Par­ley with founder of Cri­tax­corp: Adv. Kan­ishka Agar­wal, Founder of Cri­tax­corp

Libertatem Magazine - - Contents -

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.

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