Legal technology is booming, with companies attempting to mutate the legal space at every level and from every angle. Legal matters have been a tough nut to crack, because there is significant non-uniform regulation and risk-averse, disaggregated stakeholders. Hence, consumers are demanding more efficient, transparent and affordable legal services and lawyers are looking for cutting-edge ways to compete in an oversaturated market. The legal industry is moving towards automation and is becoming increasingly commoditized. In that background, law firms are also required to follow certain strict policies and operate in narrow frames.
Written agreements in the form of contracts are essentially stories that become rules and framework for two entities to work together. Lawyers are to be encouraged to imagine how the contract would pan out and gather as much data about the parties (through public sources) while drafting. Situations need to be played out and discussed to arrive at final documents. Pursuing such abilities to portray legal stories through strategic, long-term value proposition focused on smart growth and risk-management is Ms. Archana Balasubramanian, Founding Partner of Agama Law Associates.
A Skilled and Sagacious Leader
While conceptualizing a firm, especially in the legal field, one needs to identify and define key strengths and capabilities with the ability to match requirements of certain segments of the market. As a founder, the biggest challenge for Archana was to evolve into different roles, choosing areas of practice while avoiding certain other areas, albeit lucrative. Archana has versatile experience of over one decade where she has developed profound legal skills and acumen. She has a tactical transactional understanding as well as significant industry expertise across diverse sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, media, pharmaceuticals, financial services, shipping, real estate, technology, engineering, infrastructure and health.
She started her career under Senior Counsel Mr. S. Venkiteswaran. She subsequently worked with Udwadia & Udeshi and AZB & Partners prior to founding ALA. Through ALA, Archana is catering to start-ups, mid-sized firms, and listed and unlisted enterprises. Archana advises her clients across a whole gamut of transactions essential for the functioning of any organization in the economic-legal environment. Driven by the philosophy that the growth of her clients is fundamental for her firm’s growth, she has a process driven approach that is quintessential for good legal health of corporates right from the initial stages.
Client-centric Customizable Services
ALA’s spectrum of experience encompasses setting up of businesses, commercial contracts (including property documentation), mergers and acquisitions (M&A) documentation and negotiation, corporate advisory, (listed and unlisted) statutory and regulatory compliance advisory, foreign exchange law advisory, international and domestic arbitration, litigation (including litigation avoidance), and dispute management and other related services. It has been their endeavor to create a platform for the most effective and efficient delivery of legal services.
ALA’s ability to quickly get to the practical heart of an issue while cutting out legal “noise” sets them apart and makes them a true business partner to their clients. For instance, ALA has developed a highly streamlined diligence and documentation process towards start-ups investments and has been instrumental in helping various startups and investors save substantial time and cost in the entire process.
Despite being a young law firm, ALA has been lauded for their in-depth subject knowledge, responsiveness and their desire to arrive at the best solution. ALA is always available to their clients to opine quickly on a diverse range of ad-hoc legal matters faced by them and the legal advice received from ALA has been attested by their clients to be practical yet very thorough. As a value addition, they are able to provide clients with the ability to create policies and structure transactions to avoid future disputes and minimize unrecoverable outstandings.
One of the key differentiating factors for ALA is their geographic reach, despite being based out of Mumbai. Their network of associates all over India enables them to provide cost efficient services across various geographies. In sum, clients receive the benefit of lower overhead costs while receiving services in different geographies as there are no location specific overheads.
Archana’s Intuitive Approach
Archana has developed an all rounded approach towards provision of service through ALA, i.e., internal systems for quality control and external service delivery mechanisms. She and her team have been competently able to streamline specific client related issues and develop processes for them. However, at the same, they are perceptive about retaining their boutique identity and ensure that they are not following the template culture.
In the age of commoditization of legal services, ALA provides a value proposition of more for less. In that, Archana has created processes and mechanisms to ensure uniformity in ALA’s delivery, while at the same time, customizing solutions (documentation or advisory) for her clients. Through effective use of technology, ALA is able to provide quick access to clients, of documentation prepared for clients including for diligence or contract management.
They are open to collaborating with other law professionals to provide holistic solutions and have successfully pedaled clients to the right professionals for their issues – be it chartered accountants or litigation experts and so on.
They strive to engage constantly with client community, start-up community and others, to provide updates and give key inputs to specific clients on legal developments that may affect their business.
Envisioning Phenomenal Growth
ALA plans to develop business sectors or practice areas rather than only focusing on geographical expansion. At this juncture there are ongoing discussions with young start-ups and with those who are in a complementing field, i.e., disputes where the firm believes synergies are possible. These are however discussions in the long term growth plan of this young firm. The current team of Agama is going to keep a continued focus on its main area of expertise, i.e., commercial documentation.
Their present clientele is extended in geographies such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi. ALA intends to expand its network to cater more than the above areas.