Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Corporate, Securities

Chakraborty's proactive approach a good fit for corporate clients

Calgary corporate and securities lawyer Saptarshi (Rishi) Chakraborty prides himself on speaking his clients’ language.

Chakraborty, a senior associate with Nerland Lindsey LLP, tells AdvocateDaily.com that early on in his career, he embraced the advice of his mentor to avoid legalese and unnecessary clutter in legal documents.

“I was told you should communicate like a client, and work like a lawyer,” he says. “I think I’m quite affable and approachable and I try to speak succinctly and avoid jargon as much as I can.

“It helps to be proactive, thinking about your clients and being empathetic to their needs,” Chakraborty adds.  

He says his aim is to foresee issues before they arise for clients, “as opposed to being reactive once problems or concerns have been raised.”

That proactive approach is key to Chakraborty’s corporate and securities law practice, which involves acting for issuers, shareholders, independent committees of boards of directors and investment dealers in public and private offerings of securities, corporate reorganizations and mergers and acquisitions. He also advises clients on continuous disclosure, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance matters.

Chakraborty comes from a legal family, having followed his father into the profession, although he admits law wasn't his first choice of career.  

“I wanted to be a soccer player,” he says. “But then reality set in, and it became clear I wasn’t great at it.”

After recalibrating his expectations, Chakraborty set his sights on international law, completing his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Pune in India, before adding Master of Laws degrees from both the University of Toronto and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.  

Both before and after his call to the bar in 2011, Chakraborty worked for a number of Canada’s largest law firms. Although originally based in Toronto, he articled in the Calgary office of McCarthy Tétrault LLP as part of a plan to see out the 2008-2009 financial crisis, before heading back east when things had settled down.

However, life got in the way. “When I moved to Calgary, I didn’t know a single soul here. Nine years later, I’m married to a Prairie girl and have two children. Calgary is home,” Chakraborty says.

Over the years, he has built a resume featuring some of the largest companies in the province and Canada, and while his current practice still involves advising public companies, a significant portion of his work is devoted to advising private companies on securities law matters and their go-public strategies.

“The majority of my clients tend to have fairly sophisticated boards and shareholders,” says Chakraborty, who brought his practice to Nerland Lindsay in 2017.  

“My decision to move to Nerland Lindsey was partly guided by my clients and my own desire to work in a mid-sized firm,” he explains.

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