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GVK in-houser, ex-Kochhar Mumbai founder Ramesh Vaidyanathan sets up corporate law firm


The general counsel (GC) of Mumbai International Airport and counsel of infrastructure company GVK Group has started up his own law firm by the name Advaya Legal, hoping to capture corporate, projects and litigation work.

Ramesh Vaidyanathan (pictured) was the GC of GVK Group from 2006, having joined there from Kochhar & Co where he had started his career in 1997, set up its Mumbai office in 2000 as an associate and grew it to 13 lawyers taking up partnership in the process.

Vaidyanathan, who originally comes from Kerala but begun his legal career in Delhi, set up Advaya Legal on 15 May with eight junior lawyers in an office in Mumbai's West Bandra area.

Vaidyanathan told Legally India: "You don't find, unlike in the West, this seamless movement from in-house to private practice – it is very difficult to get back.

"I'm glad I could make that switch back again now. I spent nearly four years in-house, any more than this would have made it difficult to come back."

The firm would focus on corporate, finance and litigation work, which were all areas that he dealt with as GVK's GC. He added that the pipeline of work looked good and that he had already been retained for work relating to GVK's Bangalore airport, although he was still in the process of finalising the firm's website and other systems.

The name of the firm Advaya was made up of two Sanskrit word, explained Vaidyanathan. Dvaya, he said means 'two', with advaya negating it to mean 'no twos', in the sense of something having no second or being unique.

"The idea is to create something, which is very professional," he said. "Right now I don't have any other partners but am quite keen to get people along. Eventually I believe we can grow as long as you have more people and people who can participate in a true partnership."

Vaidyanathan explained that he had decided to join GVK because in 2006 the government had decided to privatise the Delhi and Mumbai airports, with GVK having been selected to develop and modernise the Mumbai airport.

"The great challenge was that this was something that has never been attempted in India before, in a sense. This was a test case for public private partnership projects, where you're privatising the busiest airport in India."

He was the first hire into GVK's legal team, which now consists of 10 lawyers.

It is understood that GVK is currently in the process of appointing a new GC to replace Vaidyanathan.

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