“Embracing technology is not just a choice; it’s a necessity in today’s legal landscape. By leveraging technology, we can enhance efficiency and deliver superior outcomes for our clients.” – Kamlesh Kharade, Founding Partner at India Law Alliance

This interview has been published by Namrata Singh and The SuperLawyer Team

Could you take us through your journey from your college days to where you are now as a Founding Partner at India Law Alliance? What inspired you to choose a career in law, and can you share some memorable moments from your college days and legal education that have shaped your professional trajectory?

Actually, I took up law as a career due to an accident that took place in December, 1990. Due to which I had to take a break of 2 years from my studies. Due to the bed rest advised by the doctors, I could not give the final exam of my second year of B. Com. However, I completed my Bachelor of Commerce in May 1993 with first class. At that time two of my best friends had already started studying law at New Law College. Hence, I choose to join New Law College instead of joining the Government Law College. The professors at New Law College encouraged me during the initial years to take up law as a career. I joined Hariani & Co.  in January 1996 as a Trainee and thereafter I completed my LL. B. in May 1996. After I completed LL. B degree, I took up further studying and completed the Masters in Law from Bombay university (LL. M) in May 1998.

I have studied law graduation from New Law College, Matunga, Mumbai. During the free period, I used to discuss with my Seniors about the career in law. During one of the conversations with my friend Veena Mehta, she happened to inform me about the Solicitor’s Articleship with the law firm. Accordingly, I decided to take up the Articleship in a law firm after I finish my law graduation. However, during my 3rd year of law, upon the recommendation from Veena, I joined Hariani and Co. as Articles clerk. I had to sign my article’s agreement with Senior Solicitor P.P. Hariani. I really had a good working experience at Hariani & Co. being one of the best law firms to work in the year 1996. Thereafter, Hariani and co. got merged with DSK Legal and was known as Anderson Legal. While working in Anderson Legal, I had decided to start my own law firm. Anderson Legal in the due course was renamed as DSK Legal. In the year 2004 after completing my Qualified Lawyer’s Transfer Test in London, I had decided to return to India and start working independently in the legal field. Hence, I took a break from work and started studying for my Ph. D in Law. During my studies at Bombay university, I was exploring the options to start a law firm.  I always wanted to become an independent professional instead of working for Company.  I had met Anupam Dighe at DSK Legal and discussed with him about starting the new venture. Accordingly, we both initiated and founded our own law firm under the name India Law Alliance. Anupam had discussed with his family friend Raghu Aiyar for office. Accordingly, we started working from an office opposite Bombay Stock Exchange.  Later on, two junior advocates joined us and our journey in the legal field formally started in October 2004.

As the founding partner of India Law Alliance, could you share with us the story behind the inception of your firm? What motivated you to establish your own legal practice, and what were some of the challenges you encountered during the initial stages? Moreover, how do you perceive the growth and evolution of your firm over the past 19 years, and what do you envision for its future trajectory?

India Law Alliance is formed by Anupam Dighe and myself with guidance from our well wisher Mr Raghu Iyer, Managing Partner of K S Iyer & Co., the esteemed Chartered Accountancy Firm. The initial challenge of getting the clients for the law firm was taken away as our acquaintances and family friends recommended their corporate contacts to us and introduced us as Corporate lawyers to take up the legal work. Initially, I took up the litigation work on behalf of Corporates in Bombay High Court and Bombay City Civil Court. We represented them in the injunction suits and obtained favourable orders. We worked professionally and worked with the experienced Counsel to represent our clients and succeeded in representing them in Bombay High Court. This gave lots of confidence and we continued our journey in representing clients in various litigations in Mumbai City as well as in the Hon’ble Supreme Court at New Delhi. We were fortunate to take up the due diligence assignments with Merchant bankers. 

We are recognised by our existing clients who recommended our firm to their acquaintances which is helping us in growing moderately despite the Corona Epidemic period. The growth of work in the firm is moderate and continuous which motivates us to upgrade ourselves in using the technology and completing tasks in time.

You have an impressive array of legal expertise spanning various areas such as Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, Real Estate, and Banking & Finance. How do you manage to maintain proficiency across such diverse domains?

During my Articleship time with earlier law firms, I had an opportunity to represent various corporate clients and high net worth individuals. This gave me exposure to work in a variety of fields and represent them in high value real estate transactions. I continue to represent our esteemed clients in completing transactions in real estate, banking and finance besides protecting their intellectual property rights. As a junior advocate, I was always open to learning new corporate avenues which gave me the opportunity to read various commercial documents and applicable laws. Over the period of time, I sharpened my skills to multitask while reading corporate documents and understanding the intrinsic values in it.

Even today, I like to read the commercial transaction documents in detail. I like to understand the new terminologies and concepts introduced in that transaction. With change of laws and technology it is important to work in diverse domains which keeps you active in professional life.

Apart from your legal career, what are some of your personal interests or hobbies that you find yourself indulging in during your free time?

I have been a Rotarian since July 2004 which keeps me busy working with people with a variety of interests. Rotary has various fellowships and I participate in a few interesting fellowships. The recent fellowship in Rotary is known as Rotary means business. This platform actually gives networking opportunities with various Rotarians from different locations and vocations to interact with each other. Networking is the latest keyword for the legal profession as it gives opportunity to meet people with various types of businesses and their needs. Rotarians do refer to our law firm as one of the recommended law firms as many of the Rotarians know me as an active professional. I do enjoy attending musical concerts including jazz nights. I do enjoy practicing golf at home as well as at the club whenever opportunity is available. In my free time, I often read magazines of various subjects. The latest being on the topic of artificial intelligence.

In your opinion, what are some of the essential skills or qualities that every aspiring lawyer should cultivate to thrive in the legal profession today?

Every aspiring lawyer must have acumen to read the latest laws with amendments and keep notes for application in practical life. The lawyers must get acquainted themselves with the latest technology available for the legal field and use it for doing the research, be it for court cases or for any particular transaction. With updates of the law as well as relaxations in many government policies, the aspiring advocates must read it from time to time. The latest updates or amendments must be discussed with concerned partners or colleagues from time to time. These discussions on law keeps the lawyer active in mind as well as in profession. Making notes on latest judgments and using them in applicable cases is required for every aspiring lawyer as it helps in growing his or her presence felt during the meeting.

You’ve been actively involved in representing both multinational companies and large Indian business houses. From your experience, what are some common challenges faced by clients in today’s dynamic business environment, and how do you assist them in overcoming these challenges?

Nowadays most of the multinational companies and business houses hire Advocates for their legal work. The company’s law team needs to be updated by the law firm about the latest judgments as well as amendments in law. The challenges faced by the company’s advocates need to be understood correctly by the advocates working in the law firm and keep them updated with the latest changes. Changes in the laws need to be understood correctly by the advocates and accordingly inform the clients to take the correct decision and plan for the company’s requirement. The latest applicable stamp duty rates and exemptions available to the companies need to be discussed and informed to the concerned officials from the company to take the correct decision in time. The regular legal update or knowledge sharing needs to be done with the company professionals which helps advocates from the law firm and corporations bond well. This mutual understanding and support helps both the law firm as well as the company.

You’ve navigated through legal landscapes both domestically and internationally. Could you shed light on the differences you’ve encountered in working within these two contexts, and what approach you believe is essential when dealing with international law or clients compared to domestic ones?

International clients require our assistance in understanding the applicable Indian laws to the problems or challenges faced by them. Hence to understand the problem at hand and find the correct solution to the problem in the Indian scenario is very important. Most of the international laws are very simple in understanding however the execution of the transaction or its applicability in India need to be understood correctly. International clients often require our opinions on certain clauses in the commercial transaction. However sometimes those clauses are too complex in application due to changes in technology which may not be available in India. Hence, we face a challenge in finding the correct solution in either amending those clauses as per Indian laws or suggest alternate solutions for those issues. Domestic clients handling is not too difficult nowadays due to experience of dealing with corporates for many years and the standard practice and process followed by us. However, understanding the international client’s requirement in the present scenario gives us the opportunity to learn new concepts and its application in the current international scenario.  

In your opinion, what new dimensions or emerging trends do you foresee in the legal landscape, particularly concerning areas like intellectual property and real estate?

The protection of intellectual property in India is widely recognised nowadays. Its awareness and protection of intellectual property rights is very important as nowadays many corporates seek prior opinion and guidance from us before using the intellectual property for their business. This advanced planning assists them in avoiding the unnecessary litigation. With new technology being available for legal work it is very important for us to get acquainted with it and support various clients in protecting their intellectual property rights. The new technology in real estate like satellite mapping off location of company properties gives better understanding of the transaction. Accordingly, we can advice the client. Real estate in Mumbai is protected by various laws including RERA which helps in advanced planning in proper title search of the concerned property. With the help of online searches of the property we can do much better work than earlier times.

Many of us have one area of work and one passion area which we love to immerse ourselves in. Do you have any particular aspect of your legal practice that you’re deeply passionate about, beyond the professional obligations, and if so, what is it? 

My legal expertise is in corporate real estate transactions which I enjoy the most. However, my new passion since the last few years is Public Interest Litigation. I represent a few individuals who are fighting for public interest in Mumbai city. I do a lot of pro bono work for the individuals who can’t afford to hire counsel or the law firm. I try my best to find the best practical legal solution for them and negotiate accordingly with the concerned developer to avoid unnecessary litigation. It gives a lot of satisfaction and pleasure to work with individuals who are passionate about the common man’s concern. I enjoy working with the local resident’s associations to protect the interest of locals against the wrong policy or work done by the authorities. I enjoy working with locals and representing them before the authorities which gives some pride to me being an advocate.

Get in touch with Kamlesh Kharade–

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