Saraf & Partners has opened a new 18,000 square foot office at One International Centre in Prabhadevi, one of the busiest and most prominent commercial hubs in Mumbai, to accommodate its growing workforce.
Speaking on this significant expansion, founder and managing partner Mohit Saraf told India Business Law Journal that he expects the law firm’s revenue to reach INR10 billion (USD125 million) in the next 10 years.
“When I formed my firm on 18 April 2021, I had told my partners that we will be a [INR10 billion] top-line firm in 10 years and today I am much more confident that we will not even take that many years,” Saraf said at the Mumbai office’s inauguration.
The firm, which had close to 90 members in July 2021 when it became operational, has doubled in strength today to almost 180 members in 12 months.
Early this year, the firm also expanded its New Delhi office to 20,000 square feet in Noida.
Apart from Mumbai and New Delhi, Saraf & Partners also has an office in Bengaluru.
The firm that launched with five partners in the litigation team now stands at eight. In the next three years, Saraf expects 50% of the firm’s revenue to come from its litigation arbitration practice.
Saraf says he owes the firm’s growth to his clients who showed their faith in the team, as well as his partners who parted ways with L&L Partners (which reverted to its former name of Luthra & Luthra Law Offices in August) to join Saraf & Partners.
“We are touching 180, [members] in a matter of 11 months. God has been very kind to us and whatever we have become is largely because of the team we have. This is the team that I built from scratch when I was at Luthra,” Saraf said.
Prior to this, Saraf was a senior partner at L&L Law Offices. He left with 20 partners in June 2021.
The focus at Saraf & Partners is to build a strong litigation and arbitration-focused firm as he feels that a huge potential exists for law firms in these areas.
The road ahead
While Saraf foresees his firm’s growth reaching INR10 billion much earlier than at the 10-year mark he had initially flagged during its launch, he is clear in his strategy to not compromise on the revenue, while rendering services.
“So, growth with quality, growth with responsiveness, growth with the ability to charge what is fair for services and not growth where you are dropping prices to get work, that’s not what we want, and that is our moto.”
At the moment, Saraf is focused on maintaining exceptional standards, high-quality hiring, working for elite clients, the ability to do extremely complicated deals with simplicity, and the capability to provide unprecedented client satisfaction.
Revealing his future plans, he stated, “We as a firm are open to everything (to do with the organic as well as inorganic growth of the firm). I would say, there is nothing on the table that we are not open to. But what is very important for us is ‘fitting [in with our] culture’ and that is very important to us.”
“So, every time we look at any organic or inorganic growth, if we feel any of these broad parameters will not be able to support that organic or inorganic growth, then we will not do it,” added Saraf.
“I would say that what we need to know is where we need to go, and for that we need more partners and we need to acquire more clients,” he added.
Emphasising the growth of his firm, there are a few parameters he has set on what the firm aims to attain.
“So, we will get more partners provided, they fit our growth strategy, they fit our culture, they fit [our] quality, they fit the highest level of ethical standards, they fit in with the building of a firm, which is like a professional family. Precisely, like where you treat everybody with love and respect, you create an environment which creates the best of people, not an environment which helps you to grow to become the best.”
Maintaining old relations
“In July last year we had never thought that we would have doubled ourselves in a year’s time. And the amount of faith, trust and support which I would say every client put behind us, has led us to get here where we are.”
Saraf further added, “I would say all my clients, and my partners who I have serviced for over 25 years stood behind the firm and this is a great opportunity for me to thank everyone.”
The firm managed to bag 30-40 big deals, many of which were multibillion-dollar deals, and feature major brands such as Zomato, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited, counsel to the State Bank of India on financing the construction and development of the Noida International Airport, and the Adani group to name a few.
One of the top business deals we were involved in during February was a USD3.2 billion acquisition of the Biocon Biosphere business.
He concluded by saying, “I am 55 years old, so I believe that in my next 10 years of active life, I should be able to build an institution by then and leave a legacy. And this is not just my legacy, I believe, but the legacy of all of us, everybody in the firm, because it has to be a joint process.”