Praveen Prabhakar: Redefining legal services with cost-effectiveness andswiftness
"The life of the law has not been logic; it has beenEXPERIENCE." – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice
India Law Practice is a full-servicelaw firm rendering myriad of services in various areas of law including RealEstate Laws, Business & Corporate Laws, Labour & Employment relatedLaws, Intellectual Property Laws, Compliance related Matters and Litigation. ILP'sservices are rendered across practice areas and they are independent ofindustry sectors. Their clients vary from domestic and multinationalcorporations, financial institutions, developers to high net worth individuals.
Our editor, Abhishek Chaudharyspoke to Praveen Prabhakar, the Managing Partner of India Law Practice abouthis entrepreneurial journey, challenges, the law in India and much more. Hereare the edited excerpts.
What is your background in Law? Where did you study and work in lawbefore finding the firm?
I have done my BA.LLB from UniversityLaw College, Bengaluru and Masters from Cardiff University, UK. Post mygraduation, I worked with a law firm in Bengaluru for a year and a half, thenwent to the United Kingdom to pursue my masters. After coming back, I workedwith another law firm for 5 years and then started on my own in May 2010.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
Obviously, when you start off asa new firm, you start alone with nobody to support you. You have to doeverything from scratch, whether it is business development, administration ordelivering work. Luckily, we had the people who joined us, who have been therefrom day one. Every day, there is a challenge, everyday there is fire-fightingand you have to motivate your team every day. You also have to keep yourself updatedwith the changes in laws. Ensuring that you are conversant and updated with theday-to-day affairs, so everyday challenges are quite a bit.
Did the firm originate because of what you were seeing and experiencingin the challenges facing commercial and corporate attorneys? What exactly ledyou to start the law firm?
I wouldn't say as I didn't seeany challenges. There was definitely a room for a boutique law firms to existin Bengaluru which was able to give you a professional work delivered at competitivecosts. It was the entrepreneurial drive that I had from day one which led me tostart my own firm. When I came back after completeing my masters, I joined amid sized law firm in Bengaluru where I was able to manage a team ofsubstantial lawyers on my own, which gave me a lot of confidence. I alwayswanted to be on my own and having been native Bengalurean, having a goodnetwork with people was another additional boost for me to start on my own.
What unique approach do you bring with your firm?
One thing that we always followis whether it is clients, emails or calls, we ensure that we have a quickresponse. Whether it is an interim response or a full-fledged response, we makesure that the turn around time is very quick. We pace ourselves pretty well andthe unique thing about our law firm is our turnaround time in which we takepride.
What are the practices offered by the firm?
As I said earlier, we are aboutique law firm we do general corporate work, a lot of real estate work, wedo IPR – Intellectual Property Rights mainly trademarks and copyrights and wealso have a litigation team. So, these are the four practice areas.
Do you manage to strike a work-life balance or are there still greyareas you'd like to better address? What are your other interests?
In our firm, we have a goodwork-life balance as I don't like lawyers staying up all night as we haveenough lawyers on each account and our bench strength is also good. We haveteam outings, trips, etc. which keeps the whole team rejuvenated and motivated.Some of my other interests include playing golf, doing my regular workouts andwalks in the morning which I definitely enjoy. For the last couple of years, Ihave been addicted to Netflix watching a lot of movies. Another important thingthat I try to do is travel with the family once or twice a year.
Brief us over the notable matters handled by the firm.
We handle one of the biggest telecomoperators' legal work in Karnataka, obviously, because of confidentiality, Icannot take their names or the project details but we work with major banks anda lot of foreign clients who have their R&D facilities in India. We also workwith a lot of start-ups in Bengaluru and work across all sectors fromhospitality to real estate. We also have been advising Karnataka RERA and othergovernment departments too.
Brief us over the future plans of the organization.
Right now, we have offices inBengaluru and Mysore. We are looking and would definitely like to have anoffice in Delhi and Mumbai, in the next year or so.
What are your thoughts about the Indian legal system and its problems?
In terms of litigation, courtsneed more judges which are lacking right now because of which the disposal ofcases takes a lot of time. When you have commercial businesses andestablishments from abroad setting up, the only cause of concern is the delayin the Indian legal system. Secondly, there are many laws that need to berepealed and amendments to certain existing acts needs to be done with aholistic approach. There are good laws, the system is good but theimplementation needs to be more proactive.
What is your take on legal education in India?
I think it has changed from whatwe did about 15-18 years back, nowadays newer systems have come and internshipsare made more mandatory which is very good. I think, within the lawtheoretically you can study but having a practical approach to it with ahands-on experience of discussing the matter or being in the court tounderstand – the knowledge & experience is totally different.
What have been the keys to your success?
Like I said, we have been veryproactive and approachable to the clients 24×7. Our turnaround time and havingdedicated lawyers to each account, these are some of the things that havehelped us to reach and maintain where we are today.
What advice would you give law students and current lawyers aspiring toenter the start-up world?
If you are in the legalprofession and you want to start your own law firm. Then you need to havehands-on experience, you need to work in a law firm and you need to work with asenior advocate depending on if you are under litigation field or the corporatefield. Again, in the corporate field, you want to work at a council forcompanies which is a different ball game all together. It definitely needs afew years of practice, hard work and dedication. Only then you can look atgetting the entrepreneurial drive in you to start your own law firm butdefinitely it is not something that just out of law school, you can start off asvery rarely people succeed that way.