The traditional setup of the legal community has drastically changed in the digital era. The legal space is also gearing up with the e-discovery, ongoing trends in technology, and digitization. Various law firms have adopted, or will soon be adopting, artificial intelligence to automate their work for legal research or due diligence, etc. Technology has smoothened the sorting of documents based on keyword search, sifting through years of legal data to predict legal outcomes, case documentation with e-discovery processes.
The emphasis on adopting new e-discovery and technology tools has also accelerated, given the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges of working from home, reduced office spaces, and managing teams remotely have led legal firms to acquaint themselves with robust IT departments and tools that can streamline outdated processes and simplify onerous administrative tasks. Neetika Ahuja, a lady with a strong grasp of the legal ongoings, leads the way of Clasis Law. Neetika is shining in the legal space by adapting new technologies and sustaining the impediments on her way.
A Strong Foothold in the Legal Space
Clasis Law is a full-service Indian law firm that is truly international in its experience and capability. It has offices in New Delhi and Mumbai that offer legal assistance on Indian law and jurisdiction. Clasis Law’s expertise spans a range of practice areas, including corporate and commercial, aviation and aerospace, retail, hospitality, real estate, insolvency and bankruptcy, intellectual property, employment law, compliance and auditing, TMT, litigation, arbitration, and dispute resolution.
The firms clientele ranges from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs and small businesses. The firm provides specialized services to international SMEs that choose India as their preferred investment destination.
Clasis Law tries to anticipate impending issues in transactions or opportunities from which its clients could benefit and offer seamless legal advice customized to its client’s needs.
Clasis Law’s vision and mission are to provide clients access to high-quality legal advice both in India and globally. The firm’s legal staff collaborates closely with clients to ensure that they receive value-added, cost-effective solutions at all times without sacrificing quality or commitment.
It has a well-established competence and operational ability to assist clients across borders, thanks to its active network of international law firms in all major international capitals worldwide, including some of the most challenging countries.
A Lady with Vision
Neetika is a commerce graduate and holds dual qualifications of Company Secretary and LLB. She has around thirteen years of experience advising clients on a spectrum of corporate commercial matters, including foreign direct investment, joint venture, regulatory, corporate governance, compliance, and general advisory.
Neetika is currently a Partner at Clasis Law and has been associated with the firm since 2012. With her hard work, dedication, and thrive to achieve excellence, she has grown within the firm in a short span of time. Prior to this, she has worked in a consulting role in a financial advisory firm.
In her current role, she is leading the firm’s governance and general advisory practice with a team of effective lawyers and company secretaries. She regularly advises foreign and Indian clients across sectors such as retail, e-commerce, technology, media and telecom, manufacturing, and infrastructure. Her experience spans over advising clients on entry and exit strategies, inbound and outbound investments, joint ventures, restructuring, advising on compliance and governance framework, legal due diligence, and compliance audits. She also advises on contentious matters involving shareholder disputes.
The clients have regularly appreciated her for providing timely and quality services. She features in The Legal 500 as a ‘Recommended Lawyer’ and has also been recognized as one of ‘Asia’s Top 40 under 40 lawyers’ by Asian Legal Business.
A Tale of Dream
During Neetika’s school days, she was quite active in debates, and that is why her class teacher first suggested she think of legal career as an option. So, on completing her schooling, she enrolled in the company secretary course of Institute of Company Secretaries of India alongside her graduation in the commerce stream. Thereafter, she completed the LL.B., which she reckoned was the natural progression.
Providing an Array of Services
Neetika’s work primarily involves advising clients on entry and exit strategies, corporate structuring, inbound and outbound investment, joint ventures, corporate governance and compliance management, legal due diligence, and shareholder disputes. Besides that, she routinely advises clients on various general corporate and regulatory matters under the company law, exchange control regulation, and security laws.
Surpassing the Challenges
“Technological advancements have definitely made our lives easier and especially the e-governance measures adopted by regulatory authorities. Many tasks can now be completed online. However, back then, when I started my legal career, it wasn’t the case,” says Neetika.
“I remember during those days, one had to routinely visit regulatory authorities’ office to get things done, and it used to take months to get things moving on many occasions,” recalls Neetika.
Further, on the learning and self-development, there weren’t many resources available back then. One had to work really hard to keep oneself abreast with legal changes compared to today’s information age when everything is available with a click of a button.
Sustaining the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected one and all. In March 2020, the firm made an early decision to move to a work-from-home format even before the nationwide lockdown was announced in India and when the cases were almost negligible. Despite accommodating the team to this new work format, Clasis remained available to its clients 24×7 so that their legal concerns were addressed, however big or small, from start to end, without any hindrances. The firm also invested in IT infrastructure to ensure that its clients and lawyers do not face any difficulty adapting to the new normal.
The firm took several online and remote business development initiatives during the lockdowns, including: –
- The firm created an exclusive COVID-19 knowledge resource for all its users and subscribers so that they get regular updates on how business decisions are to be reshaped.
- Moreover, the firm complied a Special edition of its newsletter “COVID-19 – Global Perspective,” covering eleven (11) jurisdictions. Reputed law firms from these eleven (11) jurisdictions contributed articles to this newsletter, circulated to around 30,000 companies worldwide.
- Further, the firm also launched an exclusive industry initiative wherein Counsels, Head of Legal Departments, Senior Legal Counsels, and other domain experts (legal) of various public and private companies were invited to contribute a column in its monthly legal bulletin.
During the lockdowns, the firm also managed to garner few new clients and regularly assisted the existing clients to revive, restart and recalibrate during and post COVID.
No organizations grow without the help and support of its people. Towards this end, during the tough times, the firm organized regular catch-up sessions on work and other than work matters to understand the mental and physical pressures people face.
Words of Wisdom
“The most important advice I would like to give to legal enthusiasts is to keep hustling that I believe will go a long way in making them successful lawyers. Further, I urge them to take the risk early on and explore the understanding of the new-age businesses in the wake of technology advancements. For instance, ‘blockchain’ is an area I am fascinated about, and I feel it’s going to affect many industries,” advises Neetika.
A Goal to Achieve
When asked about the future endeavours of Clasis Law, Neetika says, “Our vision is to ensure that the firm is the preferred legal service provider bringing together the best people to achieve the desired results for our clients.”
Clasis Law keeps a very conducive environment at the firm where the partners meet on regular intervals followed by respective team meetings to discuss the new ideas and share their views on how to bring the practice forward in view of the rapid technological advancements while keeping the clients’ interest at centre-stage. The firm tries to create an environment where its people become change agents at all levels.
This pandemic has spurred the pace of technological advancement and has changed the way businesses are operated. The legal industry is not immune to these changes, and Clasis Law has recognized this early on. As everyone witnesses the changes unfolding, the firm has created a task force to identify the areas that may prove to be the next growth phase for the firm. The company intends to nominate individuals who can take up the respective areas and make appropriate arrangements for their continuous learning and development.
In addition, it has invested in the technology front and taken several measures since the pandemic to ensure business continuity. Some recent introductions made by the firm include the launch of its podcast channel, coming up with a Trainee Associate Program whereby trainees are hired and mentored, conducting web seminars, roundtable discussions, panel discussions, legal updates, video series, blogs, etc. on a regular basis.