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Ex-HSA Sakya Chaudhuri & others explain how their start-up chamber-style regs practice Neeti Niyaman will work

Exclusively reg: Ex-HSA partners Chaudhuri, Lal, Shrivastava start new firm
Exclusively reg: Ex-HSA partners Chaudhuri, Lal, Shrivastava start new firm

Former HSA Advocates partners Sakya Chaudhuri, Avijeet Lala and Anand Shrivastava’s regulatory, disputes and real estate practice Neeti Niyaman, which they started up in April after leaving HSA last month with two partners and eight lawyers, has now grown to a total headcount of 13, after picking up another two associates from firms other than HSA.

While the partners declined to comment at the time of their departure, they have now agreed to speak about their plans.

Chaudhuri commented: “We are developing the practice in the manner of a [law] chamber instead of a law firm. A chamber practice not only focuses on developing one yourself but also takes a key interest in developing the juniors as [part of the firm], not just in terms of making it financially competitive for them but providing them an atmosphere where they can take their own time to learn. It’s a technically challenging subject.”

He said that quality, instead of price, would be Neeti’s other differentiator in the market. “One of the reasons why we wanted to have our own firm was to focus on quality,” he said.

Shrivastava commented: “For any professional services firm, growth trajectory will depend on what kind of quality you provide to the client. It is not like your growth is linked to the rate the market is going to grow.”

Chaudhuri added that clients appreciate the value of quality of work over bargain prices and evidently he has not had to chase payments from clients to date due to this factor.

Business-focussed

Chaudhuri had joined a chamber after his 1998 LLB from Calcutta University and went on to specialise in regulatory work at Trilegal and then HSA. He said Neeti’s narrower focus area was in the regulatory practice as it had been the core practice of all the lawyers at the new firm.

Lala is a NUJS Kolkata 2005 alumnus and Shrivastava is a 2009 alumnus of the Rani Durgavati Vishwavidyalaya.

“The regulatory practice deals with the economics as well as legal aspects of any sector., but this has helped us to become more focused in terms of problem-solving,” he said.

Chaudhuri commented: “In today’s world when a corporate comes to you a law firm they are looking at legal capabilities of course but not more than that. If you’re someone who can add value to their business. This practice has helped us look at clients and their problems from a business perspective.”

Neeti’s clients currently consist of a mix of power, oil and gas regulators while mining and real estate are showing initial interest.

Sanskrit name

Confluential logo
Confluential logo

Chaudhuri said that the thinking behind the name was that the firm wanted to move away from Latin and Greek choices and closer to home. “Niti Niyaman” are Sanskrit word derivatives.

“Neeti means what an entity plans to do, and the ethics and code of conduct it plans to follow. Niyaman is a derivative of Sanskrit means words for putting things into a framework which is socially, morally and legally acceptable. So when we are focused on regulatory practice, as regulatory lawyers this is what we keep on doing all the time.”

Commenting on the firm’s logo, Chaudhuri said: “When we are looking at the regulatory practice it’s a confluence of 3 different disciplines - one is law, second is economics and third is technical knowledge. Our logo is a puzzle consisting of these three pieces representing these three disciplines which form an arrow showing focused approach in providing solutions.”

Neeti Niyaman’s office is in Niti Bagh in Delhi.

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