Entrepreneur & Alternative careerists

Akshay Ubale, Co-founder, Triumvir Law on starting his own law firm and a successful career in International arbitration

Akshay is a graduate of National Law School of India University, Bangalore and a co-founder of Triumvir Law. In this interview, he talks about the importance of internships and the grit and determination required to start your own law firm and making it sustain.

After Founding, Triumvir Law in 2018 in Bangalore. Akshay took the plunge and moved back to Mumbai to start Triumvirs Law’s Mumbai office.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO OUR READERS? PLEASE TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PRE-COLLEGE LIFE?

 I was born and brought up in Mumbai. Most of my family were members of law enforcement, so discussions about law and politics were quite common around the house; I gravitated towards the law because I was comfortable with it. But it was not until much later that I found the reason for why I chose the law and it was simply because I enjoyed understanding the reasoning and tackling concerns of individuals in a structured manner. I think this where I get my affinity towards playing chess.

 

 WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO SPECIALIZE IN INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION AND CORPORATE LAW?

When I first came to the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU), I had come with the mindset of practising criminal law and all my initial law school activity led to that. It was not until the third-year internships that I had a proper look into the world of Commercial Arbitration. In particular, I enjoyed the sheer variety of disputes across practice areas that I had been exposed to, which allowed me to study multiple areas of law that I had not previously considered.

I decided to pursue International Commercial Arbitration because I enjoyed the sheer difference in every case ranging from the terms and wording of contracts, the intricacies of the interactions between the parties and the resolution process in itself.

 

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START THE TRIUMVIR LAW? WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED AND WHAT IS YET TO BE ACHIEVED?

The idea of an independent practice was alluring since it allowed me to maintain a better balance between my work and personal life.

But taking such a step within a year of graduating seemed risky at that time. The most fundamental reason that made me consider taking this step was the rapport that existed between the three Co-Founders (Anubhab Sarkar, Prathik Cheralathammanda and me) and our desire to carve our own path in the practice of International Arbitration.

In addition to that, the different nature of practice areas that the three of us had come from (Corporate, Intellectual Property and Disputes) and the different types of mandates that it opened us up to handle was something exemplary, in my opinion.

I feel, the biggest challenge in any independent practice is ensuring that you have a standing in different practice areas, as the first conversation with a client or a prospective client determines whether you have the mandate or not. Once you are able to maintain a dialogue and address the queries that the clients could come up with, most of the issues that arise can be tackled.

With regards to what is to be achieved is something that I have not set in stone yet, what I shall continue doing is addressing the needs of our clients to the best of our abilities. In my opinion, as long as we keep on that path, the achievements will keep piling.

 

WHAT ARE THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE FIRM AND HOW IT CATERS THE NEED OF CLIENTS?

 We focus on providing a client with the advice that would ensure the best market practices and their own market position without compromising on the strength of their legal claims. On multiple occasions, this has resulted in us resolving matters without having to put the client through a tedious dispute resolution process.

The most prominent services that the firm has provided revolve around corporate and commercial advisory, dispute resolution (litigation and arbitration) as well as intellectual property. In addition to the above, we have worked on Investment Treaty Arbitrations, crypto-currencies, mergers and acquisitions, and climate change and forced migration.

At present, a lot of companies want quality advice but are apprehensive in relation to the fees that would be billed by the Lawyers. By providing a wide variety of services under one roof it has helped us to not only cater to the needs of our clients (which include multiple start-ups as well as established Companies) but it has helped us to develop a suitable model for billing based on mutual understanding for our clients.

We espouse an idea of a balance in the lives of the members of our team; the same is applicable for our clients as well. We believe that we should have a mandate because we will address the clients’ requirements in the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective way that is possible without any compromise and not solely for our competitive rates.

HOW CAN A LAW STUDENT APPLY FOR INTERNSHIP AT TRIUMVIR LAW?

A law student can directly apply for an internship by writing to anubhab.sarkar@triumvirlaw.com. But keeping in mind the nature of the work that we do it is advisable that students who have studied International Commercial arbitration and corporate laws apply to us.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO LAW STUDENTS LOOKING FOR A CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION?

At the end of the day, Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution. I would advise students to intern in arbitration and litigation teams before making any final determination.

Further, an arbitration attorney must be equipped to handle a variety of practice areas as the contract can pull you in a direction that you least expect it; hence do not close your options and intern in various practice areas solely for the exposure to different sectors.

Finally, networking is crucial and it would assist in the formative years of practice, so attending conferences or joining the youth chapters of arbitral institutes would be a good first step.

 

PLEASE SHARE WITH US THE UNIQUENESS OF SERVICES PROVIDED BY YOUR LAW FIRM.

I believe that our philosophy of putting the clients’ needs first at all costs has assisted us in building a rapport based on absolute trust with our clients and that trust is something that I am particularly proud of. We believe in providing personalized services to the client and growing with them through their journey. This has enabled us to understand the client’s needs better and has thereby assisted us to provide quality advice in quick turnaround time.

 

WHAT MILESTONES HAVE YOU ACHIEVED TILL NOW?

We have been running Triumvir for over a year now during the tenure of which we have seen that multiple clients have referred their colleagues to us and that circle has been expanding throughout our tenure. It provides a certain satisfaction at the end of the day that we are doing something we can be proud of.

This influx of demand also led us to open our Mumbai operations, which is roughly 7 months old now and stable.

During this period, we are also extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to be a part of quite a few reported transactions and disputes.

 

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE FIRM IN THE LONG RUN?

A message that one of my seniors in practice told me is that setting up a target and a deadline for it, has a different effect on the team. Instead, focus on the task on hand and you will keep growing at a steadfast pace with a solid base.

At present, we have a long term picture in our mind. However, we try and keep it in our sub-conscience. The next big step for us would be to start our New Delhi/Calcutta operations, which is a crucial step in developing Triumvir into a full-service national law firm.

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PARTING MESSAGE TO OUR READERS?

Seize the day. There will never be a better day to start things nor a better one to follow what you desire. Find the people you would choose to be surrounded with and not settle for anything less.

At the end of the day, all that is left is what you think of yourself. What others think or believe is frankly out of our control, so the best thing to do so is believing in you and launch into the deep.

 

 

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