In Conversation With Roopal Kulsrestha, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co| BW Legal World 40 Under 40

In this fireside chat with Chandril Chattopadhyay, Junior Correspondent, BW Legal World, Roopal talks about her glorious journey in law. She talks about her practice area, her growth as a leader in the industry, her mentors and much more.

Many Congratulations on winning the BW Legal World 40 under 40. How was your experience interacting with the Jury and of the event?

RK:Thank you. My experience of interacting with the jury was very pleasant. I really enjoyed my conversation with the jury members. I think that BW did a great job of curating a balanced jury with distinguished members of the legal profession across practice areas and roles. The event was very well organised. BW Legal team was extremely accessible and co-operative. I also really enjoyed being on the panel for discussion on “Levers of change in the legal ecosystem for 2023” which was conducted on the day of the awards.

Please walk us through your journey in the field of law? When did you first realize that law was your life’s calling?

RK:I am an alumnus of Government Law College, Mumbai (GLC). Being in the city offers the great advantage of pursuing longer internships while studying. I started working as an intern during the first year of college and instantly loved my job. I realised that corporate law/ M&A is my calling while studying contract law at GLC (taught by Professor Homer Pithawalla). I worked as an intern at Fox Mandal, Little & Co. and J. Sagar Associates across various practice areas, including litigation, capital markets and banking and finance. I decided to pursue M&A in the penultimate year of college and have since then been on the same path. I was at J. Sagar Associates initially and moved to Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. in 2015.  

What would you say has helped you emerge as a leader in your industry and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?  

RK:I don’t think of myself as an industry leader just yet. There is a lot of scope for growth and various avenues yet to be explored. The practice of law requires discipline, grit and an appetite for constant learning and reading. I love what I do and therefore this journey does not at any point feel cumbersome for me. I think it’s important to understand and accept that the field of law requires tenacity, patience and sincerity. My advice for students is to deep dive into all aspects of the law, including history, legislative debates and jurisprudence, and, to observe and spend time in understanding the application of the law in a polity and in commerce. The legal profession is inevitably rigorous and can get overwhelming from time to time – it’s helpful to lead a disciplined life, make time for fitness (physical and mental), friends and family, to ensure that you have the tools to navigate through a demanding profession.  

What are your thoughts on the Indian economy from an M&A perspective?

RK:The current dynamic global geo-political situation has led to a lot of uncertainty. Dealmaking has dampened in most parts of the world. However, the Indian economy is relatively steady and promising. Indian government has been stable and supportive of legal and economic reform. Given that financial sponsors yet have funds to deploy, India is an attractive emerging market for M&A. Indian promoters are progressively savvier now and more quality assets are available in the market.  

Who according to you has been your guide and mentor in this illustrious journey as a lawyer?

RK:Akshay Chudasama, our managing partner has been my guide and mentor since the beginning of my career .

As a parting note, would you please recommend a favorite book that left a lasting impression on you? What has been your most recent read?

RK:Some of my favourite books that have inspired me are – To kill a mocking bird (Harper Lee), Animal Farm (George Orwell), The Discovery of India (J.L.Nehru). I recently read and would recommend - Languages of Truth (Salman Rushdie), The Half Known Life (Pico Iyer).  

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