litigation, as they have some advantage due to their commerce background - something similar to lawyers with science background running IPR practice
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 James 2012-12-13 11:18
Great going, Rajat!
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