Manoj Ladwa set up MLS Chase in 2002 because he felt there was a gap in the UK market for a firm that focused solely on the Indian market. Since then India has become big business for City firms – but according to Ladwa his firm is still the only one that has a pure focus on the subcontinent.
“There are those law firms out there with India desks and that’s fine, but we’re simply looking to provide a balanced service for UK clients going to India and Indian clients coming to the UK,” explains Ladwa, who is himself dual-qualified in both countries.
This unique selling point has got MLS Chase regular referrals from the likes of the magic circle through to winning work from banks in its own right.
Ladwa already thinks in terms of his firm’s global strategy. “If the Indian IT companies can do global and the Indian car industry can do it, then I don’t see why an Indian-focusing law firm couldn’t do it,” he says.
To this end MLS Chase has a tie-up with an Indian law firm of the same name. “The branding is the same, but in terms of complying with Indian rules we’re separate entities,” explains Ladwa.
The Indian firm, which has a turnover of £1m, is a rarity, as it is one of only a handful of Indian law firms with professional indemnity insurance, making it more attractive to Western clients.
In addition to London and its India offering, MLS Chase also has a lobbying arm, Saffron Chase, in a similar but of course much smaller way to DLA Piper. Also India-focused, Saffron Chase can boast of having the Labour Friends of India and several high-profile politicians on its books, although Ladwa keeps quiet over names.
The “MLS Chase Group”, as Ladwa dubs it, may be small, but it has big plans. “We didn’t want to get pigeonholed as an Indian law firm from the high street,” he says. “As a small to medium-sized firm, we know we can operate beyond the high street. In fact, globally.”
Through collaborations with top firms, such as those in the magic circle, MLS Chase’s expertise will ensure that this tiny firm has the global reach it desires.
Firm: MLS Chase Chief executive: Manoj Ladwa Turnover: £1.2m Profit per equity partner: £285,000 Number of partners: Two Number of lawyers: Eight Number of support staff and trainees: Seven Main practice areas: Corporate, commercial, commercial litigation, business immigration Key clients: ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Jewellery Channel Number of offices: One Location: Mayfair, London