Praveen Prabhakar: Redefining legal services with cost-effectiveness and swiftness
“The life of the law has not been logic; it has been EXPERIENCE.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court Justice
India Law Practice is a full-service law firm rendering myriad of services in various areas of law including Real Estate Laws, Business & Corporate Laws, Labour & Employment related Laws, Intellectual Property Laws, Compliance related Matters and Litigation. ILP’s services are rendered across practice areas and they are independent of industry sectors. Their clients vary from domestic and multinational corporations, financial institutions, developers to high net worth individuals.
Our editor, Abhishek Chaudhary spoke to Praveen Prabhakar, the Managing Partner of India Law Practice about his entrepreneurial journey, challenges, the law in India and much more. Here are the edited excerpts.
What is your background in Law? Where did you study and work in law before finding the firm?
I have done my BA.LLB from University Law College, Bengaluru and Masters from Cardiff University, UK. Post my graduation, I worked with a law firm in Bengaluru for a year and a half, then went to the United Kingdom to pursue my masters. After coming back, I worked with 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 as a new firm, you start alone with nobody to support you. You have to do everything from scratch, whether it is business development, administration or delivering work. Luckily, we had the people who joined us, who have been there from day one. Every day, there is a challenge, everyday there is fire-fighting and you have to motivate your team every day. You also have to keep yourself updated with the changes in laws. Ensuring that you are conversant and updated with the day-to-day affairs, so everyday challenges are quite a bit.
Did the firm originate because of what you were seeing and experiencing in the challenges facing commercial and corporate attorneys? What exactly led you to start the law firm?
I wouldn’t say as I didn’t see any challenges. There was definitely a room for a boutique law firms to exist in Bengaluru which was able to give you a professional work delivered at competitive costs. It was the entrepreneurial drive that I had from day one which led me to start my own firm. When I came back after completeing my masters, I joined a mid sized law firm in Bengaluru where I was able to manage a team of substantial lawyers on my own, which gave me a lot of confidence. I always wanted to be on my own and having been native Bengalurean, having a good network 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 follow is whether it is clients, emails or calls, we ensure that we have a quick response. Whether it is an interim response or a full-fledged response, we make sure that the turn around time is very quick. We pace ourselves pretty well and the unique thing about our law firm is our turnaround time in which we take pride.
What are the practices offered by the firm?
As I said earlier, we are a boutique law firm we do general corporate work, a lot of real estate work, we do IPR – Intellectual Property Rights mainly trademarks and copyrights and we also have a litigation team. So, these are the four practice areas.
Do you manage to strike a work-life balance or are there still grey areas you’d like to better address? What are your other interests?
In our firm, we have a good work-life balance as I don’t like lawyers staying up all night as we have enough lawyers on each account and our bench strength is also good. We have team outings, trips, etc. which keeps the whole team rejuvenated and motivated. Some of my other interests include playing golf, doing my regular workouts and walks in the morning which I definitely enjoy. For the last couple of years, I have been addicted to Netflix watching a lot of movies. Another important thing that 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 telecom operators’ legal work in Karnataka, obviously, because of confidentiality, I cannot take their names or the project details but we work with major banks and a lot of foreign clients who have their R&D facilities in India. We also work with a lot of start-ups in Bengaluru and work across all sectors from hospitality to real estate. We also have been advising Karnataka RERA and other government departments too.
Brief us over the future plans of the organization.
Right now, we have offices in Bengaluru and Mysore. We are looking and would definitely like to have an office 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, courts need more judges which are lacking right now because of which the disposal of cases takes a lot of time. When you have commercial businesses and establishments from abroad setting up, the only cause of concern is the delay in the Indian legal system. Secondly, there are many laws that need to be repealed and amendments to certain existing acts needs to be done with a holistic approach. There are good laws, the system is good but the implementation needs to be more proactive.
What is your take on legal education in India?
I think it has changed from what we did about 15-18 years back, nowadays newer systems have come and internships are made more mandatory which is very good. I think, within the law theoretically you can study but having a practical approach to it with a hands-on experience of discussing the matter or being in the court to understand – the knowledge & experience is totally different.
What have been the keys to your success?
Like I said, we have been very proactive and approachable to the clients 24×7. Our turnaround time and having dedicated lawyers to each account, these are some of the things that have helped us to reach and maintain where we are today.
What advice would you give law students and current lawyers aspiring to enter the start-up world?
If you are in the legal profession and you want to start your own law firm. Then you need to have hands-on experience, you need to work in a law firm and you need to work with a senior advocate depending on if you are under litigation field or the corporate field. Again, in the corporate field, you want to work at a council for companies which is a different ball game all together. It definitely needs a few years of practice, hard work and dedication. Only then you can look at getting the entrepreneurial drive in you to start your own law firm but definitely it is not something that just out of law school, you can start off as very rarely people succeed that way.