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Amarchand SA Rishi Anand starts Gnarus to compete on price, skills for lower tier work

Anand: Skillz
Anand: Skillz

Amarchand Mangaldas senior associate Rishi Anand has founded Delhi start-up Gnarus Partners with three associates and one litigation head, aiming to double in size by next year and by attracting second-tier work.

Gnarus – which means “skilful”, explained Anand – began operating from a 1,200 square foot office in Chittaranjan Park last week.

The 2007 Symbiosis Pune graduate specialises in corporate transactional law. He began his career at LakshmiKumaran and Sridharan in Delhi, followed by a stint in Singapore between 2008 and 2011.

There he worked as a foreign lawyer at Dacheng Law Offices and Rodyk & Davidson, and completed an LLM at National University of Singapore.

In March 2011 he joined Amarchand in Delhi.

He said that starting up his own firm was always part of his career plan, which included working abroad and at Amarchand.

He would initially focus purely on corporate, M&A and private equity work, alongside litigation that would be headed by another 2007 Symbiosis graduate.

“If you see, there is a lot of space in the market right now. There are clients that don’t want to pay [top tier] rates […] for drafting a resolution,” he said. “I have signed a few retainers initially [and] I am working with a few of the private equity firms… in addition I have a few very good companies that will be retaining me.”

“Each of the matters are more than Rs 15 to 20 crores and the litigation bits are also going to be very good,” claimed Anand.

He named several major private equity funds he used to do work for, but admitted that he would not be able to target the top tier yet. “I know I’m not going to get work from them right now but second tier [funds and] SMEs, for them it will be a blessing.

“You get experienced lawyers and a very very good rate.”

The funds he was currently instructed by, such as one boutique firm run by one of his “investment banker friends”, he explained, were smaller venture capital funds with deal sizes below $10m.

His team currently consisted of two fresh law graduates from RGNUL Patiala and Symbiosis, and a lawyer with one year of experience from CLC Delhi, as well as a part-time LLM graduate paralegal.

By the end of 2013, he was hoping that at least 10 lawyers would be working for him, he said.

Amarchand declined to comment.

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