Enviable Law Firm Culture to Set Your Sights On For Some Bright Spark This Diwali

The buzz around town is that some young law firms out there have cracked the code to perfect work culture. A bit of a stretch? Let's find out!

It is that time of the year when India truly sparkles. The festival of lights brings with it not just mirth and merriment but a distinct spring in everyone’s steps. After all, it is the month of bonuses for most offices in India! However, a little bird tells me, some law firms are going the extra mile to make life at work merry all year long. A bit of a stretch, is it? Well, well! There certainly are law firms with a human side. An impossible feat to achieve—I would have thought—had I not come across these firms that are breaking the stereotypes in the most human ways possible.

What do I mean, you might ask. Well, for the uninitiated, it would be difficult to digest; however, we suggest you hold on tight for some real scoop on law firms with a heart. The buzz around town is that some of the young law firms out there have cracked the code to being creative not only in their work but also in creating better workspaces.  A culture of periodical musical evenings, dedicated months of internships for LGBTQ and women-friendly policies that allow women to swimmingly come back to work after a career break are only some of the aspects that lawyers at these firms are raving about.

Read on to know the fascinating work culture these firms are building in the words of people who have experienced it firsthand:

Not Your Typical Office Spaces

Say ‘Law Firm’ and all things boring come to mind.  That though is not what Law Offices of Panag & Babu (PB Law) is all about. The firm has gone into some serious detailing to ensure you’d want to spend considerable time at work of your own accord and not because your paychecks depend on it.

Law Offices of Panag & Babu, New Delhi

The Firm also has planned interaction spaces, where teams can work and chill together. The Breakout Zones at the office are truly inviting. The vibe of the office ensures one returns to the desk with more energy than the popular bull with wings!

Dedicated Internship Months

Internships can be a make-or-break time for many law students. And at UKCA and Partners having a spiffing resume is not what matters the most. Managing Partner, Manisha Chaudhary says, “UKCA has been a strong proponent of diversity and inclusivity, wherein we actively seek to hire persons from diverse backgrounds. We wanted to give the same opportunity to our interns to ensure that the sense of inclusion can be inculcated in students as well.” At a BW Legal World conference, Chaudhary shared how the firm is moving from words to action. While everyone is welcome to intern the year round, the firm dedicates the month of March to women students in view of the International Women’s Day on March 08; June to students from the LGBTQ community, December to the specially-abled; holds a soft spot for children of the Martyrs and those currently serving in the Armed Forces and children of farmers amongst others. A novel and welcome way to plan the internship roster, I’d say.

Concierge Desk

Typically, one would only hear of such services at hotels. However, PB Law ensures people at the firm can fall back on this concierge desk for a number of things under the sun. Gurbani Kaur, Head of Operations & Human Resources shares that senior associates and above can use the concierge desk to plan their travels, house hunts, burdensome chores and a bunch of other tasks that may be weighing on their minds at work. Forgot to spiral bind a book for your kid? Simply ask the desk and it will be done.

No Hierarchy

It is hard to grasp this one. Nonetheless, that’s how—our other pick—BTG Legal is culturally structured. This is not to say that there is no vertical organisational structure; however, people at the firm say there is no difference in how one is treated at various rungs of the hierarchical ladder. Suruchi Kotoky, Senior Associate at the firm shares that the firm puts the decision-making power and independent thinking in the hands of one and all. This allows even first-year associates to feel like an integral part of the firm. Echoing these words, Kalindhi Bhatia, Principal Associate at the firm also shared a similar experience. Having been with the firm for around 8 years, Bhatia shared that the culture of the firm was its USP. The leadership of the firm encourages everyone to share their views, which is not just lip service. Additionally, firm policies, associate remuneration, and workplace transparency were some of the most valued aspects of the firm for her.

Conducive Environment for Growth and Zero Tolerance for Office Politics

Aishwarya Kaushiq, Senior Associate at BTG Legal shared that while the law is a demanding profession, there are very few firms that go out of their way to take the sting out of the long hours. It is not only what the firm does for its lawyers but also for its supporting staff that shows the heart of the leadership. Kaushiq shared the firm ensured court clerks and their families were comfortable during the unprecedented Covid-19 times by footing a considerable chunk of the tuition fee for their children to promote education. He gives the entire credit to the firm’s Managing Partner, Prashant Mara for bringing his experience of working with international firms to BTG Legal and setting a fine example for some of the other firms in the industry.  

Friday Fun and Frolic

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is not something one needs to say at PB Law

Jaskaran Bhullar, Principal Associate at the firm recounts how the firm threw a party for his promotion where everyone came with family or their plus-ones. “Heard of an entire team getting the day off to attend the wedding of a colleague’s sister”, he asks. Not only did the leadership allow everyone the time off but they also came bearing gifts! And if you think weddings are what one needs to wait for to let their hair down, you couldn’t be more wide of the mark. The firm holds periodical Friday eve office galas including live music, stand-ups and more!

Heard of an entire team getting the day off to attend the wedding of a colleague’s sister?

— Jaskaran Bhullar

A Friend In Need Is A Great Firm Indeed

Taking the call from outside of an ICU at the time, Mansi Bidani, Partner at PB Law said she wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to share her experience even if she was in the middle of a family crisis because the firm has stood by her like a rock. While waiting on medical reports of a family member who was unfortunately in the ICU, Bidani took a few minutes to share how solidarity was in the DNA of the firm. Bidani needed a phone and a local sim for her sister as they waited in the hospital, and she didn’t have to worry about a thing. The firm provided every assistance it could. She said Managing Partner, Sherbir Panag walks the talk and ensures the firm is emotionally invested in the well-being and growth of its people.

Motherhood Is Neither A Comma Nor A Full Stop

Argus Partners is a firm that prides itself on innovative thought leadership. That includes women-friendly firm policies, a happiness index motivated work culture and an overall forward-looking new-age firm model. Krishnava Dutt, Founder and Managing Partner of Argus Partners in an interview with BW Legal World said it was perplexing to see how women often are forced to choose between work and motherhood. A problem, the firm wishes to weed out. “We’ve been reaching out to head-hunters and saying, this is a talent we want to bring back and we have been able to do so,” he says.

As we reach the end of this piece, I am reminded of a fitting saying by Sadhguru. He says, “Integrity, insight, and inclusiveness are the three essential qualities of leadership.” Looks like the little bird got us to the right leaders and their firms. Here’s wishing them all more power as they forge ahead. Godspeed to them all! And if you know of other law firms who are trying to make history, do write to us with your experiences so we can get more heart-warming stories to our readers. Until then here’s wishing you all a very Happy Diwali!

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