Parley with founder of Critaxcorp: Adv. Kanishka Agarwal, Founder of Critaxcorp
Please tell us something about your pre-law school days. What motivated you to take up law? I am a Delhight. My schooling was from Bal Bharti Public school, Delhi and graduation from Indraprastha University. Delhi where I did my 5 years integrated law course of B.A. LLB (H).
I hail from a family of professionals and I always wanted to do something in taxation field in earlier days but I always knew I never wanted to do CA as it will be really boring for me. Law intruded me because of the power of deep dive into the understanding of the subjects, so when the opportunity of doing law came before me it wasn’t a hard decision at all. Please share your law school experiences with our readers. Were you always inclined towards corporate sector? Looking back to the college times, they seem so distant yet I can remember it vividly. I have learned a lot from my college life, as I was a very shy boy in my school days, and so got a lot of exposure in my college life. I had always been an average student but was an active volunteer in organizing moots, debates, college events and the best was, organizing the college trip for three consecutive years where I had the nightmare of handling 300 law students. However, the exposure was surely a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t not, initially I was very focused towards taxation laws, and even though I was an average student in other subject I was always very active, and exceled in taxation laws, I guess that was in my DNA. In your opinion, should a law student focus on moots, debates, paper presentation etc. and how is it important for shaping their future in corporate as well as litigation? As per my views, moots, debates presentations always help in shaping upon persons focus, it also enhances you researching capabilities and your fear of public speaking is also taken care of, however litigation, facing judges in real time in litigation work, is very different form the moots court competitions and a person who cannot think on their
feet can never do well in litigation. As for the corporate side, it doesn’t help much as moot courts presentations are more related towards shaping one into a litigating lawyer rather than a corporate lawyer. Is there any option for law students other than Litigation or Corporate Jobs? It depends upon one’s own perspective, Taxation, IPR, Criminal and there are many other great field which are there for any lawyer to explore, I even explored a new field for myself which came out of passion i.e. Indian bare acts pact mobile application which is greeted only to the law field but is not related to litigation or corporate field. You have very rich records of experience ranging from practicing Tax Law with Mr. A.K. Batra to PWC. Did such a variegated experience give you a strategic edge over others who stuck to the same bracket? Yes, I agree that working in different area of field gave me an edge of working over others because when I am pitching to a client or draft an agreement or even formulating strategy in a litigation matter I always keep these three most important field of laws which are applicable to nearly every transaction i.e Crimination, Taxation and Corporate. However, everything has its own sweet and bitter bites working in all three fields also sometimes confuses public at large as to which field I specializes in, to conclude I never regret my decision on jumping from taxation to criminal and criminal to corporate because I have learned about best of all three worlds and there is no monotony of work in our office because of that reason only. You hail from a ‘non NLU’ law school. Is there any inherent bias between students of National Law Schools and other law schools? I personally have not faced the biasness, I hail from a non NLU college but that still didn’t stop me from entering into biggest consultancy firm of the world that is PWC, however I do see that kind of race or bragging when it comes to entering into corporate law firms but at litigation it never mattered and it never will. After PWC, you started Critaxcorp. Could you please share with our readers what motivated you to found the company and the vision behind founding Critaxcorp. Just to clarify I left PWC because the work in all big4 get monotonous at one point of time and I wanted to make my own name in the legal industry. Love for criminal law also pushed me into taking the plunge of leaving PWC and joining criminal law litigation, initially I learned under the curtilage of Mr. Gupta senior advocate there after I worked under the office of Mr. Subhash Gulati and Ma’am Seema Gulati taking experience under criminal law and when I was also getting some work from my own network I took blessings of Subhash Gulati sir and started my own law firm Critaxcorp. (Laughingly) Our seniors always say that when you have 10 to 15 files of your own then you can start your own practice, first 6 months were really tough because you have a lot of time and less work but my networking stills payed me off and work started pouring in. It was my father who motivated me, I got huge support from him as he never stopped me from taking my own decisions so that I can learn and take experience in different fields, he has told me a secret recipe that I should always follow my heart with some amount of hard work and the dish in the end is going to be just perfect! He has taught me that I should never be scared of taking any decision which I believe is right, what more can happen you might not get success but u will gain a lot of experience in your life, which matters the most. I believe that from our experiences we learn a lot, even though you fail, and when I was planning to open a new firm he supported my decision and that was the most promising support for me to start my own law firm What is your take on the legal entrepreneurship in India? Libertatem Media Group is itself a new organization founded in 2015 and similar to it there are various other organizations that started recently. Do you think there is any ample amount of growth in this legal business sector? I strongly belief that legal entrepreneurship is going to be a disrupted field in the law I always feel pride calling myself a legapreneur (legal = entrepreneur) after ideating my law app for lawyers that is IBAP, I am taking the same further and hopefully next month a new version will be launched, I really believe in the idea that law should be combined with technology to ease up the come up with innovative ideas which made me come up with the idea of IBAP and now I have also ideated a mobile app for sensitization of sexual harassment at workplace wherein I have used my legal expertise and combined it with technology, so yes legal entrepreneurship is defiantly is going to pave a new era of lawyers. As it is said, in litigation, you have to struggle a lot for the first 5-10 years. As a result of which, litigation oriented students who are not from an affluent family background or who from a middle class family studying on education loan give up their dream of litigation as they cannot sit idle for the initial years or can’t work at a very low salary for few years. Even in law firms, graduate students are offered Rs.17,000 pm in a city like Mumbai and Rs.5,000 to
10000 in Ahmedabad. A 12th Pass student who joins a BPO earns Rs. 20,000 pm which is more than a law student who spends around 15 lakh in 5 years only to get a job offering Rs.5,000 to Rs.17,000. What do have to say regarding this? Do you think aspiring law students will really aspire for law once they know this fact? Do you think there should be some sort of ban on private colleges who advertise during the admission period stating 100% placement or a false placement records which lure aspiring law students? To answer the first part of the question I think if you have to vision plus passion then struggling for initial 3 to 5 years is a cost which one has to pay, why the salary/compensation in the litigation area is very low because the seniors are the one who are giving the exposure to the lawyers which they can never get with their own clientele also one has to keep in mind that litigation seniors always encourages there juniors to take up assignments on their own which helps in learning and building your own practice at the same time, that is why the pay scale in litigation is low. I learned the same way and I think that is what every lawyer need to do, you need to burn yourself for the first 3 to 5 years to cast yourself into a successful lawyer. To answer your second part of your question the career graph of a BPO student might be better than a law student in the first five years but a lawyers gains after the first five years of experience can be 5 to 10 to 20 times of that of a BPO employee, depending upon the skills of a lawyer, as I said in the first part of my question; Vision and Passion are two important characteristics which a person should have. To answer the third question, to use workings like 100% placement in private organizations should be put to a check if not banned as there will be no batch where every law student would want a corporate job, and no college is ever able to get litigation job to every student. Law is very precise so one should defiantly use words cautiously What would be your piece of advice to aspiring law students who are preparing for CLAT and confused which law school to prefer after CLAT? At first at my time CLAT was not an option, so I don’t have the first-hand experience for the same, as per me a good law college do help in strengthen your legal foundation but no matter where you did your law from its your capabilities which takes you a long way specially in litigation. Rest as I said earlier it never stopped me from getting a job at PWC. What would be your advice to young law students who are confused between Corporate Job and Litigation? The best thing to do is opt for as many internships as they can to get a better understanding and gain practical knowledge, Firstly, they should understand the whole concept of a subject matter, for eg. Taxation is a subject which is either really liked or totally disliked by lawyers, so one needs to understand and explore to see if they have interest in it or not. Secondly, as for Corporate, it is very wide field which ranges from drafting of agreements to regulatory compliances to transaction advisory. It is a field which requires round-the-clock–work, with alluring packages, so one need to understand exactly what they want with respect to work-life balance or money, in litigation it only takes two or three internships for one to understand whether litigation is his or her cup of tea or not, some love the rage of arguing in the courts and some hate it because of the insolvencies of sitting ideal in the court or roaming in scoring heat. I would like to end this question by saying that you need to jump in the water to see whether you can swim or not. What would be your advice to budding entrepreneur of legal sector? From my personal experiences, I would like to tell them that in your initial days it would be hectic and as I am a workaholic, I have worked round–the-clock on my application day and night, but one shouldn’t be scared of working hard because it results are always fruitful. Whenever I get time I read articles for better understanding of technology, but I have adapted all this as a hobby and so it is not a burden. I believe that if things are planned and one knows how to manage time, they can easily coordinate their personal and professional life, like I do. However, one needs to prioritize their field of law, interest and goal with their time to follow a focused path to their success. I am still experimenting to know the ultimate path, but that is the fun, provided you balance the fun with risk. Have the courage to experiment and do something out of the box, I would say don’t just leave everything and get in to legal entrepreneur but if you have any idea put efforts where your thoughts are and if it carbs out well peruse it. But never forget that you are a lawyer first and then an entrepreneur in even legapreneur legal comes first and then entrepreneur.