Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
It’s a Saturday in August, and Sanjoy Bose is glimpsing the future of India from the back seat of a chauffeur-driven Mercedes. The Reed Smith partner is based in Washington, but spends much of the year in his native India, putting together deals. He is currently about 15 miles west of New Delhi, in a suburb called Gurgaon, which translates as “the village of gurus.” Today, though, spirituality is little in evidence. The dominant motif of Gurgaon is glass and concrete, as in glass skyscrapers, upscale apartment buildings, and shimmering shopping malls with digital billboards in the style of Times Square. Everywhere, as far as the eye can see, construction cranes hover above the emerging skeletons of still more office towers and apartment buildings. Here, as throughout much of India, the growth has been spurred by outsourcing. The American Express Co. has a call center in Gurgaon, for example, and International Business Machines Corp. recently acquired a local business process outsourcing facility. Industry has come here because New Delhi, with its stately government buildings and English roundabouts, has little prime real estate to offer. Inevitably, Western lawyers have also come to Gurgaon. Today, Bose is on his way to the Golden Greens Golf & Country Club, a new 18-hole course on the outskirts of the city. The club’s developer, an Indian steel producer, hopes to build million-dollar villas on his course to cater to Gurgaon’s newly rich. He has hired Bose to help arrange financing for the venture. The attorney is eager to see the club’s layout, but, at present, it looks like he’ll never make it there. The Mercedes is stuck in traffic on the narrow, rutted road that connects New Delhi to Gurgaon. Pink pigs and shirtless boys scamper in shallow, roadside ditches. Cows wander the road’s median, swatting at flies with their tails. Occasionally, they venture into traffic. India is like this: Even at its most developed, it always seems at best a half-generation from real modernity. Bose is buried in his BlackBerry, scrolling, slowly, through a queue of e-mails. The 40-year-old lawyer is nearing the end of a weeklong business trip. He has crisscrossed the country, meeting clients in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), Bangalore (India’s outsourcing capital) and New Delhi. The pace has been grueling-too much so at times for Bose, who is battling a mysterious virus he contracted several days earlier-but the trip has offered an enticing glimpse at the opportunities available to go-getters in this suddenly deal-happy country. Aspiring lawyers, though, beware: India is not for the faint of heart. Clogged roads, dirty, chaotic airports and spotty telephone service are just the half of it. Under India’s Advocates Act, 1961, only Indian citizens who graduate from accredited Indian law schools can practice law in the country. Foreign law firms are also currently barred from opening law offices in the country, even if they are staffed entirely with Indian lawyers. But global law firms are a persistent bunch, and, inevitably, they have found ways to get a piece of the world’s fourth-largest economy. English and American lawyers have long represented foreign companies investing in India as well as Indian companies doing domestic and overseas deals. This sort of work is entirely permissible, so long as the lawyers aren’t in India when they are doing it. But to build vibrant India practices, lawyers must be on the ground there. So firms are blazing ahead, dispatching their lawyers to navigate the country’s rugged byways, in search of the next Indian Trammell Crow or IBM. Staking a claim Reed Smith is one firm that has moved quickly and devised innovative strategies for staking a claim. The 1,000-lawyer firm has landed a roster of high-end Indian clients, from industry titans to banks and real estate developers. It has five partners who routinely work on India projects. But, more unusually, it has also formed a joint venture with a financial consulting firm that specializes in Indian deals and refers work to Reed Smith. The partnership was the brainchild of Sanjoy Bose. He was born in Mumbai to a prominent Indian family. His great-uncle, Subhas Chandra Bose, was the founder of the Indian National Army and a catalyst for India’s independence from Great Britain. Sanjoy Bose was educated in the United States, graduating from College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1992. Bose’s goal was to practice international law with a focus on India. His timing couldn’t have been better. In 1991, India made its first major strides toward liberalizing its economy through privatization and by partially opening its doors to foreign investors. Western companies rushed in, and so did their attorneys. Bose’s legal career developed at a rapid pace. In the 1990s, he served successive stints at CMS Energy Corp. in Dearborn, Mich., at Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts (now Pillsbury Winthrop) in New York and at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington. At each stop, he got the rare privilege as a young lawyer to travel the world (including many trips to India) putting together power projects. In 1999, only seven years after graduating from law school, Bose made partner at Akin Gump. Things were good, but Bose had higher aspirations: He wanted to be an architect of deals, not just their technical scrivener. Last year, Bose was offered the chance to fulfill that dream when GFS Group, a project-finance consulting firm, asked him to serve as its president. GFS advises Indian companies on how to structure projects so that they are bankable. It then helps clients secure financing. Bose was excited by the opportunity, but wasn’t ready to abandon his legal career altogether. He proposed an arrangement in which he would work part time as a lawyer at Akin Gump and part time as president of GFS. The plan fell through when he and the firm could not agree on how to structure the relationship, Bose said. That is when Reed Smith entered the picture. In October 2003, the firm approached Bose about joining its project team. Bose said that he would consider it if the firm bought into his GFS vision. Reed Smith was receptive, according to Michael Pollack, a securities partner and director of strategic planning at the firm. GFS had a solid roster of Indian clients, he said, and the firm was impressed with Bose. “It was not that tough a sale,” Pollack said. By March of this year, Bose had moved to Reed Smith as a partner, and the firm had entered into a joint venture with GFS. Bose believes that GFS has enabled him to make deeper inroads into the Indian business community than he could as a mere lawyer. Many of GFS’ clients, he said, are not used to working with American law firms and paying $500-per-hour legal rates. These clients, he adds, can more easily stomach GFS’ success-based fees, which range from 0.6% to 2% of a deal’s size. After GFS has broken the ice, Bose said that he can then help Indian companies better understand the need to hire top legal counsel. Most of GFS’ clients, he added, use Reed Smith for their legal needs. “It’s like I’m building a captive [legal] client base,” Bose said.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.