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In Conversation With Pranav Srivastava, Partner, Phoenix Legal

In this interview with Ashima Ohri our Managing Editor, Pranav shares his journey in law, his thoughts on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021 with the prestigious BW Legal World 40 Under 40 Best Lawyers and Legal Influencers Award.

How and when did you know becoming a lawyer was your life’s true calling? 

It was by a stroke of luck that I ended up opting for law as a career. I was a science student up to 12th standard and was preparing to pursue a career in medicine. One of the reasons was that in those days engineering and medicine were the obvious career choices for anyone who scored above a certain percentage of marks in 10th standard. People opting for other streams, even if they were genuinely interested in those subjects, were painted with a broad brush as being non-serious.

However, after studying science for two years in school and then preparing for the pre medical test, I realized that medicine or any other field in science was not my calling. I knew I had to relook at my career options and that is when one of my relatives sent to me a prospectus of one the famous law schools which had a couple of pages on career opportunities for lawyers. I then started reading about the legal profession and developed interest and eventually decided to pursue a career in law.

Would you please tell us about your specialisation and the array of work you handle at your firm? 

I focus my practice on some of the most regulated industry sectors including infrastructure, power, oil and gas, EPC/ construction, life sciences, healthcare and technology (including IT, ITES, FinTech and biotech). A factor that somewhat distinguishes my practice from my peers is that my practice comprises advising clients on transactional work as well as representing them on high-value commercial disputes. This, I believe, provides me a well-rounded overall perspective of legal issues applicable to my clients’ businesses.

What are your predictions for 2022 in the area/s of specialisation mentioned above? What are some of the upcoming trends of the industry?  

The year 2022 or in fact this entire decade is going to be focused on technology and this I believe will have a two-fold impact on my practice.  For one, there will be a lot of activity in areas such as information technology and IT enabled services, artificial intelligence, software as a service, fintech and bio-technology.  All of these are my core strength areas and given the liquidity in the market, I see 2022 to be a fairly busy year for me.  Second, I see assimilation of more legal-tech in my day to day life in providing legal services. The new-age clients don’t want to incur costs for lawyers performing mundane activities which can be undertaken at lower costs and higher efficiency with the use of legal-tech.  I expect new legal-tech products to arrive in the market which we can use in providing legal services.

  

As a new age lawyer, what to your mind is the one thing in the current legal ecosystem at the Bar, Bench, or in the Law Firms that needs our attention. 

Its “Professional Liability”. There is practically no risk or liability for lawyers in India even if they were to make errors or omissions in performance of services. Law is a serious profession and it is critical that lawyers are held accountable for their actions and that the clients have a meaningful recourse against their lawyers in case of deficiency in service. In my view, a strong liability regime for lawyers will weed out the low-quality and low-cost lawyers and law firms from the Indian legal market and will promote a healthy competition amongst high-quality lawyers and law firms. This will ultimately benefit both the clients as well as lawyers and law firms.

Many Congratulations on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021. What to your mind has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction? 

 I attribute my success to the mentoring and the training I received from my seniors at Phoenix Legal during the initial years of my legal career.  A good boss and a mentor can go a long way in shaping your legal career and I was fortunate to be trained by seniors who were not only excellent lawyers but also took great efforts in training and mentoring their juniors. Also, I don’t think there is any one method to success. All successes in life are an outcome of a series of small positive actions that you take over a long period of time. Similarly, all failures in life are an outcome of small errors or omissions you make over a long period of time. The key principle therefore is a long-term consistent effort to do good work. 

Never say no to an opportunity because you think it’s beyond your capabilities or you are too busy with something else. Don’t shy away from effort and hard work. Stay enthusiastic about the work that you do and always keep pushing your limits. In the long-term, after consistent effort, you will be surprised by the successes that will start coming your way.

As a final note, would you please recommend to our readers your favourite book that left a lasting impression on you. 

I think reading books is a great method to learn from the experience of others.  I regularly read books and try to somewhat incorporate the learnings in my day-to-day life.  These books range from fiction to personal development and self-help books. But since we are talking of success, I recommend reading “The Leader Who Had No Title” by Robin Sharma which in a story format reminds us of obvious but often ignored methods of achieving sure shot success in life.


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