KS Legal & Associates, founded in 2011, is a Mumbai-based law firm that provides comprehensive legal solutions to over 200 clients for Mergers & Acquisitions, Insolvency & Bankruptcy, Banking & Finance, Real Estate, Arbitration & Litigation in Courts and Tribunals across India. In ten years, they have grown from a single female leader to 35 lawyers with offices in India’s major cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai. Sonam Chandwani, the Founder and Managing Partner of KS Legal, agreed to speak with us. Here are a few highlights from the conversation:
How & when did you decide to start KS Legal?
I had always wanted to be a chef, but Law School came with the promise of a steady paycheck and humble beginnings. So Law School happened by chance, but my passion for it is unwavering. My first encounter with the law was during an internship with a judge. After graduation, I began applying for jobs, as did all of my classmates, but after several rejections, I decided to start my law firm, known as KS Legal & Associates. The last decade has been filled with highs and lows, but there has never been a dull day!
What are the various services provided by your company?
We began as a real estate firm but quickly expanded into banking, litigation, and corporate law. At present, the firm offers full-service legal solutions to over 200 clients, from large established businesses and financial enterprises to banks, financial institutions, private equity funds, government bodies, and high-impact start-ups. Each client is just as important to us as the last, and they will all receive personalised, high-priority service. Our goal is to develop a relationship with clients by understanding their needs and goals and assisting them in achieving them in the short and long term. Our clients must have faith in us and believe they can communicate openly with their lawyers. There is no legal jargon, and, more importantly, there is a shared understanding of the client’s objectives.
What makes KS Legal different from other firms offering litigation services?
We’ve never aspired to be a large firm with hundreds of lawyers. Instead, we are a small and specialised team that provides clients with approachable and friendly service. When something goes wrong, clients call us for a chat or a coffee, and we frequently become an extension of their business or personal network. Our practise isn’t unique in that way, but we choose to take a more customized and responsive approach to interact with clients, such as being available whenever they need us. It is a common misconception that lawyers take advantage of their clients and are not sympathetic to their plight, but I feel that is when you earn their trust.
What are the struggles and challenges you face?
I didn’t have any family members or industry contacts to turn to for legal advice or business advice. To be honest, it was an emotional, mental, and financial struggle. It was extremely difficult. Mistakes were made, and lessons were learned. However, after three years of success, the firm relocated from a tiny 350 sqft office to a 5,000 sqft office within a short span of time.
How do you plan to grow in the future? What do 5 years down the line look like for KS Legal?
We’ve come a long way in the last five years. I was unsure and scared about how I would carry on the firm; starting your own practice is never easy. However, I am pleased with what we have accomplished thus far. Surpassing your expectations is an experience to cherish, and we have been successful in doing so. We have impacted the field as a firm, and we cherish it, with a fair number of satisfied Clients and a sizable number of success stories. We began as a two-person team and have grown into a full-fledged family, and everything has exceeded our expectations. We will remain agile and proactive, going where our clients need us, embracing change, and having fun disrupting the market.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?
Starting your own business is as difficult as it appears to be lucrative. To build something from the ground up, concerted and dedicated efforts are required. The key to success is consistency. There may be times when it appears that one has reached a dead end, which is not always the case. These are the true litmus tests for your perseverance. There is always one option or another. What is important is that you keep going while also exploring. Every juncture contains opportunities; it is up to us to take advantage of them. At the same time, it is critical to confront the realities that each situation presents to us. Finally, whether a man or a woman starts their own business, it is all about the individual journey, the passion, and motivation that ultimately brings success home.