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All-equity, all-partner start-up Ira expands to 7 with 2 more Anand & Anand movers, including super senior partner Debjit Gupta

‘Experienced start-up’ is looking to add associates soon...
Ira Law five (Nautiyal, Gupta, Kalra, Vijay, Kamath, l to r) grow to seven
Ira Law five (Nautiyal, Gupta, Kalra, Vijay, Kamath, l to r) grow to seven

IRA Law, the intellectual property and litigation boutique started up by four Anand & Anand alums, has added two more former Anand & Anand partners: senior partner of nearly three decades, Debjit Gupta, and partner Geetanjali Visvanathan have joined on 1 March.

Delhi-based Ira runs an all-equity, all-partner firm, currently without any associates, which had been founded by four Anand & Anand alumni in mid-2018.

New addition, Anand senior partner Debjit Gupta, specialises in trademarks and exports laws. He had been with Anand for 29 years after graduating from Delhi University in 1989.

IP and litigation specialist Geetanjali Visvanathan is a 2009 Army Institute of Law Mohali grad, with a 2014 LLM from NYU. She had also spent most of her career at Anand & Anand, becoming partner there in February 2018, and regularly also appears in the courts.

Geetanjali Visvanathan moves to Ira
Geetanjali Visvanathan moves to Ira

The firm will be seven equity partners strong with Gupta and Visvanathan, and its work consists of a rough 50/50 split between the typical wide range of IP work as well as commercial disputes.

Ira co-founding partner Binny Kalra explained that Ira was “literally a start-up with experienced people” working in a practice area she described as “IP plus”, adding: “We are now also including other areas of practice including commercial litigation, we are not restricted to IP, that’s the short point. We do commercial litigation under competition law, IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code), NCLAT cases - and also transactional advice. And a lot of work with startups.”

Anand founding and managing partner Pravin Anand commented: “All our best wishes for their firm.”

Ira had been co-founded by Kalra, who had been had been at Anand from 1990 to December 2017, and three others:

  • Abhilasha Nautiyal had been at Anand from 2010 and 2018;
  • Aditya Gupta had been at Anand between 2010 and 2017, before joining Amit Sibal’s chambers;
  • Raunaq Kamath had been at Anand from 2010 to 2018.

Kruttika Vijay came on board as a partner at Ira in January 2019 after having initially joined as a consultant and working with senior counsel Rajshekhar Rao from 2017 after nine-years mostly at Anand.

Creating a more modern firm

When asked whether Ira had ambitions to become the new Anand & Anand, Kalra said: “Not at all, we want to be the new Ira Law. [We are] not riding on any past reputation and experience, though we acknowledge with all humility and respect for Anand and Anand what we have learned and come up to where we are.”

According to Kalra, the law firm’s name Ira, in particular, was intentionally abstract, with “ira” having connotations in some languages to the Hindu goddess of wisdom, Saraswati, or to the earth.

“The idea was not to link to any person in particular, to allow for, and hope, that we can be a more modern firm, give opportunities for people who fit with the culture, who are of the same capability and efficiency - the exact match that we find for our way of thinking, our principles,” she added.

And while the firm did not have a single fee-earner, besides the seven equity partners, Kalra said this would likely change in future. “At the moment we are only 7 [partners but] we feel that we want to be more than a pure partnership. I guess it’s got to be a part of our growth process [to hire associates] - we’ve not yet completed a year.

“In that span one is assessing how much work is coming in, what growth we can expect to achieve. One year is too early to even assess what kind of resources you need. We are getting a clearer idea now, and the firm size is bound to increase with non-equity folks also.”

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