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Start-up RDA Legal makes best friends with French firm

Start-up firm RDA Legal has signed a best friends agreement with French-international law firm DS Avocats and has expanded with one lateral Delhi partner and one internal Kolkata promotion.

RDA founding partner Rohit Das said: "We have entered into a non-financial and non-exclusive referral relationship with DS.

"We thought having a tie-up with a French law firm, which has offices all over Europe, will give us edge over others, plus we have developed a good relationship with them and we have built very strong friendships."

DS is headquartered in France and has a headcount of 220 lawyers globally. In Europe it operates as financially independent firms in Germany, Italy, Spain and Brussels under the DS brand while having six integrated offices in China, Singapore and Vietnam.

The best friendship agreement was signed last week (30 March) between RDA and partners representing DS' French and German offices.

"None of the [Indian] law firms are really concentrating on the civil law countries, like Germany or Europe," claimed Das. "We are going to be working closely with them to get us used to a completely different system of law."

Das explained that the firms would focus on knowledge sharing and training in their alliance. "They are also going to second one of their advocates to our office here in Delhi. We are going to train him on Indian legal systems generally and we are we are going to be following strictly the Advocates Act and ethics - none of the lawyers seconded will be practising law."

RDA was started in Kolkata under the name Rohit Das Associates in April 2008 by Das, Pingal Khan and Arindam Pal. Khan later relocated from Kolkata to set up the firm's Bangalore office.

The firm has now also hired Supreme Court advocate Mohit Abraham as a partner in its Delhi office on 1 March and has promoted Kolkata senior associate Anuj Sahay to salaried partner level.

RDA consists of 25 lawyers in Kolkata, Bangalore and Delhi and four equity partners and one salaried partner, with each partner specialising in either of general corporate and M&A, infrastructure, litigation and intellectual property.

DS India head Jérémie Sabbagh said: "We are a European law firm and have a long history in Asia, particularly in China and Hong Kong. The idea [now] is to develop a nice relationship with an Indian law firm to develop relationships with Indian clients."

"The main objective is to work with Indian companies in Europe," stated Sabbagh.

Das said that he hoped RDA's Delhi office would also benefit from foreign investment-related work out of Europe.

Sabbagh also noted that the relationship was non-exclusive and that DS would continue working with other Indian law firms.

initially we are targeting to get our FIPB – Delhi office we are doing JV and FDI work right now.

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