In Conversation with Dr.Manoj Kumar on establishing Hammurabi & Solomon Partners, growth of the firm and impact of COVID 19
Dr. Manoj Kumar is the Founder of Hammurabi & Solomon Partners
Dr. Manoj Kumar is the Founder of Hammurabi & Solomon Partners and a visiting fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources Committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA), Vice President of the Society of Construction Law UK - India, Expert on the Inclusive Policy Lab of UNESCO, a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), an editorial board member of Thinkers 50 India and independent director on Corporate Boards.
An ace law, regulation & policy specialist, Kumar has been acknowledged by reputed clients for his outstanding leadership, strategy and ability to find alternate solutions to most critical and complex challenges related to policy & regulation, corporate governance, corporate and M&A, cross-border transactions, disputes, crisis & reputation management & strategies, real estate, infra projects, IPR management & protection, project finance, business restructuring and legal & regulatory compliance across geographies.
Kumar is a recipient of the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi Samman awarded at the House of Lords, London. He was named as one of the 100 Legal Luminaries of India, published by LexisNexis in 2016 and was named in India Business Law Journal’s A-List of the top 100 lawyers of India for 2017 and 2018.
Kumar is a distinguished author, strategist, Guest Editor, columnist, thought leader, and called upon by top-of-the-line Law & Management Schools and reputed institutions including the World Bank, UNESCO, IBA, ABA, CII, SILF, SCL, CIarb. for contributions, discussions, and training on various key issues.
Read this interview to know about this opinion on the impact of COVID 19, the journey of building Hammurabi & Solomon Partners, and their roadmap ahead.
Hammurabi & Solomon Partners has grown to become one of India’s leading law firms since it first opened an office in 2001. Can you discuss what led to the firm’s steady and ongoing growth?
Simple, we love our clients. Like any other area of life, you fight hard and win for those you love. You also answer the phone and be there each time when clients call. Unfortunately, this is something that can be rare in our profession.
To achieve victory for clients we’re constantly looking to add excellent lawyers and subject matter experts. First, we want to have an expert available for your case, no matter what it is. The law is complex, so, it’s very difficult for a “jack of all trades, master of none” to achieve great results. Each of our partners is truly excellent with specialized experience in at least one practice area—be it Corporate & M&A, IBC, Dispute Management, Public Policy, Regulation & Strategy, Insolvency & Restructuring, Real Estate & Infra, Intellectual Property, TMT, Taxation, data Privacy, etc. And we only hire lawyers who prove themselves to be on a similar trajectory.
Second, assembling the right talents also enables us to provide winning teams in larger transactions and cases. Like a great football team, it’s not enough that the 11 players on the field are good athletes generically. You want the best quarterback, the best wide receiver, the best running back, and winning a big matter or transaction is no different.
Third, we like to offer our clients the simplicity and peace of mind that comes with a trusted one-stop shop. Most Clients want to deal with as few lawyers as possible. So when one of our lawyers earns your trust on a first matter, our hope is to earn your trust in the firm to solve your other problems too. We coordinate the roles of different specialists for our clients to leverage efficiency. So you get more for less.
What really makes us unique is that we are specialists in our focus practice areas while still remaining a 'one-stop-shop' firm: Hammurabi & Solomon Partners as also its many its partners have been ranked amongst the best in India across various practice areas. We are challenging the legal services market to do things differently. It’s about drawing on our firm’s breadth of knowledge and broader business perspectives, combined with high-quality legal expertise, to optimize what we offer.
Added to this, we are part of various global networks that includes various subject matter experts practicing in different countries. We combine global reach with a flexible delivery model that allows our clients to choose the level of support from us that is right for them – from providing services at a purely local level all the way up to coordinating the global provision of legal services in order to deliver complex transformational projects in multiple jurisdictions.
Finally, we embrace the new digital legal age with open arms. It is clear that our technology resources, business insights, and clear desire to put technology at the heart of our strategy are key to our current and future success.
How do you see Hammurabi & Solomon Partners at the top with your innovative thinking? What are innovations you foresee for this industry?
It is all about finding a meaningful solution. It is very important to adapt to the changing environment and the ‘archaism or obscurantism’ needs to be eliminated. Hammurabi & Solomon Partners was founded on the basis of “Innovation, Quality and Professionalism”. We partner with our clients and understand their eco-system. We believe that the quality of service that a law firm provides to its clients, coupled with an innovative approach and finding the best legal solution means looking beyond traditional approaches and thinking creatively.
Technology has and continues to radically change the way in which clients and lawyers deal with one another and we are actively developing platforms and tools to enhance the collective client experience, as well as to drive down costs on more standardized projects and engagements. We also have a strategy that aims to bring more transformative technologies into how we serve our clients. As a new entrant in the legal market, we are well placed to build these enhancements into our way of working as we build out our teams and capabilities.
What measurable targets & focus areas do you see for Hammurabi & Solomon Partners over the coming years?
Go Global. One of our vital landmarks would be to go international and setting up our office in the international market. We have been dealing with various clients for their international assignments and it has been the on-going request to be present at the site and provide the same solutions. Since inception, we have been synergising with various law firms and partners but we believe that the time has come to open an office in the global arena.
Deepen the service space. The Firm has always been known and recognised for its strengths in Dispute Resolution, Corporate M&A, Real Estate & Infra, and Policy & Regulatory. Over the past decade, we continue to deepen our other practice capabilities such as Insolvency and Restructuring, Competition Commission, Taxation and Data Privacy & IPR.
Expand in the tier 2 cities. The firm had already marked its presence in tier 2 cities and now strongly believes that its presence needs to be elevated. Tier 2 cities will be the future of the country with enormous growth potential. Keeping this in mind, the Firm has decided not only to expand its strength in the existing offices but also to tap more cities for its presence.
Profitable growth. Over the last few years, our strategy has been focused on driving profitability and that's been very successful. The model of having practice heads with well mapped subordinated has helped us in increasing productivity and profitability with limited liabilities. Our approach of being the trendsetter in each practice area has also supported us in becoming the market leaders.
Hammurabi & Solomon Partner’s practice areas include Corporate M&A, IBC, Dispute Management, Public Policy & Strategy, Tax, and Real Estate & Infra. It seems like the industry is constantly evolving – what are some of the top trends your firm is seeing in these practice areas?
We are experiencing a tremendous rate of growth, attracting exceptionally talented lawyers and high-quality work. While we continue to focus, grow, and invest in all our legal service lines, we see great potential in building out these practice areas with its adjacencies.
The dynamics of products and market has changed to technology and online, respectively. Policy development disputes management and transactions related to technology and digital space are going to increase.
Also, due to a recent shift in the economic conditions, we will witness more frequent triggering of recently introduced Bankruptcy & Insolvency Code. Another, area of practice will be Infrastructure as the present government has a robust plan and an equally fast pace to implement the same.
Beyond rapid growth, how does Hammurabi & Solomon Partners make up as a happy place to work?
We work to meet the aspirations of every member of our team. Imbibing a sense of commitment, ability to deep dive, and collective pursuit of excellence makes us one rapidly growing happy family. Growth will certainly continue to be a primary goal, but it’s really the bye-products of growth we’re pursuing. Growth allows us to continually reinvest in the firm across our people, processes, and technologies. These in turn deepen and broaden our solutions and capabilities which is critical for our clients, but also important to our people in terms of training opportunities and diverse client engagements. The real key is to maintain a healthy and positive culture while growing. We’ve stayed very true to our values through the last 20 years of rapid growth and will continue to keep up our culture and values.
How did the whole Journey of Hammurabi & Solomon Partners begin? What were you thinking?
The journey of the Firm has been highly motivating and rewarding. After completing my law, I have joined the leading law and in a short time have led various trendsetting and precedential M&A and project finance deals in the corporate industry. In the year 2001, I have established Hammurabi & Solomon Partners with a vision to provide quality, professional, and result-oriented legal and business solutions to our clients. H&S has always known and recognised for its unique approach that enables us to provide workable, operational, and value-adding solutions for both long term and short term. Since then it has a legacy of 20 years of excellence and has made its mark in Corporate and M&A, IBC, Dispute Management; Public Policy, Strategy & Regulatory; Real Estate & Infra, Environment & Pollution Control Laws; Technology, Media and Telecommunications. We have been part of various large and intricate multi-jurisdictional transactions, projects, policy and regulatory initiatives, India strategies, as well as complex and high-profile litigation and arbitration matters.
In a word, Excited! Founded in the year 2001 in a single rented room, the firm now enjoys its offices at Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore, Patna, and Ranchi.
Post Covid19, are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see Hammurabi & Solomon Partners in upcoming years?
Globalisation provides both opportunities and challenges. Covid19 and the days beyond are testing times for the adaptability and scalability capabilities of law firms. Now more than ever, today’s clients demand that the law firms they work with have a global outreach and can assist them promptly across verticals and across jurisdictions.
The business challenges of today are multi-dimensional and rarely does a standalone legal solution provides the complete answer. By understanding our clients businesses and with the benefit of the firm’s wider knowledge and appreciation of the markets in which they operate, we are able to provide a better picture of the strategic landscape and the options available to clients from a legal perspective.
Our clients recognize the importance of our DNA - to work as trustees of their business. They come to our firm for our zealous advocacy and strategic, proactive, practical, and consistent counsel on national and worldwide issues. They expect their counsel to keep on top of international legal developments, maintain international relationships, and approach their portfolio with an eye towards business and resource realities. We do that now, and fully expect to continue to evolve our services with the marketplace and legal changes over the next years.
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