Kruti Desai – Legal Insight. Business Instinct.

Ms. Kruti Desai Partner- ALMT Legal

There is an endless sky of opportunities in every sector. All one needs is a determination about the work. Law and litigation sector has always been forward to transforming society. With the new technologies, the world is getting closer, making many more opportunities and a boom in the business sector.

Where there is growth in any sector, there are disputes. To solve such disputes and maintain harmony, Ms. Kruti Desai is making smart and hard efforts via ALMT Legal.

In a candid talk with her let’s get known to ALMT Legal as well as her fantastic 15 years’ journey in the field of law and litigation. 

Tell us about the ALMT Legal

ALMT Legal is a 20-year-old dynamic full-service Indian law firm that provides high-quality legal services and practical solution-oriented advice at reasonable fees. We have an established reputation as one of India’s top bracket firms for being a one-stop solution for our clients. Currently, we have approximately 70 lawyers and 20 partners across two offices in strategic commercial centers of Mumbai and Bangalore.

Asialaw Profiles 2019 has recommended ALMT Legal for Corporate/M&A, Infrastructure, Energy, Real Estate, Capital Markets, Labour & Employment, Private Equity, Tax and highly recommended us for Construction.

Corporate Intl Magazine has named us the ‘Employment Law Firm of the Year (India) 2019’ and the ‘Cross Border Tax Law Firm of the Year (India) 2019’.

Asia Pacific Legal 500 2019 has recommended our partners and designated them as leading lawyers in various practice areas such as banking and finance, capital markets, corporate & M&A, dispute resolution, investment funds, labor and employment, real estate & construction, shipping, technology, media & telecoms (TMT) and tax.

Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific 2019 has also recommended several of our partners as ranked lawyers in corporate/M&A, dispute resolution, employment, private equity, and tax.

What were the initial challenges you faced?

Personally, it has been a very smooth growth ladder for me. I was inducted into ALMT Legal in 2005 through the placement committee of Government Law College immediately after passing out of the 5 years course of BLS/LLB. Since then there has been no looking back and in 2012, I was made a partner of ALMT Legal. The initial challenge I faced personally, was juggling between executing new and existing matters and keeping myself fully updated on legal developments. As a firm, our initial growth was quite rapid, though like in any business we faced challenges in matters such as price competition and poaching of trained associates by new entrants as well larger firms.

Which was that point that triggered the growth of ALMT Legal?

The years from 2004 to 2008 were the trigger years when ALMT Legal acquired a lot of talent through lateral joinees of partners from different practices and practice areas.  We grew from a 10 lawyer firm in 2004 to a close to 50 lawyer firm in 2008 and there has been no looking back since then.

What is the reason behind your firm’s long-standing success?

I think there are multiple reasons behind our success:

  1. ALMT Legal is a mid-size firm that gives a good blend of (a) a team of qualified expert lawyers along with (b) providing flexible rates;
  2. We ensure that a partner/ senior lawyer having expertise in the required practice area is at all times involved on the matter and don’t believe in 100% delegation of work to juniors without experience;
  3. We have dedicated teams for knowledge management and keep ourselves updated and proactively inform our clients in case of any relevant legal update that may impact them;
  4. We believe in closing a deal in the interest of both parties rather than getting stuck on petty issues;
  5. We are a dynamic firm which beliefs in adapting to the need of the hour;
  6. We are very approachable and open to feedback;
  7. We are a one stop-shop for all legal solutions;
  8. We maintain a healthy work life balance that avoids burn out and keeps our lawyers constantly motivated and happy to come to work.

Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

BK Shivani

What are the services ALMT Legal focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?

Our practice areas encompass all aspects of Indian law and regulations including:

  • Aviation
  • Banking and Finance
  • Capital Markets
  • Corporate and Commercial
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Hospitality
  • Immigration
  • Infrastructure and Project Finance
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property and Information Technology
  • Labour and Employment
  • Media, Entertainment and Sports
  • Oil and Gas
  • Private Equity and Fund Structure
  • Property and Real Estate
  • Shipping and Maritime

We have an in-house team of experts in some of the niche practice areas like labor & employment, tax, and patents. These three practice areas are highly specialized and not common for all firms, which makes us quite unique and a full-service firm in the true sense.

How do you decide to take ALMT Legal a step further in terms of your services?

ALMT Legal is hoping to continue our firm as the leading practitioner for labor & employment law which is growing rapidly in view of the tremendous amount of legal developments and updates in employment law.

We also intend to be the number one go-to firm for insolvency matters which has seen a huge number of cases being filed since the IBC has come into effect.

ALMT Legal also intends to further expand our knowledge and practice areas in international arbitration.

We have also set up a dedicated team that will purely focus on emerging laws such as data privacy, competition, consolidated labor codes, etc.

How have you seen diversity change over the years in the legal sector?

The legal sector has become more diverse in terms of gender, knowledge, and emerging practice areas like competition law, insolvency, data privacy, labor codes, IPR, etc. Law is no longer about merely filing and arguing cases before the court which used to be the case many years ago. Corporate law is constantly evolving and bringing up new challenges and debates.

Can you please brief us about your professional experience?

My professional experience includes advising on domestic as well as cross border M&A and PE transactions, exchange control laws, IPR matters as well as advising extensively on labor laws involving hiring and firing policies, employee handbooks and policies, sexual harassment (POSH) compliances, and dealing with complaints, payment of statutory benefits, retirement policies.

My field of expertise also includes advising on insolvency & restructuring of Indian companies, closure of liaison offices set up by overseas companies, IPR matters (trademarks, copyright, patent, etc.,) as well as commercial laws and contracts.

You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind. So turn all the negative thoughts into positive as much as you can.

BK Shivani

What are the key achievements of your journey in the law and litigation sector?

Some of my key achievement over the years includes (i) being a recognized practitioner for Employment by Chambers & Partners (Asia Pacific) 2019, (ii) being recommended for Labour & Employment and IT Telco & (TMT) practice by Asialaw Profiles 2019 (iii) Co-authored the Indian Chapter of ‘The International Comparative Legal Guide to Corporate Recovery & Insolvency’ 2013 edition published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London, (iv) Being a guest speaker/ expert panelist at various events over the years e.g.:

o    Guest Speaker on “Sexual Harassment: Complaint, Inquiry, Actions & Consequences” at the Employee Engagement Experience Summit & Awards, Mumbai 2018.

o    Guest Speaker on “A Hands-on Guide to Drafting Commercial Contracts” at the Contract Drafting Workshop, held at Hotel Orchid, Mumbai 2018.

o    Guest Speaker on “Policy against Sexual Harassment” at ICFAI Business School Mumbai, 2018

o    Guest Lecturer on “Setting up Different Types of Entities” at Kirit P. Mehta School of Law (NMIMS University), Mumbai, 2018

One person, who you admire the most?

I admire BK Shivani the most. She always has been a source of motivation for me. 

It’s a lot of stress over there in the field of law. How do you cope with that?

Meditation is the best way to cope with any form of stress. I am a follower of Vipassana meditation and that is one of the key reasons for my success. Meditation brings focus, clarity, positivity, and strength to work hard.

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