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Juris Corp founders give equity ownership to 5, hope to become minority • Firm strong enough to ‘absorb’ a crash

Firm in strong financial position to weather possible future storms: H Jayesh

New JC equity partners: Choudhary, Moral, Anand, Kumar, Chakraborti
New JC equity partners: Choudhary, Moral, Anand, Kumar, Chakraborti

Juris Corp has converted to an equity partnership model beyond just the founders, converting its five salaried partners to equity partners to the firm.

The new equity partners are Arunabh Choudhary, Avikshit Moral, Nand Gopal Anand, Pratish Kumar and Shubhabrata Chakraborti (see more details on new partners below).

“We’ve been working on this for some time and we’ve worked out a particular process,” commented co-founder and managing partner H Jayesh about what he termed a “true equity model” and de-facto co-ownership.

“It’s true equity. We will of course have measures of periodical evaluation but it’s pure equity, not eat what you kill,” he added, in that founder equity was substantially the same as the new partners’ equity, though different in terms of quantities.

“It’s not gonna be all of us equal [equity percentages] on day one, but we’ll get there. The founders still have majority and hopefully - this may sound odd - not for too many years.”

While all existing salaried partners are now equity partners, future internal promotions - probably in the coming months judging by previous years - would probably be made into the salaried partner rung initially.

That said, this is not the first time there were equity partners beyond the two founders: Mustafa Motiwala, who had left for erstwhile Clasis in 2014, had also been an equity partner at Juris Corp, Jayesh said.

Good with bad?

Equity partnership in a firm is generally seen as desirable by fee-earners, who are keen to own a part of the firm that they are helping build.

That said, the good can too come with the bad, as co-owners of a business may also have responsibilities (read, potential liabilities).

“Everyone in equity has as much as us, the risk and reward,” said Jayesh.

But what if the economy should crash, as has seemed all but certain now, globally?

“We are confident that even if it goes badly we have the strength to absorb it. We’ve been working on this for months, we felt this [coronavirus] is not the reason to delay it. We will deal with it as it comes,” he said.

“We are quite confident, even if things were to go South - we will still be able to see it through without having to re-work anything,” he added, noting that the firm did have reserves. “We’ve had some good years so we’ll be able to manage everything.”

Practice split

Juris Corp used to pretty much be a niche financial services boutique and powerhouse, with banking and finance making up the majority of billings.

“Those days are gone,” said Jayesh, noting that of the new equity partners, only two specialise in banking finance (Kumar co-heads banking and heads the finance practice; Anand co-heads banking and heads project finance).

Chakraborti heads disputes and the other two equity partners are transactional: corporate M&A and commercial are respectively headed and co-headed by Moral, while fintech is headed by Choudhary - despite the name, the department deals less with banks than with technology clients, according to Jayesh.

Over the last two or three years the financial services vertical was still substantial but had reduced to less than 50% of firm revenues, which had always been the firm’s plan since it was founded but had somehow never happened.

“The last few years there has been a significant shift we’ve managed to achieve,” said Jayesh. “It took longer than we thought but we are on the road to having reoriented ourselves.”

The above is despite the short-lived merger with the practice of former ALMT Legal partner Hitesh Jain, who had joined in April 2018 with a team of nearly 30, but went independent again by November of that year to start Parinam.

New partners / co-owners

In a statement, Jayesh commented: “This move builds upon the blueprint created by the firm’s next level of leadership for accelerating the firm’s growth. The owners are driven by value creation, which has steered the firm on the path of continuous growth and excellence.”

Juris Corp’s second co-founder Talat Shah, who with Jayesh had been the only equity partners in the firm at the time of this restructuring, added: “This collaborative approach is a testimony of the firm’s outlook for growth and diversification. It will also show the way ahead for Gen Z.”

The new partners are, according to a statement from the firm:

Arunabh Choudhary is a dual qualified M.B.A, LL.M. gold medallist from the National Law University, Jodhpur; batch of 2010. He is also a Company Secretary credential holder. Arunabh started his career with Juris Corp in 2010 in the Securities team, Mumbai, after having interned with Juris Corp in 2009. Over the years Arunabh has worked in the areas of General Corporate practice, Competition Law, M&As, Funds Practice, Start-Ups and FinTech. Since 2017, Arunabh heads the Firm’s PE & Fintech practice. He also heads the Bangalore office.

Avikshit Moral started his career in 2008 and joined Juris Corp in 2014. Over the years, Avikshit has worked extensively in the areas of Real Estate, Commercial Laws, Private Clients, M&As and Commercial Disputes. Avikshit currently heads the Firm’s M&A practice and co-heads the Firm’s Commercial Laws practice.

Nand Gopal Anand started his career in 2006 with Juris Corp, after having interned with Juris Corp in 2003. He moved to Khaitan & Co. in 2012, and re- joined Juris Corp in 2015. Over the years, Nand Gopal has worked in the areas of Banking, Project Finance, Shipping Finance, Trade Finance and Real Estate Financing. Nand Gopal currently besides co-heading Banking, heads the Project Finance practice. He also heads the New Delhi office.

Pratish Kumar started his career in 2008 with Juris Corp, after having interned with Juris Corp in 2007. He moved to J. Sagar Associates in 2012, and re-joined Juris Corp in 2017 and is based out of Mumbai. Over the years, Pratish has worked in the areas of banking, trade finance, project finance, securitisation, regulatory, and restructuring. Pratish besides co-heading Banking, heads the Finance Practice.

Shubhabrata Chakraborti started his career in the year 2007. Shubhabrata joined Juris Corp in the year 2014. Before joining Juris Corp, he has, practiced as a counsel in the Calcutta High Court and has also worked with leading EPC companies. Over the years, he has garnered experience in Civil and Commercial disputes, Financial disputes, EPC disputes, Insolvency & Restructuring. Shubhabrata heads the Dispute Resolution practice.

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