Connecting Business and Law
Raghu Nandan, BSBA
'02, is a partner in a
law firm that grew out
of his experience at
BSBA Business Management '02
Partner, Fisher Nandan Gaide PLLC
By Liz Warren-Pederson
As an undergraduate, Raghu Nandan came to the U.S. from his native India. Set on living in the West, he applied for a number of schools, settling on the UA for the Eller College’s reputation, as well as the opportunities to hike and rock climb around Tucson.
“Law was in the back of my mind when I arrived in Tucson in August 1998,” he said. “It was just a matter of when.” While at Eller, he focused on business management.
“For me the attraction for management was an academic one,” he explained. As an honors student, Nandan was responsible for writing a thesis, and worked with Eller Professor of Management Terry Connolly and retired professor Dave Tansik. “I loved learning about behavior and social decision making – what motivates people to do what they do in a big organization,” he explained.
When he graduated, he joined First Magnus as an analyst in its risk management department. “When I was recruited out of Eller, First Magnus were taking on 10-12 people at a time, and we were all interviewed by the CEO, the CFO, and the COO,” he said. “It was a familial environment, a small company that was growing fast.”
As one of the earlier hires, Nandan was able to move up fast. He ended up running the risk management department, then oversaw the company’s outsourcing operation in India.
“When I left, there were 6,000 employees and billions of dollars in loans,” he said. “It was one of the largest privately held lenders in country. Throughout all that rapid change, those of us who came in early still thought of it as a familial organization, but later people likely didn’t have that connection.”
First Magnus failed in August 2007, the month Nandan finally realized his long-held goal of beginning law school at the UA. “I stayed on post-bankruptcy to help with liquidation,” he said. “Then I worked for several other mortgage companies while I went to law school.”
All along, Nandan had intended to set up his own practice. “I felt that I’d be ready, because of my work experience,” he explained. After graduation, he passed the Colorado Bar exam and partnered with a friend from his undergrad days, fellow UA alum Paul Fisher and a third partner to form Fisher Nandan Gaide PLLC in Denver.
The practice focuses on civil litigation and transactions including business law, restructuring and bankruptcy, mortgage banking, and more.
Nandan said one of the firm’s founding principles is the idea that its partners all have prior business experience, giving them direct insight into the needs of their clients. “Businesses need solutions to move forward,” he said. “We see the attorney’s job as understanding where they are, where they want to go, and tailoring a solution to fit those goals.”
Interested in the business-law intersection at Eller? Check out the UA Business/Law Exchange.