Arun Gupta is a Fellow member of ICSI and a member of the Bar Council of Delhi. He graduated with a B.Com(H) degree in 1995 followed by CS degree in 1999 and later qualified in law. Arun is a lawyer with more than 15 years experience in Corporate and Commercial matters.
Arun acted as a key contributor to the book authored by Corporate Professionals titled “Insight into Companies Bill 2012” and he is also an author of a book titled “Companies Act 2013- Impact on foreign companies in India” published by CCH, Wolters Kluwer in 2014.
He started his own firm – Factum Legal, Advocates and Solicitors in 2013.
In this interview he tells us about:
- Life, law and the choices he’s made while pursuing it.
- The benefits of having a commerce background while practicing corporate law and the value of additional degrees.
- Factum Legal – its establishment and his plans for expansion.
- His publication and the role of academic pursuits in a lawyer’s career.
How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers, most of whom are students studying law?
This is Arun Gupta, a Law Graduate and also a Fellow Member of ICSI, presently practicing as a lawyer in Corporate & Commercial Laws. I love to learn a lot and I’m always keen to upgrade my knowledge of changes in law and the impact of the same on industries.
Tell us about your life before you joined college. Where did your interests lie as a student and what made you gravitate towards law?
I was from a business family so as usual, I did not plan anything in my childhood. So I tried my luck in the family business also along with my studies, but after just a few months I realised that this is not my cup of tea and God had planned something else for me. I was always good in terms of scoring marks in school exams and enjoyed the law subjects, while doing regular B.com (h), so I think that was the beginning of an inclination to enter the field of corporate law.
You specialize in corporate matters, Mergers & Acquisitions, tax law, among others. How did your interests develop in this field?
Yes I specialise in corporate matters, Mergers & Acquisitions, Due Diligence, Compliances & Governance etc. Actually being a qualified company secretary and practitioner of Corporate Law what I enjoyed the most, from the beginning of my professional career, was to find solutions in all type of transactional issues in restructuring and also assessing and finding the potential risk in any acquisition or joint venture apart from governance and compliances issues. Being part of some fund raising activities including Initial Public Offer (IPO) & Preferential Allotment etc by corporates in India, the interest towards such areas developed and sharpened.
How helpful was your background in commerce in aiding you with a better understanding of corporate law? Would you recommend professional degrees like the Company Secretary degree or any other such degree?
This is very interesting, I strongly believe that a commerce background really helped me a lot in understanding commercial law, Economic and accounting issues. I initially registered myself for the science stream after passing class X, but after 5-7 days I shifted to the Commerce stream and I am extremely happy for that decision and thankful to one of my teachers for such wonderful advice. Well, I believe that an LLB degree itself gives a wider horizon in commercial, corporate, and Personal laws, but if somebody wants to explore Corporate law then a Company Secretary course would definitely add value to that person. My CS degree really helps me a lot in all kinds of Corporate Transactions and General Corporate Advisory, however one must not forget that the most important part in practical life is not really additional degrees but the approach in handling complex situations.
Tell us about your initial years in practise – from starting out independently to the time you founded your own firm. What challenges did you face initially?
Well, the initial years of practice were very tough, I started practicing from the beginning of my professional career and no one in my family was either an advocate/ Chartered accountant or company secretary, so to setup an independent practice was really a daunting task. But I did not bother about monetary earnings, what I concentrated on was whether I was earning knowledge or not and that really helped me in setting up own firm in 2013 again. So I think you need to maintain your patience also to be in the practice of law.
Your firm, Factum Legal, has been featured as one of the Promising Legal consultants of India, 2015 by SiliconIndia. Tell us about the firm in general and the kind of work you deal with on a daily basis.
Yes, we have been recognised as one of the Promising Legal consultants of India 2015 by a business magazine Silicon India and the credit goes to the hard work of our team factum legal and the trust of our clients. We are a boutique law firm providing a comprehensive range of legal services and solutions for domestic and international clients. Our practice area embraces advisory, execution and representation services and dispute resolution. We are involved in all kinds of M& A transactions, Legal Due Diligence, Commercial Agreements, Corporate Compliance, Governance & Secretarial Practice, Private Equity help desk, Litigation & Alternate Dispute Resolution, Inbound & Outbound Investment Transactions, Registration and Licensing Services, Renewable Power Projects.
What would you advise young lawyers who are starting out working in the corporate sector. What areas might they find interesting?
My advice is don’t jump into corporate law because it is a lucrative career, but do what you enjoy most. We are lucky that we are born and practicing the profession in India as there are ample opportunities in every sphere of Legal services, so you should choose the subject based upon your knowledge and interest. My advice to all young lawyers and students is that there is no shortcut to gain knowledge, you have to work hard to become an expert in your area of interest.
You have authored a book on the Companies Act 2013 and have quite a few publications to your name. How helpful is an academic pursuit in the life of a practising lawyer and how can one find time out for the same considering the hectic schedule one inevitably finds himself in?
Authoring a book or writing articles and publications needs a huge time investment, and you cannot do such things just for the sake of doing them. You can write articles on a particular topic when you have command over the subject. The practice of law is based upon knowledge and expertise and an academically strong lawyer can really achieve a lot in a short period of time. If you ask about finding time, then I am of the view that time is essential, time is precious but if you enjoy something you always have time to pursue those things. Just to inform you, now also, I am working on a book relating to Companies Act 2013.
In the present environment of cross border transaction among corporates, what is your strategy to expend internationally?
We as a firm, believe in collaboration and mutual cooperation, so in that direction, we have joined an international legal network, which will surely help us in gaining knowledge and executing cross border transaction with local and cultural expertise. Further we have also entered into a strategic relationship with a European Full service Law firm ‘Adamas’ to serve our clients in their cross border transactions in the best and most effective manner. We will continue to expend internationally with such mutual cooperation for another few years.
Finally, what would be your parting advice to our readers?
I would like to suggest everyone ‘Have a zeal to learn, work hard, and discover your interest area as early as possible’ and the rest will follow on its own.