Ameeta Verma Duggal – Practicing Excellence

Ms. Ameeta Verma Duggal, Cofounder at DGS Associates

Every aspect of any business has benefited immensely from the rapid upgrades in the field of law and litigation. The economic boost has created a vast demand for law and litigation services in the business landscape. It is a need for businesses to get all the perfect legal solutions altogether. Keeping this in mind, DGS Associates is providing comprehensive legal solutions under one roof and helping businesses to stand strong.

DGS Associates is a partnership firm that Ms. Ameeta Verma Duggal co-founded with Ms. Niti Sudhakar in 2004. DGS Associates is a boutique multidisciplinary law firm with a primary focus on international trade, corporate and commercial laws, serving domestic and international clients.

The corporate practice of the firm is complemented by a skilled team of litigating lawyers experienced in handling litigation in all for mediation and domestic and international commercial arbitration.

DGS Associates’ clients benefit from the expertise and experience of a large firm while still enjoying the personal attention, responsiveness, and accessibility of a small firm. The firm simply believes that its success would come from its valuable clients’ success and DGS Associates is committed to finding practical and cost-effective solutions for its clients.

The focus, dehors the gender, should be on excelling in whatever one chooses to do. There is no easy road to success, particularly if it’s the one least traveled but such is the road that will lead you to unexpected success and happiness.

Early Days of DGS Associates

Ms. Duggalalongwith Ms. Sudhakarstarted this firm after leaving Associated Law Advisers (ALA) where she had spent almost 11 years. When they started DGS Associates, the biggest challenge was that they did not have any client base. The first set up an office in a section of her house first and then set out to find work.

They were very clear that they will not contact any of the clients they had worked with while in ALA. Since all her professional years were spent only in ALA this posed a challenge. But those initial days were fun and a huge learning curve. They have gathered considerable goodwill through the journey and that goodwill has helped them sail.  

And the growth started…

Ms. Duggal says, “I think we just became confident with each new client and then we got a much-needed impetus from a senior counsel in Kolkata, Mr. S.N. Mookherjee, with whom I had worked during my days at ALA. Mr. Mookherjee sent us to work from Kolkata to the extent that we became the sole firm doing all the filings in the Company Law Board for Kolkata-based companies. Added to this was my empanelment on the Central Government panel for the Supreme Court.”  With the security of litigation work coming in, they could focus on developing the corporate practice, and then in 2008, the international trade practice was set up. Thereafter, as they say, the rest is history.

Interestingly, the graph has not changed for us significantly. We have always preferred to be a cohesive team of lawyers and prefer to function as a boutique firm. The firm strength has never exceeded 10-15 lawyers at any stage. However, what has been evolving is our periodic endeavor to add to our offering of services.

Factors behind DGS Associates’ long-standing success

DGS Associates is a relationship-driven firm. Their responsiveness, personal attention to the client’s needs, candid advice, and ability to become part of the client’s management team has been their greatest strengths. Ms. Duggal says, “I think all our clients will vouchsafe for these. Even after all these years, Niti and I ensure that we are directly involved in matters, and in DGS Associates the buck always stops at us. Our objective is not to fail the clients who repose their faith in us.”

To know the way, we go the way, we do the way. The way we do, it’s all there in front of you. But if you try too hard to see it, you’ll only become confused. I am me and you are you. As you can see; but when you do the things that you can do, you will find the way. The way will follow you.

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Transforming businesses with quality legal solutions

DGS Associates’ primary areas of practice are export controls, international trade, including anti-dumping, safeguards, anti-subsidy, etc., strategic investments, mergers and acquisitions, project finance, aviation, telecom, infrastructure, and regulatory practice.

Ms. Duggal focuses more on the firm’s export controls and sanctions, international trade, M&As, and regulatory practices, and Ms. Sudhakarleads the firm’s practice areas of corporate, aviation, telecom, and infrastructure. DGS Associates envisage an increase in the areas of export controls, sanctions, international trade, and M&As and they will be focussing on growing their existing team in these areas.

Pioneering in the Pro-Quality Legal Services

DGS Associates’ export controls and sanctions practice is a relatively new offering. In fact, for India itself, this is a new area of work and they are excited to be one of the recognized firms in this field of law. Last year, Thomson Reuters published DGS’s book on the Export Controls in India – Law, and Procedures, which Ms. Duggal co-authored with her colleague, Aditi Warrier. DGS Associates take immense pride in the fact that this is the only book on this subject that is available in India and is a great resource for industry, legal practitioners, and students alike.

About the diversity change over the years in the legal sector

Over the years, the legal sector has changed a lot with innovations and upgrades. While talking about such drastic changeovers Ms. Duggal stated that “In my initial days, there were few women lawyers. Even in my batch from the law faculty, not many women survived in the profession.

However, I perceive a dramatic change now with women taking up this profession as their first choice. Law is a time-consuming profession, which has been a constant challenge for women lawyers as they continue to juggle between work and home. But now I find young women lawyers to be a lot more comfortable managing both ends and excelling themselves. Some of the most formidable names in our legal fraternity are women and that is phenomenal.”   

Ms. Ameeta Verma Duggal, A solid Leadership

Ms. Duggal is an unconventional lawyer who has always tread the unchartered path. As she says there has been no planning that has gone into charting her professional growth. Ms. Duggal says, “This has helped me a lot in exploring various areas of law, which may have been lost to me had I proceeded with a predetermined growth trajectory. I do not believe in compartmentalizing my practice areas and received encouragement to try my hands at various aspects of law during my years at ALA.”

She started her professional career as a pure litigator and has continued to keep litigation as one of her practice areas. While she is immensely passionate about her work, she ensures that it never deprives her of her love for travel so she strives to make work complement her travels to the extent possible.

She admires several people for the lives they have led and for their achievements. However, if to mention a single such person, she says she would choose someone who has been a direct influence in her professional life and that would be Lira Goswami, the founder partner at ALA. Ms. Duggal admires Ms. Lira Goswami for the person she is – a great legal mind; an ideal professional, employer, and team leader. She has instilled in her the importance of hard work, dedication, and teamwork. Above all, she made her appreciate that we all have our unique strengths and we can be successful with grace and equanimity.

Ms. Duggal says Bill Gates has always been a source of motivation for her. What he created and more importantly how he has channelized his passion for philanthropic activities inspires her a lot. 

DGS’ continued association with some of its main clients through their existence as DGS Associates would be the biggest achievement. They have accomplished several firsts for their clients as they continue to work on the premise that there is a solution to every problem.

The happening work environment at DGS Associates

DGS is all about teamwork and a work-life balance. They encourage employees to grow, professionally and in their personal space. Time efficiency is respected and deadlines can never be breached only bettered. No brownie points are being offered for spending long and late hours at work. Key people have been trained to optimize the hours spent at work and they expect the same from employees. They would not hesitate to give credit where it is due and to accept responsibility if anything goes wrong. In all of this, the office runs with a personal touch, and they all lunch together and celebrate all birthdays, festivals, and everything else that requires celebration. 

An Overwhelming Client Experience

DGS Associates is a relationship-driven firm. Over the years they have accumulated several friends who had first come to them as clients and continued to stay with them more as friends. One of DGS’ clients came to them after they had concluded a transaction where he was on the other side. Another long-standing client came back to DGS after having shifted to one of the top law firms as they could not get the same personalized attention.

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