Start-up law firm MNSA Legal – founded in May 2015 – has tied up with a global law firm network younger than itself – Cathay Associates – in an exclusive referral arrangement in a bid to attract more Chinese and European work.
The Cathay network – founded by eight-year-old Chinese boutique law firm Cathay Associates Kejie, and two European partners in September 2015, has 40 law firm offices in 35 countries, which refer and cross-refer work to each other, according to its website.
Its Hungarian co-founding partner Pascal Demko focuses on China and India.
For the young Indian firm MNSA, networking with Cathay has meant that there is an inflow of primarily Chinese and some European mandates from the technology and the manufacturing sectors for setting up businesses in India, acquisitions, joint venture formation and arbitration matters.
It is understood that in order to comply with the Advocates Act 1961 and the Bar Council of India (BCI) rules, clients of any of the other networked law firms under Cathay will have to directly approach MNSA for legal advice, instead of coming through Cathay.
The administration and functioning of MNSA will be entirely independent of that of Cathay.
MNSA co-founding partner Aniket Gautam commented: “We have entered into a co-operating relationship with Cathay Associates, which is a global legal services network initiated by Cathay Associates Kejie – a leading Chinese boutique law firm and an European law firm. Cathay Associates currently has a network of high profile boutique law firms in 40 countries, and growing. Our association with Cathay Associates is a co-operating arrangement, and the same is completely in accordance with the applicable laws in India.”
Gautam, a GNLU Gandhinagar 2009 alumnus, co-founded MNSA with three other partners Manish Gaurav, Narendra Bisht and Shadaab Anwar, in May 2015 after the four broke away from Lexinfini Advocates where they were partners.
Anwar is a Delhi University (DU) law 2005 alumnus, and Gaurav is also a DU alumnus while Bisht is an alumnus of Garhwal University.
It is understood that between March 2014 and the time when MNSA signed the co-operative agreement with Cathay around four months ago this year, Cathay had had the same arrangement with Lexinfini Advocates – the pure litigation firm from which MNSA’s four partners broke away to start up MNSA.
The Lexinfini tie-up was Cathay’s first in India. Some of the other existing best friend arrangements between Indian and foreign law firms include Clasis Law’s arrangement with Clyde & Co, Linklaters with Talwar Thakore & Associates (TTA) and Indian Law Partners with Ashurst.