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PXV Firm Profile: Structuring for the top tier

Das: fast starter, quick bloomer
Das: fast starter, quick bloomer
PXV Law Partners, which started as RDA Legal only three years ago with its founder just about two years out of NUJS Kolkata, can now boast four metro offices, a lockstep equity partnership model, bi-yearly managing partner elections and ambitious plans to give the legal world’s top brass a run for its money in the next five years.

Rohit Das, who was re-elected as managing partner in January 2011 after co-founding the firm in 2008, says he is not content for PXV to remain mid-market and mid-size. “We’re very aggressive and see ourselves in the top bracket in the next five years. And in terms of the size also we do see reaching 100 by five years.”

Firm Fact File

Offices: 4 (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata)
Total number of lawyers: 25
Number of partners
: 9, of which 7 equity (Mumbai: Rohit Das; Bangalore: Pingal Khan; New Delhi: Deepto Roy, Mohit Abraham, Thomas Phillippe, Shobha Singh, Anuj Sahay, New Delhi; Arindam Pal, Kolkata; and Souvik Bhadra, Kolkata)
Practice areas: M&A, JVs, litigation and disputes, real estate, infrastructure and energy and banking and finance
Indian firms recently seen on opposite side of deals: Induslaw, J Sagar Associates (JSA), Kanga & Co, Crawford Bayley, Khaitan & Co
Worked with foreign firms such as Skadden Arps, Berwin Leighton Paisner and referral relationship with French-European firm DS Advocats
Business development model: leveraging old relationships, developing new relationships, “very serious” about working with international law firms
Recruitment: This year taken six or seven freshers from RMLNLU Lucknow and GLC Mumbai; internship programme has taken from Jindal Global Law School, Nalsar Hyderabad and GNLU Gandhinagar.
Most impressive interns or students in past year: Not the school that matters, it’s the individual. We’ve had fantastic interns from Symbiosis Law School, ILS and CLC Delhi. 
CSR – The firm has undertaken vibrant pro bono work, says Das, at discounted fees or completely pro bono to various non-profit initiatives. Partners try to help clients who are not in a position to pay fees or have access to quality legal services, and some of the big non-profit organisation and those of clients such as Public Health Foundation of India, BPT – Hindustan Latex Charitable Trust and Yale Medical Centre.

Das started RDA Legal, as it was then called, after spending less than two years with Amarchand Mangaldas, having graduated from NUJS Kolkata in 2006. The first office was Kolkata, a city, he says, where he had the right amount of support and contacts necessary to start a new firm. This also gave a leg up to the second office only eight months later in Bangalore.

The firm underwent a restructuring to incorporate three new equity partners and rechristened to PXV last year.

PXV, short for Mount Everest’s original name Peak 15, is reflective of the firm’s ideologies, explains Das: hard work and dedication can lead them to the pinnacle of the legal profession.

The seven equity partners are on a pure lockstep with a common profit pool alongside two non-equity salaried partners.

“From last year we’re in the lockstep, we’re quite aggressive – we don’t want a highly leveraged firm in terms of associates but we want a highly leveraged firm in terms or partners,” says partner Deepto Roy, emphasising a balance between aggressive lateral hiring and organic growth. “Our salaries may not be as competitive as that of the big law firms [so we convince laterals] of the growth potential we see in the firm and ensure that they feel a part of it.”

Structurally forward looking

Besides an electoral method of selecting the managing partner every two years by equity partners, PXV has administrative sub-sections headed by each partner. An executive committee looks into various managerial responsibilities.

“One of things we’re putting in place is an executive committee of a smaller sub-set of partners taking on the firm’s responsibility,” explains Roy. “There are partners in charge of HR, knowledge, ethics and conflicts, business development, accounts and finance.”

Das adds that the firm’s management is closely knit and centralised with standardised practice across offices but trust still remains the cornerstone of understanding among partners.

And although all PXV partners are currently from NUJS Kolkata, Das says that is quite coincidental and the firm does not hold any institutional bias.

A part of PXV’s expansion strategy now is to take on specialists to expand in given practice areas while developing other important niche practices such as competition law and intellectual property in-house.

“Just recently we have inducted a consultant who is a UK qualified lawyer,” Das tells Legally India. “We are consulting her to develop a pharmaceutical practice - she’s an ex-Allen & Overy and has a lot of experience in-house as a lawyer working for pharma companies.”

M&As account for 45-50 per cent of the firm’s revenues followed by litigation, which contributes 30 per cent, and the rest that comes from other developing areas, according to Das. “General corporate work is bread and butter stuff for us.”

After four offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata, PXV is planning to open a fifth office by the end of this year in Ahmedabad, which according to Das is a growing centre of commerce where a lot of FDIs and investments have taken place.

Legally India’s law firm profiles are a new series where we look behind the scenes of Indian law firms and the way they work and play. All profiles are free of charge and independently written by Legally India’s editorial team.

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