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Ex-JSA, Symbi alum Varun Sriram starts-up VB Legal into Chennai mid-market with Nalsar’07 Bhavya Sriram

Ex-HSB partner and associate Varun Sriram and Bhavya Sriram start up VB Legal in Chennai
Ex-HSB partner and associate Varun Sriram and Bhavya Sriram start up VB Legal in Chennai

J Sagar Associates (JSA) Chennai corporate partner Varun Sriram co-founded corporate law firm VB Legal in Chennai with independent lawyer Bhavya Sriram (no relation) two weeks ago, as first reported by VC Circle.

VB Legal currently has three associates and two of counsel in addition to the two founding partners, with the of counsels combining their specialised independent practices with the firm to “bring different skill sets” on board, said Varun Sriram.

Varun, who had left partnership at HSB Partners to join JSA as partner in July 2015, is a Symbiosis Law College 2006 alumnus and will cater to the firm's corporate commercial and M&A work.

Bhavya, who left HSB Partners as an associate in 2012, was practising independently since then and is a Nalsar Hyderabad 2007 alumnus. She will be responsible for the firm's infrastructure and real estate practice.

The two founders are not personally related, despite the same last name.

Varun commented: “There is no major mid-market firm in Chennai. There are either individual practitioners or some of the larger firms. When it comes to litigation lots of firms and individual practitioners [cater to it]. But when it comes to corporate commercial work or transactional stuff, there are lawyers doing either small sized transactions or the ones doing larger ones.”

“Most of the lawyers who kind of studied down South or who have families down South are practising in either Bombay or Bangalore,” he added.

He said that culturally the Chennai market was peculiar insofar as its preference for local lawyers, even if they are individual practitioners over bigger or mid-market firms from Bombay or Bangalore, even for bigger corporate transactions.

“In fact most of the business houses and promoters are quite happy with local counsels rather than Bombay or Bangalore firms,” he said, but also added that he has observed in his seven years of practice in Chennai that the clients in the region are “facing a gap” in terms of “mid-market firms”, which was the motivation behind starting up.

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