Business India ×

Published on: June 28, 2024, 12:44 p.m.
Veritas Legal: Growing over time, incrementally
  • Joshi: setting new norms, always; Pix: Sanjay Borade

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

Dressed in a sharp suit, Abhijit Joshi, the 55-year-old founder-managing partner, Veritas Legal, has just stepped out of a meeting with a prominent industrialist family. It is a surprise that Veritas Legal is among the few big-ticket law firms that have chosen not to have multiple offices across the country, despite having the option to. Joshi explains that operating only from Mumbai has been a conscious decision. “We started about a decade ago with just four members and grew to 20 in five months,” says Joshi. “In a country of 1.7 billion people, numbers should not and cannot be an issue. But numbers cannot come at the cost of quality.”

Joshi’s journey as a lawyer began in 1992 with the firm Amarchand Mangaldas. “Back then, we got to do a lot of firsts – the first power project, the first cola war and the first large-scale infrastructure project, among others. With liberalisation and markets opening up, we had to apply our minds as to which law would apply to the situation at hand. It was a gratifying experience,” he says. 

After spending considerable time at Amarchand Mangaldas, he moved to AZB and rose to the position of CEO in 14 years. Having gained immense experience at both the law firms, Joshi was bitten by the entrepreneur bug. “A friend of mine told me that, as professionals, we do not take risks and invest in our own skill sets. That’s when I decided to jump off the corner office.  I got many job opportunities, but decided to create something of my own. I was 46 and it was already getting late!” he says.

Always the one to set new norms, Joshi was clear that the firm would not be named after him, unlike most other major law firms.  The goodwill does not belong to him, but to the firm.

Over the years, the firm has grown exponentially, in terms of the work they do. Joshi believes that there is a resurgent need for generalists. Just like a physician, who can evaluate the patient’s body as a whole, there is a need for experienced lawyers, who are able to evaluate different eventualities and anticipate matters, while solving a problem. The firm has often been approached in cases, which are critical even from parties who are not regular clients.

In-depth knowledge

The long list of illustrious clients Veritas advises, includes Vageesh Gupta, MD, Partners Group. Speaking in a personal capacity, Gupta says: “Veritas under Abhijit’s leadership has been a trusted advisor for several years. Together, the team brings to the table in-depth knowledge of law, with innovative and practical handling of complex issues. I have found this to be rare.”

Anupam Mittal, founder & CEO, People Group, and a Shark Tank judge, says: “The entrepreneurial mindset, along with the professional approach that Abhijit and team bring to the legal profession, is unparalleled. I sleep better knowing they got my back.”

  • Not by design but by default, Joshi has been partnering with a young bunch

The likes of Y.K. Hamied, non-executive chairman, Cipla, whom Joshi has been advising for years, vouch for his commitment and knowledge. “I have known Abhijit for almost 15 years now. He has his client’s consideration at heart. His commitment to his clients is tremendous and he puts their interest before his own or the firm’s. Over the years he has been a strong ally”. Hamied has appointed Joshi as the head of his charitable foundation in India. Interestingly, Joshi has been able to put together an impressively young team.

Contrary to several other successful firms, whose founders and partners are relatively older, Joshi at 55 has been able to attract young talent and promote them as partners over time. His next in line is 46-year-old Rahul Dwarkadas. Other partners too are in their early 40s and late 30s. “It is not by design but by default that I have ended up partnering with a young bunch. The kind of learning we get from them is tremendous. They teach us about tools of the future. It is said that if you are above 50, and do not have a mentor below the age of 35, then you are going to miss the fundamental shift in thinking. I fully subscribe to that,” says Joshi, who is a first-generation lawyer.

Proud of the culture that Veritas has created over the years, Dwarkadas firmly believes that it needs to be preserved. As for plans, he is certain that Veritas Legal will only grow further from here (it is already 100-member strong). “We will grow over time, but incrementally. We want to grow without losing our culture and philosophy,” he says. Interestingly, Joshi and his 14 partners’ visiting cards are not different from a junior lawyer at the firm or even that of the executive assistant. At Veritas Legal, nobody holds specific job titles; instead, everyone shares a unified vision for their work.

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