Started by young Devesh Gupta in 2015, Prudent Law closed real estate deals worth over $300 million last year
MISSISSAUGA: He has just crossed 30, but young Mississauga lawyer Devesh Gupta has created a big legal business that few can match.
“In 2017, we closed over 450 real estate deals worth over $300 million. Things are looking even better this year,’’ beams the young lawyer, sitting in his swanky sixth-floor office at 33 City Centre Drive in Mississauga.
Integrity, says soft-spoken Devesh, is the cornerstone of his practice. “If a client doesn’t need a lawyer at all, I tell them without wasting any time. People do respect us for our integrity.’’
Not surprisingly, Prudent Law has become one of Mississauga’s most sought-after legal firms within this short period.
“Frankly, I couldn’t be happier about the way with which we are progressing,’’ he says, looking out the window.
Indeed, this hugely successful young lawyer is where East meets West. Born in India, he was raised in Canada from his preteens.
He is steeped in Indian values, but is a typical professional with western outlook.
He inherited passion for business, but has chosen to combine it with his love for the legal profession.
And these two passions led him to set up his own legal firm — Prudent Law — three years ago.
“Since my dad was into real estate construction, I grew up inheriting that business sense from my family background. Then I studied law because I wanted to be a lawyer. Finally, I ended up combining my knowledge in both fields — real estate and law. That’s how Prudent Law was born in 2015,’‘ says Devesh who was born in the Indian capital where his family has lived for five generations.
“We were an upper middle-class family in Delhi where my father Pravin Gupta ran a successful construction business,’’ he says.
When Devesh was 13, his father decided to leave everything behind and take his family to Canada.
“Yeah, it was a sudden decision and we landed in Canada in April 2001,’’ he says, narrating his life journey from Delhi to Prudent Law in this interview:
Q: Fast forward to the present. Why did you choose the name Prudent Law for your legal firm?
When I started it in 2015, I envisioned my legal firm to be bigger than me. I didn’t want to name it Gupta Law or something like that. I wanted an open name which is inviting. To me, Prudent means “sensible”, and that’s exactly what the firm stands for: sensible advice.
Q: How is Prudent Law doing three years down the line?
We are doing very very well. Last year, we did great business as we closed over 450 real estate deals worth over $300 million. This year, things are looking even much better. The commercial segment is better, the residential segment is better and the corporate and litigation part too is better this year. I couldn’t be happier about the way we are progressing at Prudent Law.
Q: Tell us the simple secret behind your quick rise.
Our very satisfied client base. The local community realizes the great value we offer them.
Q: What do you mean by `great value’ that you offer your clients?
When people walk into our office, they quickly realize that our approach not just transactional. They realize that they come first and our business comes later. Our clients also quickly realize the importance of the amount of time and energy we spend with each of them and on each transaction. They quickly know the difference between us and others.
At Prudent Law, we understand their total circumstances very well and then tell them what is the best solution for them. The understanding and warmth they feel at Prudent Law eases their worries. They know that we are here to help them genuinely and that’s why they come back.
Our clients not only come back, but they also tell their friends and families about the quality of services offered at Prudent Law. That’s how Prudent Law has grown quickly.
It is very encouraging when our clients tell us that so and so mentioned your law firm to them. It feels very good when your clients go back satisfied. Client satisfaction is THE rule at Prudent Law.
To give you example, because of our reputation and work ethics, a real estate brokerage asked us to open a satellite office on their premises in Mississauga. So now we have this one-member satellite office there to quickly answer their queries about real estate deals.
Q: How do you plan to grow your business?
Very simple. Keep the quality of our work very high and then get the word out so that more and more people try our quality services. Once people come to use, they never go anywhere else.
Q: How many lawyers do you have currently in Prudent Law?
We are three lawyers, including myself, as of now. Brittany Noel joined us in 2017 and she looks after real estate deals. Matthew Leslie, who has an experience of 20-odd years in the profession, joined us this year. He deals with commercial litigation. Then we have got other office staff.
Being an HR specialist, my wife Shivani does all recruitments for us. Shivani is the one that has built the culture and future of the firm by handpicking the right individuals – those that believe in the firm and its principles.
Q: Where did you do your law degree?
Actually, before my law degree, I went to Schulich School Business at York University to earn my Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. I finished it in 2009 and then I went to Western University to do my law degree because I always wanted to be a lawyer. I finished the law degree in 2012.
Q: Why did you do BBA when you always wanted to become a lawyer?
I went to do my BBA because of my family business background. I also thought that I would do CA as well. But then my passion for law took me to Western. The BBA degree helped me when I took up law course because my area of specialization was real estate planning and development.
After my law degree, I did 10-month articling with the city of London as per Law Society of Upper Canada requirements. That articling period helped me understand the public sector side of real estate planning.
Q: And then you started your career in law.
Yeah. After finishing my articling, I joined Thomson Rogers in downtown. I joined them because they are specialists in land use planning in the private sector.
Q: Where did you go next?
In 2013, I got an opportunity to work with our Italian neighbour who ran a legal firm called Petrillo Law. He was an old man and retiring from the profession. I worked with him for two years — from 2013 to 2015. He offered me partnership, but I declined as I wanted to start my firm.
Q: In between, you also got married to the girl you loved, right?
Yup. I married Shivani in 2014 and we have a daughter named Myra. In fact, our two families have known one another since 2002. Shivani is my biggest support. She is my bedrock.
Q: And then you went on to start Prudent Law.
Absolutely. I started Prudent Law in October 2015. With my background in law and business, I wanted my law firm to be a combination of both of my skills.
My wife Shivani provided tremendous support throughout this journey. She herself hails from a business family and provided me the guidance and confidence I needed to take the plunge.
My father-in-law, Kuldeep Sharma, founder and CEO of Crown Group of Hotels, has always thrown his full support and resources behind me. Without him, the incredible growth, and even the firm itself, would not have been possible.
Q: Back to the past. Why did your well-to-do family leave India for Canada?
We are a typically close-knit Indian family with our roots going five generations back in Shahpur Jat village of Delhi. My family lived in Greater Kailash-I when I was born.
I had just finished Grade eight from DPS Mathura Road when my family received immigration to Canada. We all decided to move to Canada in search of a better and safer future for ourselves and our future generations. I was 13 at that time when we moved to Canada.
We landed in Toronto on April 13, 2001, and moved into a furnished condo at Square One.
Q: How big was the cultural shock for you?
Initially, life was a big cultural shock for me. We lived in that condo for two months and in September of that year, I started my education (from ninth grade) by joining Silverthorn Collegiate in Etobicoke. Gradually I made new friends and got used to the Canadian way of life.
Then we bought a house in Meadowvale and I shifted to Meadowvale Secondary School.
Q: What did your dad do for a living in Canada?
He bought a clothing factory at Dundas-Dixie in Mississauga and named it APG Manufacturing — `A’ stood for my mother Anita’s name, `P’ stood for my dad Pravin’s name and `G’ for Gupta. We made uniforms for hospitals, police, etc.
Finally, I passed out from school in 2005 and went to Schulich School of Business for my BBA degree.
Q: Fast forward to the present. How have your Indian origins and western upbringing shaped your life – personal and professional?
Well, I grew up in India, but now I have spent more than half my life in Canada. Coming from a business family, I’ve seen the ups, the downs and the success of how a business operates. From what I saw in India and what I have been experiencing in my day-to day operations, I feel the underlying principles of business are the same regardless of the culture.
Q: Any role models?
My grandfather was a lawyer and he was my role model for becoming a lawyer. He always conducted himself in a way that commanded admiration. My inspiration and encouragement, though, came from my mother who saw in me the characteristics and personality of a lawyer and guided me along this path.
Q: Are you religious? Do you pray?
I am not religious in that I visit Mandirs frequently. I join my family in occasional religious festivities. However, I am not religious to the extent where I believe my prayers are what got me where I am today. I firmly believe that if you want to achieve something, you have to work hard for it. I believe this is essentially the core of every religion.
Q: What are the basic principles of your professional conduct?
1. INTEGRITY: The underlying principle of my work has always been to do the right thing. It is a standard that is much higher than my legal obligations. But it is the standard I always try to hold myself to. A lot of times, this requires me to tell our clients that they don’t need a lawyer at all, or that they need a different lawyer than me. If I feel that this is the best thing for them, I say tell them without hesitation.
2. LONG-TERM VISION. This one sounds obvious, but it presents a daily struggle for implementation. Almost weekly, I face a crossroad where I can take short-term profit or re-invest for long-term growth. This can be a difficult decision when you have a young family. I commend my wife Shivani on her continuous support in helping me choose the long-term growth more often than not.
3. TEAM WORK: Take care of your team, and they will take care of you. The core of my current firm and my future vision is my team. I need them for my success just as much as they need me for theirs. I strongly believe in encouraging them and guiding them to become the best at what they do. If my team’s goals and my goals align, then together we are able to create something much greater than the sum of the parts.
4. PERSEVERANCE: Failure of some sort is inevitable in any business or industry. However, learning from those downturns is what has made me stronger and made my long-term vision clearer. Downturns are actually an opportunity for those who can see through the clouds and persevere.
5. PEOPLE: Revenue is not the only measure of success. Success can take many different forms. As a lawyer, I am presented with more than my fair share of opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives. I take these opportunities wherever possible and I have found that the satisfaction and happiness that I receive from these is much greater than that of profit and earnings.
Q: With these guiding principles, what kind of practice are you building?
In short, I am building a legacy. I want to be remembered as the lawyer who has a reputation for excellence. I go above and beyond and to ensure that everything that me and my team do is done not only to the best of our abilities, but is some of the best work in the industry. I hope that this continuous effort will leave a mark and a reputation that once Devesh Gupta and Prudent Law take up your file, you can rest assured that it will be done well.
Q: You said you became a real estate lawyer because of your background and passion. Any other reasons?
Yes, there is a person called Bill Sharma. I am fortunate to have him as a friend and guide and he is the one who single- handedly gave me the push and confidence to start my own firm. He took personal responsibility for the success of my firm and guaranteed me work from day one. All these years later, he continues to stay true to his word and remains the foundation of my confidence and future outlook.
Q: You said your mom is your inspiration. What is the best advice she ever gave you?
The greater a person’s success, the greater their responsibility to give back. She always reminds me to stay humble and grounded and to take the time to understand people’s unique challenges and circumstances before judging them.
Q: How is your life partner Shivani involved in your work?
Shivani is my life partner in every sense of the word. We are fortunate to share a very similar background and thinking, yet have very different personalities. She balances me exceptionally well and is often able to give me a viewpoint that I could not even have imagined. I find myself seeking her advice on all major decisions, not out of obligation, but out of genuine respect for her analysis. She has always been there with me at every step of making Prudent Law what it is today.
Q: Finally, any advice from your very successful father-in-law?
Absolutely. My father-in-law has been a great support and mentor for me. I have never met anyone in my life who can see so clearly and so positively into the distant future. While every conversation I have with him is an educational and informative discussion, the most valuable advice he has given me is to believe in myself. This simple advice, given at the right time and with the right conviction, was life changing.