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About Ranjeev

Ranjeev C Dubey was born in Jammu in 1957 to Ravi and Prakash Nath Dubey. His father was at the time an Entrepreneur and an Agriculturist while his mother led several government sponsored charitable institutions in her capacity as a well-known social worker.

His first ten years were spent in Jammu in an idyllic small town environment where inhabitants believed with a feverish passion that Jammu was the centre of the universe and, in his words, 'no one did cynicism'.

 He was sent to Mayo College Ajmer to acquire his secondary education in 1968 where, in his words, "his six years were most distinguished by his singular success in not taking advantage of every facility this extraordinary school offered". 

He passed his Higher Secondary in December 1973 with enough marks to be admitted to the BA Hons (Economics) course at Sriram College of Commerce, Delhi University in July 1974. Here he discovered the joys of pursuing knowledge in an environment that expected him to attend classes only if the mood took him and to study hard for several weeks every year just prior to the annual exam. In his words, he "read like a fiend and absorbed data like a masochistic sponge". He also developed life insights that only altered states of consciousness and overwhelming idleness bring. In 1975, India suffered a state of internal emergency thus converting him into a liberal democrat with a peculiar allergy to bigotry, religious prejudice, dictatorships and the now long dead political donkey named socialism for the rest of his life.

In 1977, he earned his Honours degree in Economics and promptly joined the degree course in the laws at Delhi University in the entirely mistaken belief that this subject would assist him in pursuing the path of justice on behalf of his clients at some uncertain point in the future. In these years, he discovered a love for the mountains and a yearning for remote isolated places that has persisted to this day. He graduated in 1980.

Firm in his belief that no one can call himself a lawyer unless the impact of these laws is experienced at the ground level, Ranjeev joined the chamber of a senior in the Tees Hazari Courts in Delhi early in 1981. Here, he attempted to mould his elitist residential school identity to better suit the hostile aggressive environment of the time where only the most ruthless survived. He was not entirely unsuccessful, starting his own chamber in July 1983 and carrying on a mainly civil side practice from then on till 1992. 

The years 1983 to 1992 were rough years that are appreciated mainly in hindsight. He learnt the art of advocacy but mainly, he leant the difference between the projection and the reality of life for the underprivileged majority. He picked up some legal skills along the way and successfully navigated the moral and ethical minefield that tripped up many who he believed were his superiors in most respects. Ranjeev ran his independent trial court practice for fourteen years and looking back, he believes these were the years that set the foundation for the development of his personality as a lawyer.

In these years, he also learnt the joys of travel and it was a good time to explore India because the legal profession was going through a peculiarly difficult phase. At the time, lawyers struck work repeated resisting the bifurcation of the trial courts and came to believe that the pursuit of protracted feuds with authorities, including one celebrity policewomen, were an entirely worthwhile pursuit. The courts were paralyzed for months, and Ranjeev used the time to backpack across the country in search of understanding. Some of this understanding found expression in the regular features he wrote at this time for a variety of travel magazines and for the travel supplements of the leading national business newspaper. His rapidly expanding writing skills soon encouraged him to extend his writing to his experiences of eating out in Delhi and he became an enthusiastic restaurant reviewer. He also spend some of this time in tracking down the last surviving members of the fast dying steam locomotive in remote outposts around the country in order to photograph them for prosperity. These journeys took him to the margins of urban India - places like Bankura, Katwa, Mandla, Morvi, Kuruvadi and Naupada - and he was thus privileged to understand another dimension of our vast and diverse country.

In 1991, India went bankrupt, the prime minister revealed the wisdom beneath his prominent pout, India started to liberalize and Ranjeev understood that it was time to transform into a corporate lawyer. These years taught him the real art of the successful lawyers. They offered him a peephole view of the sleaze and grease that lubricates the wheels that turn within the wheels we see at the instance of the wheelers and the dealers. They revealed the motives that drive the men who we deify and exorcised for all times any veneration he may ever have had for leaders, idols, icons and celebrity. Here, he earned his doctorate in cynicism.

He also transformed his legal career in these years. In 1995, he was the lead lawyer in closing a foreign owned 1000 MW coal fired power project. In 1996, he advised an American and a Nordic company in their bids to acquire basic, mobile and paging licenses. These bids succeeded and he then assisted in the roll out of these licenses. In these years, he also helped establish the contractual regime that would subsequently be templated as standard formats in the private equity space in India. By 1997, his transformation into a corporate commercial transactional lawyer was complete.

Meanwhile, fate intervened. To plagiarize a popular cliché, you can take the lawyer out of the court, but you can't take the court out of the lawyer! As the joint ventures Ranjeev had written unravelled over succeeding years, Ranjeev found himself sucked into the world of high stakes multi jurisdiction, multi geography shareholder and corporate control litigation.

In February 2000, Ranjeev established his green field law firm which has now been rechristened N South. He has been its Managing Partner since. In these fourteen years, he has worked to create a skill organization focussed at delivering a quality product relevant to modern times based on mature partner led advice at a realistic cost. In these years he has explored both aspects of his skills sets, the ability to structure unorthodox cross border commercial deals in complex circumstances and the ability to successfully lead complex multi forum, multi geography corporate litigation. His experience of the latter culminated in 2003 with the publication of "Winning Legal Wars: the Business Managers guide to law, litigation and legal strategy" (Macmillan).

The following year, Winning Legal Wars transformed into an in-depth conflict management workshop for business executives in 2004. Subsequent popular requests for intense two day workshops on corporate legal topics resulted in additional workshops on Joint Ventures, Contracts, Outsourcing, Company Acquisitions and Asset Acquisitions. As a result, Ranjeev has become a frequent speaker at business and legal conferences, covering such diverse topics as Corporate Compliance, Real Estate, Cross Border M&A, Joint Venturing and Commercial Contracting.

Ranjeev's monthly column Fine Print seeks to explore that elusive space at the intersection of law, policy, corporate compulsions, politics and Indian culture. An entire archive of Fine Print can be found on the Legal and Political Writing page.

Since 2001, Ranjeev has been an off-road enthusiast, roaming within and on either side of the Western Himalayas in India and Tibet, seeking an understanding of the eternal mother earth, as it has always been, searching for the spirit of the high Himalayas. He has made similar journeys in Canada and in Alaska.

In 2012, Ranjeev second book "Bullshit Quotient: Decoding India's Corporate, Social and Legal Fine print" (Hatchette) was released to some appreciation. His accompanying lectures continue to be widely attended and are listed in the  videos section. Ranjeev Dubey's new book Legal Confidential: The Adventures Of An Indian Lawyer is being launched on 5th November 2015. The book will be available in stores between 20 - 22 November 2015. The book is currently on Amazon to pre-order log on to

On the recreation, leisure and life affirmation side of his personality, Ranjeev Dubey is deeply interested in scale miniature railways and radio control rotary flight (Helicopters) as set out on the Recreation and Leisure page and is connected to other members of this community across India.


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