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ICICI Bank GC Pramod Rao eschews Biglaw, joins IndusLaw equity

ICICI: Open door to private practice
ICICI: Open door to private practice
Exclusive in today’s Mint: Pramod Rao, ICICI Bank’s general counsel (GC) of more than seven years, will join young law firm IndusLaw as an equity partner to set up its Mumbai office.

Rao, who joined ICICI Limited’s legal team in 1996, will formally leave ICICI on 30 April 2012 to join IndusLaw by June. His resignation from the bank was first reported by Legally India in February

At IndusLaw he will start up the law firm’s Mumbai office as an equity partner and focus on building a practice in structured finance, financial services, debt restructuring and insolvency, which he said would complement the firm’s existing specialisation in private equity and mergers and acquisitions.

IndusLaw was set up in 2007 by merging Bangalore firm Indus, established in 2000 by four lawyers, and law firm G&D Law, which was started in Delhi in 2004 by two founders. The firm now has 52 lawyers, including 9 partners, based in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhuvaneshwar.

Pramod Rao: Avoids Biglaw
Pramod Rao: Avoids Biglaw
While Rao said he had never directly worked with IndusLaw while heading up ICICI Bank’s legal team of more than 400 lawyers, he had known the IndusLaw partners for over 20 years since studying law at NLSIU Bangalore with four co-founders - Gomatham Sridhar, Suneeth Katarki, Srinivas Katta, Srinivasa Raghavan who set up Indus in Bangalore. G&D Law was set up by Avimukt Dar and Gaurav Dani, who had studied together at the University of Buckingham in the UK.

Rao, who is understood from several sources to have been approached with offers to join a number of larger Indian firms, said that he had approached IndusLaw himself and that his primary reason for joining was the firm’s culture.

“I am very comfortable with the current set of folks who are manning the firm, and the brand equity I’ve seen the firm build over the last couple of years and the areas of practice, is something I’ve constantly monitored,” he added.

Also, unlike firms that were family or founder-dominated, IndusLaw was a professional set-up, he said.

Suneeth Katarki, a Bangalore-based co-founding partner of IndusLaw, commented that they had been missing an office in the key location of Mumbai for a long time but couldn’t find the right person to head it. “Bombay being a very mature market, we wanted to be extra sure that we would get someone with the responsibility and maturity to head of up the Bombay office.”

“In that context we were waiting to get the right person and… we got Pramod.”

From 2 April Rao has been handing over his duties at ICICI Bank to Sanker Parameswaran, former head of legal and compliance at ICICI Ventures, who will take over as ICICI Bank GC.

An ICICI spokesperson declined to comment.

A version of this article first appeared today in Mint. Legally India has an exclusive content partnership with Mint, which will feature the latest legal news and analysis every fortnight on Fridays in its print and web editions.

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