Offering a Myriad Range of Swift and Seamless Services in the Legal Fraternity
Established in 2010, PDS Legal is a prominent full-service law firm with offices in five cities -Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Pune. Empowered to deliver high-quality and skilled legal services, it provides its clients with pragmatic legal advice and effective legal solutions to achieve their commercial objectives. It has a dedicated team of close to a 100 lawyers offering a plethora of legal services to clients, including on corporate and commercial matters, mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, taxation (direct and indirect), aviation, project financing, restructuring, antitrust law, and litigation/dispute resolution.
The firm is led by a group of 12 Partners and Associate Partners, with recognition and rich experience spanning across India. The versatile experience of the team is an added benefit, which is focused on the importance of delivering legal services efficiently, swiftly, and keeping the interests of its clients intact. To ensure quality, all engagements are led by a partner. This also ensures the sharing of knowledge and experience in a variety of sectors and consistent delivery of pragmatic and commercially-focused legal advice.
The Golden Trio
PDS Legal is a partnership firm and the corporate law practice is headed by Probal Bhaduri (also the Managing Partner) in New Delhi, Vihang Virkar in Mumbai and Chetan Nagendra in Bengaluru.
Probal has over two decades of experience in advising clients in corporate and commercial matters. He has acquired the memberships of the New York State Bar Association and Bar Council of Delhi. His core areas of focus include advising domestic and foreign clients on mergers, acquisitions, private equity investments, cross-border deals, JVs, and real estate transactions. He has led teams in a large number of domestic deals, including mergers, demergers, acquisitions, and has built a notable general corporate advisory practice. In the last few years, he has also been actively involved in providing strategic advice in matters of shareholder and commercial disputes, as well as in the area of economic offences. He is also recognized as a notable corporate law practitioner.
Vihang Virkar is recognized as a prominent corporate, commercial, and aviation law practitioner. He has advised clients on a variety of domestic and multinational transactions which involved aspects ranging from mergers and acquisitions, commercial laws, securities laws, anti-trust regulations, asset and business purchases, private equity funding, and security sales and purchases. Vihang also regularly advises airlines, banks, and aircraft financiers and OEMs on aviation-related laws and contractual matters.
Chetan Nagendra heads the practice in Bengaluru. Before joining PDS Legal, he was a partner at AZB & Partners and was also the former Associate General Counsel- the Asia Pacific at Facebook. He is a corporate lawyer with several years of experience across Asia, India, the UK, the US, and the Caribbean, and is licensed in India, UK, New York, and the BVI. Chetan is an alumnus of NLSIU, Bangalore, and Case Western Reserve University, Ohio.
The Core Strengthens of Expertise
The lawyers of PDS Legal have represented clients on various M&A and corporate transactions including all types of domestic and cross-border deals. The firm has advised clients on a variety of domestic and transnational transactions involving sale and purchase of shares and other securities by Indian/ multinational entities and private equity funds. It is regularly engaged by clients for structuring transactions (including advising on exit mechanisms and internal restructuring strategies), conducting legal diligences, drafting transaction documentation, and many more. As part of its M&A practice, PDS Legal has acted for Monsanto, Tata Capital, GlaxoSmithKline, State Bank of India, United Technologies, Escorts Limited, Excel Industries, Supreme Group, Deutsche Bank, eBay, Hindustan Unilever, Greaves Cotton, Gujarat Apollo Industries, etc.
The firm also has a robust aviation practice and regularly advises clients on contentious and non-contentious matters including asset acquisition (commercial/ private aircraft and helicopters), aircraft/ engine leasing, financing, insurance-related matters, aircraft and helicopter charters, repossession actions, dispute resolution, money claims, arbitration, enforcement of foreign claims in India, etc. The team has advised leading clients including Go Airlines, Jazeera Airways, Air France, and Bhutan Airlines, private aircraft owners such as the Sahara group, Cadila and GVK; banks such as DVB Bank, Deutsche Bank, Nord Bank; and lessors such as BBAM and Alafco.
The tax team regularly represents and advises clients on direct and indirect tax matters, involving a wide spectrum of laws such as income tax, excise, customs, service tax, value-added tax, central sales tax, local body taxation, and goods and services tax. The firm has significant experience in handling all types of litigation matters at every level of the judicial hierarchy and alternate dispute resolution proceedings such as arbitration and mediation matters. Apart from its settled presence in the Supreme Court of India and various High Courts, clients have recognized its competence in tax and regulatory laws and engaged the firm to appear on their behalf in specialized tribunals and before statutory authorities across India.
The team has handled litigation cases involving direct and indirect taxes, corporate law, foreign exchange, foreign trade regulations, competition laws, environment, labor, electricity, banking, property, telecommunication, and international and domestic arbitrations. The breadth of its team’s competence is reflected in the involvement in many landmark cases reported in law journals in these specialized fields. Recently, one of its erstwhile Partners, Tarun Gulati, was recognized for his expertise in litigation and designed as a Senior Counsel.
Bestowing Distinctive Legal Insights
The firm provides high-quality work at fees that are not prohibitive. It has a state-of-the-art IT set up which enhances its offerings to clients. It believes that the emerging technology-based economy requires tech-savvy, business-savvy, network-savvy lawyers and it continues to incorporate these skill sets in the team members through its knowledge and training programs.
PDS Legal is a solution-oriented law firm constantly aligning its existing processes and investing in technology to automate manual processes. This has enabled lawyers to accord more time for client interaction, enhanced research capabilities, and efficient delivery of legal services. Hence, it stands apart by providing high quality and solution-based legal advice at fees that clients do not find exorbitant.
The Winning Moments
PDS Legal has been recognized and ranked by various international publications and league tables, such as Legal 500, Experts Guides, Asia Law Profiles, IAE Aviation Law, for its expertise in various areas of law. The Partners, Probal Bhaduri, and Vihang Virkar have been included in the list of ‘ranked lawyers’ for India in (a) M&A and Corporate Law and (b) Aviation respectively by Chambers and Partners.
The Pandemic Outbreak
The COVID-19 crisis has taught PDS Legal to be digitally enabled and flexible in the way it serves its clients. Given its tech-savvy approach, it has been able to integrate this aspect to meet client requirements efficiently and effectively. While certain areas of practice (such as capital markets) are not doing well given the current situation, there has been a lot of activity in the distressed assets space, restructuring of conglomerates, acquisitions of small and mid-size companies, leveraged buy-outs, and many more. It has also been advising clients on the renegotiation of contracts, invocation of force majeure provisions, etc.
It has been more connected with its clients in these economically trying times and is adding value to their business. While some of these interactions may not generate revenues for them in immediate terms, it believes these will lead to strengthening client relationships and generating a more robust pipeline of revenue in the coming months.
The Future Graph
PDS Legal continues to grow by adding practices and capabilities. In its growth journey, it intends to expand its presence in other states in India by way of lateral hires and acquiring niche law practices. The next few years are about reinforcing the brand, continuing to provide top-quality advice to clients, and ensuring that it stands at the top.
As the firm invests more in technology, it expects to increase the per-person revenue generation without compromising on the quality of its deliverables and advice. In the future, it will continue to expand in the number of lawyers, revenues, and profitability while maintaining its core principles of integrity, hard work, and quality.