Wadia Ghandy Mumbai-based senior associate Vidya Venugopal has moved to Delhi to join the World Bank as South Asia legal counsel, as part of a team of four.
Venugopal, a 2007 Nuals Kochi graduate, had been at Wadia Ghandy since 2012, having started her career at ICICI Bank until leaving in 2010 for an LLM at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in International Business and Economic Laws, of Tufts University.
As South Asia counsel at the World Bank she will be providing legal and policy advice on the bank’s Indian and South Asian operations, which include significant project finance, lending and corporate-related work, according to the position’s job description (see below).
At Wadia Ghandy she had been in the firm’s banking practice.
Venugopal confirmed her joining when contacted, but declined to comment further.
At the World Bank, the India legal team of around four lawyers, including Venugopal, is understood to be the hub for South Asia, which is reporting to the chief counsel for South Asia, Melinda Good, who operates out of the bank’s Washington DC office.
The World Bank, which operates under the auspices of the United Nations, aims to provide loans and financial support to assist developing countries reduce poverty by improving infrastructure, trade and investment environments.
According to the job description for the position uploaded online:
In the context of the World Bank’s broad development agenda, the Legal Vice Presidency (LEGVP) provides legal services required by the World Bank and plays an active role in all the World Bank’s activities.
In addition, LEGVP helps to ensure that all World Bank’s activities comply with the Institution’s Articles of Agreement, policies and procedures.
Organizationally, the LEG VPU includes geographically-based regional Operational practice groups devoted to the legal and policy aspects of the World Bank’s lending operations, and Corporate practice groups, which provide advice on corporate finance, administrative and institutional matters for the World Bank.
The World Bank work program in South Asia covers eight diverse countries which are grouped into five country management units: Afghanistan; Bangladesh, Bhutan & Nepal; India; Pakistan; and Sri Lanka & Maldives.
The legal support strategy for South Asia is characterized by both real-time presence of lawyers in the field and support from lawyers, legal analysts and other staff in Washington, DC.
Legal support in the Bank’s country offices is provided by lawyers on a hub model.
Lawyers in New Delhi and Dubai each support more than one country program and flexibly back up the legal services.
The selected lawyer will join the New Delhi hub and work on the extensive India portfolio plus one or more additional South Asia countries to be determined.
The selected lawyer will be expected to be willing to travel to all countries in the region. The selected lawyer will work under the immediate supervision of the Senior Counsels in the Country office, and the Chief Counsel in HQ.
Work will be primarily project finance-based, supporting Bank investments in all sectors and all countries. Work will also include advising country management on operational, institutional and other matters that arise from time to time in the country offices.
The selected lawyer will also be involved in a broader array of World Bank interventions, including management of key relationships with other development partners and members of civil society, and will be expected to develop relationships with members of the legal profession and lawyers working in development partner agencies in his or her assigned countries.