he 2018-founded Mumbai-based disputes firm White & Brief, which was started by former Ram Jethmalani junior Nilesh Tribhuvann, is going full-service and has hired two lateral partners and promoted one, with significantly more expansion pledged for the coming months and several big-name clients such as Apple and Indigo to boot.

In addition to the three salaried partners who had now joined, Tribhuvann said that another four salaried partners would be joining by March and April 2021 from top tier firms, bolting on practices such as banking and finances, taxation, infrastructure, media and entertainment and real estate.

This follows former Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) partner Manu Varghese who has joined last week and will start and head White & Brief’s general corporate and commercial practice.

The 2007 NUJS Kolkata graduate had become a partner at CAM in 2017 and left at the end of October 2020. He specialises in corporate transactional work.

Varghese said that he was looking forward to establish the firm’s “corporate practice from the ground up”. He added: “I started my legal career at erstwhile Amarchand Mangaldas (now CAM) and my new role builds on my 13+ years of experience there, for which I am grateful to Mr & Mrs Shroff and my colleagues at CAM.

“I was also privileged to be mentored by Mr. Shashikant Bhojani and his values continue to guide me, both personally and professionally.”

CAM managing partner Cyril Shroff commented: “We wish Manu all the best.”

Link Legal's Prashaant Vikram started capital markets

The second new practice area for the firm - capital markets - was started by former Link Legal India Law Services associate partner Prashaant Vikram Rajput, who had joined White & Brief in December 2020.

The 2006 Amity Law School graduate has set up the capital markets practice but also does banking and finance and some private equity, restructuring and alternative investment funds work.

Finally, in November 2020, White & Brief had promoted Bhagyashree Lembhe to associate partner; she had joined the firm in February 2020 from IndusLaw, where she was a senior associate.

The 2011 GLC Mumbai LLB grad specialises in arbitration, litigation and insolvency and bankruptcy matters, and had previously also worked at the Amarchand Mangaldas-cum-Cyril Amarchand, ALMT Legal, HSA Advocates.

Young firm, big plans

White & Brief had been started in 2018 by Tribhuvann, following two years of his independent chambers’ practice after leaving the chambers of the late senior counsel Ram Jethmalani in 2016 where he had worked since 2011.

Tribhuvann is a young lawyer - he had graduated from Pune University in 2011 with a 2013 LLM from Mumbai University - but workflow had been good and he had the benefit of generations of lawyers in his family, he explained.

“I‘m a third generation lawyer, so probably that helped,” he said, noting that he had 16 (litigation) lawyers in his family.

Tribhuvann specialises exclusively on white collar crimes litigation and the practice alone had enabled him to grow the firm to around 18 fee-earners by November 2020, with healthy profits and a marquee clients.

According to Tribhuvann, White & Brief had clients including Apple India (for whom the firm did Maharashtra-based litigation and some commercial work), pan-India work for the airline Indigo, as well as the Accor group of hotels, and intellectual property work for two pharmaceutical companies (Indian multinationals Alkem Laboratories and Flamingo Pharmaceuticals).

The steady work and revenues had enabled him to now target ultra-rapid expansion.

“Once we set up our entire operation in Bombay, well run for another year and once successful we’ll expand to Delhi and Bangalore,” he said. “We have three year expansion plans ready: in 2022, we’ll set up the entire full service law firm in Delhi, in 2023 we’ll be in Bangalore.”

There was no plan articulated beyond a three year horizon, at present, he said, but it is clear that he and the firm are not lacking ambition.

Ambitiously expanding young law firm White & Brief has added another partner and department, hiring Economic Laws Practice (ELP) associate partner Vineet Nagla to head its new taxation practice.

In January the firm had added two lateral partners from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Link Legal India Law Services.

He has joined with ELP associate manager Prateek Bansal, who is now associate partner in the tax practice at White & Brief.

Nagla specialises in GST, customs, SEZ and foreign trade work, while Bansal specialises in service tax and GST litigation.

We have reached out to ELP for comment.

Founding and managing partner Nilesh Tribhuvann commented in a statement: “With Vineet and Prateek coming in, we have moved closer to our aim of transitioning into a full-service firm. We are now equipped to provide the gamut of services to our clients across the board.

“There is now a clear alignment of vision amongst the firm’s senior level members and, I see a lot of synergistic opportunities between the practice areas that we have recently added. I am glad that our expansion plans are materialising the way we have envisioned them – and there is more on the horizon in the coming year.”

In January, we had reported that Tribhuvann, who is a 2011 LLB graduate from the University of Pune and who had set up the firm in 2018, said that he was aiming to expand to Delhi and Bengaluru by 2023 and hire several lateral partners, buffeted by several solid clients and a strong work pipeline.

According to White & Brief:

Vineet Nagla has over a decade of experience in the practice areas of GST, erstwhile indirect taxes, State levies, Customs, SEZ as well as regulations under the Foreign Trade Policy. He has advised and assisted clients engaged in the real estate, services sector (especially hotels & restaurants), shipping & marine services, agri-chemicals, gems and jewellery business amongst others. Vineet is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary […]

Prateek Bansal, who has joined the Firm as an associate partner, is a graduate of Government Law College, Mumbai and had been part of the tax team at Economic Laws Practice since 2016. Having provided advisory and litigation services to various Indian and multi-national clients on issues concerning Service tax, Customs and Foreign Trade Policy, VAT, Excise and GST, Prateek also regularly assists clients in advocacy related initiatives before various Government authorities including the Ministry of Finance, DGFT, etc. in relation to tax and other regulatory aspects.

White & Brief now has a total of 6 partners, including 2 associate partners.

An Indian firm called 'White and Brief' has said that its similarity to US firm 'White & Case' is a pure coincidence.

White and Brief is a Mumbai firm founded in 2018. Despite having a name that closely resembles White & Case, the firm is adamant that it hasn't done an Aldi and knocked-off the US firm's name.

"Although, there is a stark similarity between the name of the Firm and that of 'White & Case', this is purely coincidental and we have not derived any inspiration from the name 'White & Case' in coming up with our Firm's name," CEO Rohini Das told RollOnFriday.

When asked how the firm got its name, Das explained: "The 'White' in White & Brief stands for 'Purity, Integrity & Transparency' and 'Brief' stands for 'Dedicated Solution-Oriented, Client-Centric Service'."

Das added, "the philosophy that drives the Firm is deeply rooted in endeavouring to provide best-in-class services to the clients by a dedicated team of highly-skilled and experienced lawyers who come from the best of pedigree".

To be fair to White and Brief, it's not in the same league as this Freshfields rip-off.  And based on its name and URL - www.whiteandbriefs.com - the firm is more likely to be mistaken as an underwear retailer than the US firm.

A spokesman for White & Case declined to comment. Everyone else kept their fingers crossed for a merger and the dawn of White & BriefCase.

The Mumbai-based firm now has three Partners and 25 other lawyers.

Former Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas Partner Manu Varghese and Link Legal Associate Partner Prashaant Vikram Rajput have recently joined Mumbai-based law firm White & Brief as Partners.

Mumbai-based White and Brief Advocates and Solicitors has onboarded three seniors including two partners, the law firm said in a statement.

hite and Brief has brought on board Manu Varghese as a partner. He will head general corporate and commercial practice. With experience spanning a decade, Varghese has worked across sectors including e-commerce, retail, cement, financial services, equipment manufacturing, renewable energy and information technology.

Prior to White and Brief, he was a partner in the general corporate practice of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

White and Brief has also brought on board Prashaant Vikram Rajput as partner. He will head capital market practice.

With over 15 years of experience, Rajput has worked on several complex transactions involving domestic and international large companies across diverse sectors, the statement said.

Prior to White and Brief, he was with Legal India Law Services as an associate partner.

Bhagyashree Lembhe has joined White and Brief as an associate partner. She previously worked with Indus Law, HSA Advocates and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and has expertise in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and matters under the Arbitration Act.

“Within a short period, we’ve grown to a strength of three partners at the leadership level. The coming year holds a lot of promise for us and the team at the leadership level will be further strengthened to diversify into different practice areas,” said Nilesh Tribhuvann, founder and managing partner.

Set up in 2018, White and Brief now has three partners and a team of 25 members. It has two offices in Mumbai.

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