Nishith Desai Associates

Editorial analysis
    • Established: 1989
    • Partners: 7
    • Lawyers: 50
    • Recommended for: Corporate Tax; Management; Labour and Employment; Private Funds; Telecoms
    • Split of work: 60% of the client base is from the US
    • Offices: Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Palo Alto, Singapore
    • Practice Areas: Capital Markets; Competition Law; Corporate and Securities Law; Employment and HR; Estate Planning; Fund Formation; Fund Investments; General Commercial Law; International Tax; International Tax Litigation; IP; Joint Ventures and Restructuring; Litigation and Dispute Resolution; M&A; Succession. Specialised niche Industries: Education; Financial Services; Infrastructure; IT and Telecoms; Media and Entertainment; Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences; Real Estate;

    Further cementing its position as a “top multinational” firm in India, Nishith Desai Associates opened an overseas office in Munich last year, citing the increased flow of bilateral trade between India and mainland Europe. This latest office complements existing bases in Singapore and Silicon Valley as well as the firm’s strong domestic network, offering clients “great end-to-end service on global matters”.

    Known for its “research based” approach and the innovative management style of its founder, NDA is one of the more visible Indian law firms, known in the industry for its daily “hotline” e-bulletins, dealing with the latest marketplace developments in various sectors. The firm is famous for its “world class” tax practice, and more recently has received acclaim for its employment, telecoms and private equity work.

    PEOPLE & PRACTICES

    Founder and managing partner Nishith Desai is “a giant” in the Indian legal sector, who is known to peers around the world for his work in the corporate tax sector. Particularly focused on cross-border matters, the tax team counsels clients in structuring complex transactions and resolving controversies, drawing on its extensive experience in industry verticals such as investment funds, e-commerce, business process outsourcing, media and entertainment, banking and insurance, infrastructure, real-estate and hospitality, biotechnology and life sciences.

    Vikram Shroff is the head of the firm’s HR practice and is internationally recognised for his management labour and employment work. He was named as one of India’s top young lawyers in our “40 under 45” survey last year in recognition of his “first rate” expertise in employment strategy and documentation, company policy advice, benefits and compensation, stock options and share plans, HR audits and litigation, among other areas.

    The firm’s funds practice grew rapidly after liberalisation in the early 1990s, and today Amrita Singh is its most prominent exponent, earning recognition among lawyers around the world. The firm advised the Bombay Fund, the first foreign institutional investor set up to make investments in Indian securities, and represented several offshore funds set up by the Unit Trust of India, one of India’s largest mutual funds. Sources hailed the practice as “one of the country’s best”.

    Vaibhav Parikh is a “great name” in telecoms matters and enjoys an international reputation in the field, as does the firm, which has been heavily involved in the sector throughout its lifespan.

    CLIENTS

    Already this year the firm has acted as legal and tax counsel to the selling shareholders of CEMP during its acquisition by Regal Beloit Corporation, while in other recent matters it has provided tax counsel to the exiting shareholders and EuroKids during the sale of the company to GPE, and represented Bilfinger Berger Industrial Services in its acquisitions of Neo Structo Construction and Spetech Plant Equipments.

    Other key engagements over the past year include representing and advising Osaka Gas as Indian legal counsel in its acquisition of Jacobi Carbons, acting for IndiaVenture Trust in its acquisition of a stake in Dr Ramesh Cardiac & Multispecialty Hospital, and counselling SoftJin Technologies in the sale of its photomask and lithography-related software products business to Mentor Graphics Corporation of Oregon.