Spice Route Legal (along with Spice Route Business, which focuses on compliance) has opened its fourth office, in the southern port city of Kochi.
The opening comes as the firm is about to complete its third private equity deal with a company based in Kerala.
“We are in Kochi for the long haul and hope to assist with matters in and involving Kerala,” Spice Route Legal founder Mathew Chacko told India Business Law Journal, adding that it is not a back office for the firm’s other offices. Many Delhi and Mumbai-based law firms fly their lawyers in and out of south India to serve clients or operate satellite offices.
Modern day Kochi is built on the ruins of Muziris – the fabled centre of the historic spice route, says Chacko, and is “a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, from artificial intelligence and financial services to tourism, consumer goods and traditional medicines”.
Many have been surprised by the firm’s decision to plant roots in Kochi, he says. “For a firm called Spice Route Legal, [co-founder] Praveen [Raju] and I thought it was an obvious move. Jokes aside, Kerala has thriving TMT [technology, media and telecommunications] and financial services sectors and is capital starved. We merely reacted to demand.”
While the firm expects its Kochi office to be full-service, it will initially focus on disputes, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, TMT, securities law and real estate.
The firm currently has a few compliance professionals in Kochi. Chacko says he does not expect to hire “an army of lawyers”, but hopes to recruit a few with disputes and corporate experience.