“Embrace setbacks as a staircase to success. Failures often pave the way for victories in the legal arena” – Discover unconventional legal advice from Muneesh Dhawan, Law Veritas: ‘North’ Managing Partner

This interview has been published by  Priyanka Karwa and The SuperLawyer Team

Your legal journey spans more than two decades, touching various sectors and contributing significantly to the legal landscape. Please describe your journey including milestones and experiences that have shaped your extensive journey in the legal field.

Throughout my extensive legal career spanning more than two decades, I have experienced numerous significant milestones that have shaped my journey. One such pivotal moment was when I co-founded Law Veritas and had the privilege of serving as one of the founding partners. Prior to this venture, I had gained diverse experiences as an independent practicing Advocate & Inhouse Legal Counsel in various sectors, including the dynamic power industry and esteemed banking and non-banking financial institutions.

However, the trajectory of my journey took an intriguing turn with the evolution of Law Veritas. This evolution led to the establishment of a fresh legal entity known as Law Veritas: ‘North’. This strategic transition not only marked a transformative phase but also highlighted the importance of change and the strategic cultivation of a new frontier for the future. This new entity opened up exciting possibilities and opportunities, allowing us to explore uncharted territory and expand our reach in the legal industry. It was a significant milestone in my journey, representing growth, innovation, and a commitment to excellence in legal services.

Furthermore, amidst these exciting developments, I assumed the esteemed position of National Legal Head at a prominent Non-Banking Finance Company, which stands as another monumental milestone in my career. It provided me with a platform to navigate and significantly contribute to the intricate legal landscape within the financial sector, fostering continuous growth and the refinement of my expertise in the legal domain.

Each of these milestones, from the role of National Legal Head to co-founding Law Veritas to the emergence of separate entity Law Veritas: ‘North’ has been instrumental in shaping my journey and contributing significantly to the evolving narrative within the legal arena.

Beyond the legal realm, you’re pursuing a Ph.D. in Law. How do you balance the demands of academic research with your role as a Managing Partner, and what motivated you to pursue further studies at this stage in your career?

As I navigate the demands of pursuing a Ph.D. in Law alongside my responsibilities as a Managing Partner, I am reminded of a poignant quote by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This encapsulates the essence of my motivation—an unwavering belief in the transformative power of education and the pursuit of knowledge.

Balancing these commitments requires meticulous time management and a genuine passion for both academia and the practical aspects of law. The drive behind furthering my studies at this stage of my career is fuelled by an insatiable thirst for knowledge and an enduring commitment to continuous growth.

The pursuit of a Ph.D. in Law is not solely about personal advancement; it’s a dedication to delving deeper into legal academia, contributing through rigorous research, and expanding the understanding within the legal domain. Managing these responsibilities demands dedicated planning and unwavering dedication, yet the symbiotic relationship between academic research and practical legal expertise is immeasurable.

I firmly believe that continuous learning not only fuels personal growth but also augments the quality of guidance and leadership I can provide within the legal sphere. Integrating academic insights into real-world scenarios enriches my role as a Managing Partner, fostering a deeper understanding that ultimately benefits the broader legal landscape.

Your journey has taken you through various esteemed organizations, and now as the Managing Partner at Law Veritas: ‘North’. Can you share a career highlight or a particularly memorable experience that has shaped your approach to legal practice and leadership?

Assuming the role of Managing Partner at Law Veritas: ‘North’ was a pivotal moment that completely transformed my perspective on legal practice and leadership. It wasn’t just a milestone in my career; it was an opportunity to merge my legal expertise with the responsibilities of leadership. At the heart of this role was a deep commitment to nurturing talent, particularly among diverse youth, by providing them with employment opportunities and comprehensive training. 

The words of Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, awake, and stop not until the goal is reached,” resonated deeply and highlighted the dedication to empowering individuals to become skilled legal professionals. 

Recognizing the importance of investing in young minds, there was a concentrated effort to impart essential skills and knowledge necessary for shaping the future generation of legal practitioners. This experience further emphasised that effective leadership goes beyond legal proficiency; it involves creating an inclusive environment that encourages learning, diversity, and personal growth, enabling individuals to realize their full potential within the legal field.

Law Veritas received recognition as one of the 25 outstanding law firms by The CEO Magazine. What does this acknowledgment mean to you personally, and how does it reflect the separate entity Law Veritas: North’s commitment to delivering exceptional legal services under your leadership?

Being acknowledged among the top 25 law firms by The CEO Magazine isn’t merely a cause for celebration; it reflects the dedication and commitment of our team. This recognition signifies our collective efforts and the values we uphold in delivering exceptional legal services.

This acknowledgment personally inspires us to strive continuously for excellence in legal services, reaffirming our core values of integrity, diligence, and client-centricity.

It’s not the end goal but a springboard for Law Veritas: ‘North’. As Steve Jobs put it, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.” This recognition fuels our ambition for more achievements, setting higher standards, and redefining the legal service landscape. This recognition symbolizes our potential and underscores our unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional legal solutions.

Your legal career spans more than two decades, covering roles from independent advocate to in-house counsel, and now as a Managing Partner. How have you seen the legal landscape evolve, and what trends do you anticipate shaping the industry in the coming years?

As a keen observer of this dynamic and constantly changing landscape, I perceive a crucial need for legal professionals to adapt and embrace technological advancements, all while upholding the fundamental principles of integrity and ethics that define the legal profession. The ability to leverage the full potential of technology, while ensuring the preservation of justice and fairness, will play a pivotal role in successfully navigating the future of the legal industry.

Having said so, while automation and digitization can certainly improve efficiency, they cannot replace the critical thinking and analytical skills that lawyers bring to the table. The role of a lawyer goes beyond just providing legal advice; it involves understanding the nuances of the law, interpreting complex regulations, and advocating for clients.

Outside the legal world, do you have any hobbies or activities that provide a refreshing break and help you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Balancing a hectic legal career, I find solace and rejuvenation through various pursuits. Spending quality time with family forms the cornerstone of my life outside work, providing a sense of grounding and joy. 

Additionally, music is a constant companion, offering relaxation and a way to unwind. While I might not be an avid reader, diving into a book occasionally is a welcomed respite. My interest in current affairs, especially geopolitics, keeps me engaged and intellectually stimulated.

Moreover, my devotion to God plays a profound role, providing spiritual nourishment and a sense of purpose beyond the professional realm. These activities collectively contribute to my work-life balance, ensuring I am refreshed and motivated to tackle the demands of the corporate legal world.

We know about your legal bookmarks, but what’s a non-legal book or genre that you turn to for inspiration or relaxation?

While I’m not an avid reader, I do find occasional respite in non-legal books. Here are four books in that genre that I’ve found insightful:

1. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Mr.  Yuval Noah Harari

2. “The Bankster” by Mr. Ravi Subramanian

3. “The Intelligent Investor” by Mr. Benjamin Graham

4. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Mr. Robert T. Kiyosaki

Each book offers a distinctive perspective, from the broad canvas of human history to the intricate world of finance and personal wealth management, making them insightful and engaging reads beyond the legal sphere. 

If you could share one piece of unconventional legal advice that you wish someone had shared with you at the beginning of your career, what would it be, and what advice would you give to our coming generation or those who have just started their career? 

Reflecting on my journey, if there’s one cliché piece of advice I’d have cherished early on, it’s this: “Embrace setbacks as a staircase to success. Failures often pave the way for victories in the legal arena.”

For those starting out in the corporate legal field, it is crucial to go beyond the conventional routes. Explore the world of technology, enhance your communication skills, and truly understand the essence of the legal profession. Networking plays a vital role – cultivate meaningful connections as it is the timeless recipe for progress. 

Maintain a curious mindset, like an explorer venturing into uncharted territories. Remember, the corporate legal landscape is constantly evolving, so it is important to be adaptable and inquisitive. This mindset will open doors to unexpected opportunities and foster growth in this dynamic profession.

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