Always Look At Solution First And Start Working Backwards: Atul Juvle, General Counsel, Schindler India

Mr Juvle shares anecdotes from his inspiring career as an In House counsel and shares his top three learnings with the readers. He also shares his predictions for the legal sector in the near future. is AI a problem or a prospect. Read on to find out.

Atul Juvle

Mr Juvle, you started your inspiring career as a banker but switched to an inhouse role few years down the line. You have been in the industry for 25+ Years, what would be your top 3 learnings and milestones?

Although I started my career in the banking field but my interest to work on complex transactions took me on a transitioning journey in a in house role.

In my 25 years of working in the In house legal domain, one of the most memorable milestones was joining Tata International. It gave me the right exposure on how companies work on a pan India level. Add to this, It also gave me the opportunity to work with law firms. 

My biggest learning at Tata was integrity and principles should never be compromised. The independence and freedom given by my seniors at Tata laid a strong foundation for a global career. 

In a short span of time, I got an opportunity to work as a General Counsel in a U.S. MNC. Before joining this global company, I used to wonder how these global companies operate in so many countries with the holding subsidiary model.

Then, I could learn over a period that their focus is on process and risk, where no compromise is allowed to anybody. 

Besides being a law graduate, I'm also company secretary. So, I got the privilege of attending board meetings and that gave me a detailed insight of how board meetings play out. The discussions and deliberations on the projects as well as the problems leading to business discission making helped me adapt and model myself as a business enabler.

My time at a U.S. MNC gave me an added advantage of pursuing education again. 

This led me towards one of greatest milestones in my career as it made me better equipped to understand the business side of things as well as law. While pursuing my MBA, I also realized that all qualifications and certifications have a short shelf life of 3 to 5 years. This experience made learning a continuous and integral part of my career.

After, US MNC, I joined HDFC Life where I could learn the concept of’ speed to market. ‘if your decisions and opinions are not speed to market, it has no value. And and I struggled to catch up with the speed because there was a tremendous speed in HDFC Life. But I adjusted with the pace in due course.

After, HDFC Life, I joined Godrej Agrovet, where I learned that even if matters are transferred to legal department, there persists an opportunity to resolve matters amicably without getting into legal aggregations.

Coming back to the current employment, this is my seventh year with Schindler India and it has been a highly fulfilling job. Every year, the job satisfaction hits a new peak. 

Recently, I was also allocated a new responsibility as the company’s data privacy officer. One must always be keen to take on new challenges at any stage of your career. It helps us to evolve in the profession.

It is said that the greatest gift of leadership is a boss who wants you to be successful. How lucky were you to find the right boss in the initial stages of your career?

Those who cannot afford high education fees or mentors. Their bosses become their mentors. 

I'm lucky enough to get my first boss tough, but he taught me one lesson, which I never forget and I follow it every time. The lesson is,

nobody wants to listen No, you go to lawyer to get the answer yes, you go to a doctor to get the answer that yes you can be cured, nobody goes to anybody to listen the answer No. 

And that is where I made my principal, "it is never No Go in the business, but it is always No and Go."

Yes, there will be rare circumstances where business also will listen to you and why you are saying no. but the ultimate objective is for any business is to find solutions. In this regard.

My second boss taught me a great particular lesson that always look at the solution first and start working backwards. We always look at the problem and then we start searching the solution. But my second boss taught me that we should start with the solution first and then work backwards. 

This is also mentioned in the Stephen Covey’s famous book Seven Habits of highly successful people in that he mentions one of the habits begin with the end in the mind, then you will reach the destination. 

So, these two bosses’ teachings particularly There is nothing like No Go, it is always No and Go. 

Secondly, always when you get a problem begin with the end in the mind then you will find solutions. 

Third learning as I mentioned that you have to keep learning because industry demands that.

Do you see Artificial Intelligence becoming a problem?  How do you see the legal sector shaping up in the near future?

Before I go to industry prediction let us talk about India. Today India is at 50 in the GDP worldwide index and it is expected by validated data that we will become number two or three in next 20 years depending on our efforts. 

So, if India's future is bright even if we conservatively estimate that it will become third in the next 20 years in world economy, definitely there will be multiple opportunities. So, future is bright for India, both, for the business as well as legal sector.

So, now future will be definitely good. Now we are to only wait till it become better and making it based depends on our hands, what efforts we make. Coming back to the predictions on the industry not only legal, but covering all industries. 

All are worried about the fourth industrial revolution, i.e., Artificial Intelligence. What is the good part of it? I think a good part of it is that everybody is having this problem. 

As we fought with the COVID, we are going to fight with this problem, it is not a problem, it is a prospect because it is going to help us. 

Artificial intelligence is going to take away 30 to 50% jobs and probations in every sector. So, that's scary and worrying. But everybody has this problem. Secondly, we know this monster now. So, we can think, we can add this, we can learn, we can unlearn and become a future ready to face it with confidence. 

The fear, which we were having, that immediately it will come is slightly diffuse by the COVID because everybody is now putting up their own businesses. So, this will have definitely 2-5 five years- time, which is good enough to become aware and become ready to face it.

Future belongs to those only those who are future ready. We have to be future ready. Now coming back to predictions. there will be lot of work on the filing that shows that they are actually having the starting of the good amount of work. 

Second, the hearings which were deferred will come up in due course. So, time ahead will be good. We have to have some patience to make it better and whether it will be best depends on our own efforts. 

According to me, legal sector is secured for next two to three years with a good amount of work. 

*Edited from BW Legal World GC Conference 2021

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