Last year, Ankit Majmudar rebranded the Mumbai office of boutique law firm Platinum Partners as 'Quillon Partners.'
He did so while parting ways with one of the Platinum founders, Karam Daulet-Singh, who rebranded the firm as 'Touchstone Partners'.
Majmudar joined the Mumbai office of Platinum Partners in 2015, prior to which he was a Partner at Wadia Ghandy & Co. He joined Wadia Ghandy in 2000 after graduating from National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
In this interview with Bar & Bench, the rationale rebranding the Mumbai office of the erstwhile firm, the governance structure at the new firm and future plans.
After spending a few years at Platinum Partners, you started Quillon Partners last year. Take us through the decisions to part ways and to form a new entity.
An expansive vision and market requirements made it imperative in the strategic interests to diversify Platinum Partners. So we decided to rebrand ourselves as Quillon Partners on November 1, 2020. Whilst the name (and entity) has changed, for all practical purposes, it is the same firm in Mumbai with the same set of people and same ethos and values.
What are the challenges you faced while setting up a new firm?
It was only a rebranding exercise, and we have already completed a very successful one year, amid a tough global scenario. We are an established practice with twelve years in Mumbai, and the Partners have a collective experience of several decades in the field of transactional law practice.
The logistics of the rebranding to Quillon Partners were not very challenging, and we were fortunate to implement it without too much complexity.
We continue to work from the same office in Mumbai (at Peninsula Business Park, Lower Parel). Immediately on re-branding, we launched our Bangalore office (at Vayudooth Chambers, MG Road) and have a presence in Delhi as well. Our clients and colleagues have been incredibly supportive through this rebranding process and we are grateful to them.
What is the governance structure at the firm?
As a young team, a flat and non-hierarchical governance model works best for us. All the Partners are cohesively involved in the daily functioning of the firm, supported by an excellent administrative team. As a result, most strategic and operational decisions can be arrived at and implemented quite swiftly and effectively.
What is the firm's recruitment policy?
We actively hire lawyers at all levels for each of our three offices. For newly qualified lawyers, we hire primarily through our internship programme. Our focus is to hire lawyers who share our philosophy of excellence and efficiency. Through our knowledge management programme, and our emphasis on mentoring and focus on training, we ensure that the lawyers at Quillon Partners are updated about legal developments and possess commercial awareness.
The growth potential for our lawyers is reflected in the fact that most of our Partners have effectively been moved up through internal promotions, and have been with the firm (and its earlier iteration) for several years. We have a flat structure that enables all lawyers to work directly with Partners. Several other opportunities are also open to our lawyers, including client secondments, taking active part in some of the firm’s processes and initiatives, and maintaining a collegiate work atmosphere. Our pay scale patterns are very competitive and at par with the larger firms.
Interested candidates can apply on our website.
What would you say is the USP of your firm?
I would say there are two: high-quality high-impact legal services to our clients, and a healthy and nurturing work culture for our colleagues.
We offer a partner-driven, quality-focused and solution-oriented approach to our clients, grounded in law and commercial realities.
We have done some incredible transactional work over the years. We have been involved in some of the largest, high-profile and challenging matters, even in the last twelve months.
Do you aspire to be a big law firm or continue to stay a boutique firm? What are the long-term plans?
Every organisation seeks to grow and expand, and we are focused on doing it in a planned and sustainable manner. We are not chasing any particular head-count number, but are responding to the needs of our clients. We are looking to broaden our offerings to clients, particularly in areas that are complementary to our current core practice of M&A, private equity/venture capital and general corporate advisory.
Also, our growth will always be in a manner that is consistent with our values: providing high-quality legal services to our clients and a happy and intellectually-stimulating work environment to our colleagues.
What measures has the firm taken to help its lawyers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, and we have established processes that have enabled us to continue functioning at our optimum level. Further, we have taken concrete steps to assist our colleagues in every way, as looking after our people is part of the firm’s ethos. We moved to a flexible work-from-home model for all our colleagues from the beginning of the pandemic last year.
Everyone adapted instantly to the “new normal”, and embraced remote working and audio/video conferencing.
How has business fared during the pandemic? Did you have to take cost-cutting measures?
Professionally, we have had a fantastic year and a half. We have executed many large and complex transactions during the pandemic, such as the sale of a stake by promoters of JB Chemicals to KKR, CVC’s investment in Healthcare Global Enterprises and IndiGrid’s acquisition of Gurgaon-Palwal Transmission Limited.
Our lawyers have worked seamlessly in the work-from-home scenario. Initially, while we were apprehensive about the rebranding exercise and COVID-19 restrictions, client feedback has been very positive. We have not had to take any cost-cutting measures on account of the pandemic and have increased our lawyers’ pay for the current year.