Nitin Jain, a former counsel at Tata Chemicals, joined Agama Law Associates, a boutique commercial law practice, as its managing partner on 1 January. Archana Balasubramanian, who founded the firm in 2014, told India Business Law Journal that the firm’s “immediate goal is to add a dozen new clients from various sectors by the end of this year who start considering Agama as their extended legal arm.”
Agama currently has two partners and three associates. Balasubramanian confirmed that the interviews for additional resources had already begun.
Jain began his career at Law Charter in Mumbai, handling corporate, property and banking-related litigation matters at Bombay High Court. He later went on to work as a legal manager at Mahindra Logistics and Mahinda and Mahindra before moving to Tata.
During his time as a corporate counsel, Jain handled inbound and outbound M&A, created strategies for litigation matters relating to commercial, civil, criminal and white-collar crimes, took on employment law and arbitration matters, advised on contracts, compliances and documentation. While at Tata, Jain also spearheaded the implementation of an upgraded national compliance system. Over the years he has developed expertise in laws relating to the logistics, automobile, chemicals, food and real estate sectors.
Speaking of his decision to move to private practice, Jain said while working in-house offered its own challenges and rewards, he believed there was a space to create a firm, “which approached its business from the perspective of clients rather than expecting clients’ needs to fit into pre-casted practice areas and team divisions.”
Balasubramanian said she and Jain had been family friends for a decade and were “equal partners” at the firm. She added that her decision to appoint him as managing partner was based on his “natural talent for management and organizational skills” and his “perspective of understanding what clients like and dislike in law firm offerings”. Balasubramanian herself, will focus more on executing mandates.
The firm assists with business setups, commercial contracts, mergers and acquisitions, corporate advisory, statutory and regulatory compliance, foreign exchange law advisory, international and domestic arbitration, and disputes. In building a team for each matter, Jain said “we will use a mix of our retained lawyers and our off-counsel arrangements with young experts in respective fields.” He acknowledged this would mean “slow organic growth” for Agama, but said the firm was prepared for this.”