Interview with Rajiv Tuli, Managing Partner of LegalLands and Vaidat Legale Services

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Rajiv Tuli is the Managing Partner of LegalLands and Vaidat Legale Services. Prior to this, he was the managing partner of MARS & Partners. Rajiv has been a part of the Legal Fraternity for over 22 years now. His practices cover diverse areas of Cross-Border Transactions, International Taxation, Contract Negotiations, Commercial and Tax Litigation, Banking and Project Finance, Commercial Arbitration, Business Structuring, Government, Regulatory and Secretarial Affairs, Foreign Collaborations and Joint Ventures, Inbound and Outbound Foreign Investment, National / International Not-for-Profit Companies / Trusts / Societies. His clientele includes Multinational Companies, Investment Banks, Family-Owned Businesses, Not-for-Profit Organizations, Funds and High-net-Worth Individuals. He has been instrumental in luring foreign investment for the setting up of units in SEZ/STPI.

He has represented the Firm before Government Authorities on various export and import policies, and taxation issues relating to amendments and clarifications favouring trade bodies. He has further represented the Organization at various forums, including trade bodies and Chamber of Commerce. His recent assignments include advisory services to the India arm of a US mobile content developer with a global presence; restructuring and advising the Indian chapter of a Japanese not-for-profit organization, establishing International Trade Chamber of commerce between India and Turkey, Helping foreign investors to set up school and colleges in various parts of the country, setting up the US and Mauritian Joint Venture for Indian Clients, advising a UK-based security giant on the acquisition of 100% equity of an Indian company; the financial structuring of an educational trust; and FCRA registrations for charitable trusts.

He has completed his graduation in B. Com from Delhi University and was in The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and he has completed his LLB from Delhi University. Below is the transcript of the interview we had with Mr. Rajiv Tuli.

Priyanshi: What motivated you to choose law as a career? Please tell us about your experience in law school?

Rajiv Tuli: I started my career as a Chartered Accountant but after some time I realized that the Chartered Accountants are generally in the field of Direct Taxes and Audits etc.

I was since the very beginning practising in Advising the Foreign companies to set up their business operations in India and Indians planning to set up business abroad or set up of EOUs, SEZs etc.

I realized my limitations being CA as not able to take up advisory and litigation aspects. I thought it’s better that I should move on and switched from CA to Law practice in 2004. Since then, I am practising as a Lawyer and running these Law Firms.

Priyanshi: You’re the Managing Partner of LegalLands LLP and VAIDAT Legale Services. Before this, you’ve been the managing partner of MARS & Partners too. What motivated you to begin your work in Legal Lands LLP?

Rajiv Tuli: Initially, I started with a small law firm, I realized that being a lawyer, we need to have better strength in different fields of law such as litigation, Corporate etc.

Later in 2008, as Partner with my Colleague, we were running a mid-sized law firm with the name of MARS & Partners in Defence Colony, New Delhi.

In 2012, I incorporated a Sole proprietor Firm with the name Vaidat Legale Services, with my best team of Professionals. Times moves and we expanded with a much broader perspective with a focus on better services and a motive to serve International Clients in India LEGALLANDS LLP was formed and which is well recognized as a Corporate Law Firm.

Currently, I am the Managing an excellent team of professionals who aims to provide the best service and practical solutions to Clients based in India & Abroad.

Priyanshi: You’ve done practices over various areas in the law field, which area intrigues you the most and why?

Rajiv Tuli: Law itself is a vast and wide field. My main area of practice is always been “Corporate Advisory and Corporate & Commercial Litigation etc.” These are Indirect Taxes including Customs Law, Excise & Service Tax and GST, FEMA, Foreign Trade Policy, SEZ and Business Setup and Advisories and specializes in education, healthcare, road transport, infrastructure projects etc. It is always a challenge to deal with revenue and financial planning and various business models and cases where direct money is involved or cases wherein there’s an invasion of duties or tax evasion or transfer pricing is involved attracts me the most.

Priyanshi: Your clientele includes Multinational Companies, Investment Banks, Family-Owned Businesses, Not-for-Profit Organizations, Funds, and High-net-Worth Individuals. How was your experience different working with them?

Rajiv Tuli: Working with different clients obviously means looking for and see the equations and depth of how grievous the situation is.

The only thing I realize is that’s we can only give practical advice to our client by stepping in their shoes. So I generally intent to understand their problem merging my mind with theirs, and then, in fact, gaze their problem/ issue and provide them with the practical solution with legal experience. That is how in the best way an issue can be handled with their commercial brain and our legal mind together.

So that gives the client a comfort level also, with my legal experience, past handling of cases & situation and the team of professionals, my approach is always to give them a workable practical advice so that to minimize the differences and try to settle the dispute and look for growth.

Priyanshi: Your assignments included advisory services to many foreign countries in relation to India and its bodies. How did you find the work culture different in these countries? Also, what all did you endure and learn new?

Rajiv Tuli: Working with foreign clients is altogether a different exposure, I have worked with clients from US, UK, Japan, Europe, Russia etc. Foreign Companies, EXPATS coming to India who wants to deal with us go in-depth and details about the business culture and legal system in India. Since the culture, laws and politics differs state to state so the curiosity I have seen is more both on the sides to understand the working culture of the Government and various Laws. So, it is always an exceptionally good experience to deal with various foreign clients on different business models.

The working culture is impressive, outspoken and straight forward in abroad whereas in India, I believe, clients work more on trust.  Whereas the foreign client is precise, read through and digs in to understand the business models, how the things have to take place, etc. here in India.

Priyanshi: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many unprecedented situations that occurred over time and due to lockdown there are various restrictions too in the society, how does your firm strive to reach its full potential amidst this condition?

Rajiv Tuli: Well, in my opinion, it’s not just the Law firms or legal field under the pressure of economic downfall but the entire global economy has suffered a tremendous shock and shattered. Even though the social life of the people is also affected because of this.

The impact of the pandemic is that according to my definition of Economy, Business, Profession & Human Behavior etc. has to be re-written now. So basically, I think it’s self-explanatory that we need to find out the new approach of doing business & profession in the time and after effect of this pandemic situation.

So like earlier we used to go offices, 9-5 jobs, then coffee breaks for casual discussions and all etc. but now the situation is that due to the lockdown break the new systems has evolved which is more precise. There will be no unnecessary meeting or consultations, hence work culture is changing and more like as it already existed in the western states- “Precise and On Time”.

I think the change India needs, to boost up its economy, is that we must be more professional, more practical, and cultural in business & professional approach while dealing with our clients, customers etc. So that is the evolution happening now and we should start to adopt that change as early as possible.

Priyanshi: In your view what are some setbacks that lawyers usually face in their careers and how does one become accustomed to such trials?

Rajiv Tuli: As you start growing as a Lawyer, we face various propositions, we may start with one or more partners or colleagues, or when we start expanding we need to hire other professionals.

So generally speaking in this profession people learn, grow and move on from one Firm to another or start working independently.

So it has happened when your employee leaves you, he may become your competitor or join other competing law firms. Sometimes they take your clients along. Such things are the set drawbacks, so we need to tackle that with a practical approach. The situations come and goes. We always need to stay positive and strong. Always carry on and look for more clients and professionals. The combination of good clients and professionals is the key to success.

Priyanshi: Lastly, what would be your advice to young lawyers who are yet to start their career in the Law field?

Rajiv Tuli: Law is the best profession in today’s era and lawyers play a very pivotal role in the economic revival and growth being its business advisories or various structuring and re-structurings which are happening in the current situation and the role is going to increase as the World is coming together to pool resources and adopt one path to grow. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught this lesson to the World in a very disruptive manner.

Choosing law as a career or carrying with the same is the most steady field of profession and contributing to economic growth. As such law is not restricted in the courtroom litigation anymore.


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