“Legal compliance isn’t a burden—it’s an investment in your company’s stability and growth. Seeking professional advice is crucial for navigating complex legal landscapes.” – Gauri Saraswat, Independent counsel, Corporate & Criminal Lawyer | Contract Specialist.

This interview has been published by Namrata Singh and The SuperLawyer Team

 Your journey through law seems incredibly diverse and dynamic, spanning various roles and responsibilities. Can you walk us through your journey telling us what inspired you to do Law and what challenges you faced during your initial stage of your career?

Certainly! My journey through the legal field has indeed been diverse and dynamic, encompassing various roles and responsibilities. Let me share my story with you. My path in law was not meticulously planned; rather, I embraced opportunities as they presented themselves. I take pride in not adhering to conventional norms. Before venturing into independent practice, I accumulated a decade of experience, including working with different ministries of the Indian government and my days in litigation.

Law has fascinated me since my early childhood. Growing up in the traditional town of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, I pursued my B.A.LL.B from Aligarh Muslim University and later completed my LL.M from Dr. RMLNLU, Lucknow. The initial challenge for me was relocating from UP to New Delhi without a job offer in hand after completing my Masters in Law. Thankfully, my father and family supported my decision, and that’s where my journey truly began.

Remember, sometimes the most rewarding paths are the ones less travelled.

Thursdays with Gauri has become quite the sensation on LinkedIn. What inspired you to start this initiative, and what do you hope participants take away from these sessions? Also can you tell us about a particularly thought-provoking discussion or insight that emerged from one of these sessions?

Thursdays with Gauri was a random thought while having a casual discussion with one of my friend Hamid Ahmed but later became a decision when it actually pushed me to contribute towards the linkedin community to read something which needs to be known. “Thursdays with Gauri” isn’t just about content—it’s about building bridges, sparking conversations, Little did I know that this seemingly random thought would evolve into a meaningful initiative within the LinkedIn community. Honestly, I embarked on this journey with zero expectations, fuelled by the intention to play my part.

Broadly this LinkedIn post gave me two things: invitation to connect from students to influential people and appreciation in my DMs which again converted into my network. I think the purpose has already been served due to the algorithms of LinkedIn and I am grateful for that.

As a legal content creator, your articles and thought pieces have sparked conversations and challenged norms within the legal community. How do you see your writing contributing to broader discussions about justice, equity, and the rule of law?

As a legal content creator, I’ve witnessed the impact of my articles and thought pieces within the legal community. My posts resonate because they delve into practical aspects of law—topics I’ve encountered first-hand. Whether it’s corporate law intricacies, complex agreements, or advisory content for loan seekers, I aim to provide actionable insights.

Legal discourse often clings to tradition and precedent. However, my writing encourages critical thinking. I write about new norms and practices and advocating for progressive approaches. 

The rule of law is the bedrock of any just society. Whether discussing landmark cases or legal reforms, I strive to reinforce the rule of law as a safeguard against arbitrary power. In essence, my writing aims to bridge the gap between legal theory and practical application.

Your work spans across multiple sectors, including technology, fintech, and cybersecurity. What drew you to these specific areas of law, and what challenges have you encountered in navigating their complexities?

As a law enthusiast and corporate lawyer, my journey led me to explore specific areas of law that overlap with technology, fintech, and cybersecurity. I consider it my duty to stay informed about emerging legal issues related to technology, fintech, and cybersecurity. I realized that even a seemingly simple query from an individual could potentially transform them into a client.

When I started exploring international markets—both online and offline—I encountered challenges related to different legal processes and procedures. I realised that understanding the intricacies of US, UK, and European legal systems was essential. However, my journey took an enriching turn when I enrolled in courses offered by Lawsikho. Beyond study materials, what truly stood out was their personalized approach—their handholding support. It instilled confidence and efficiency in me. In essence, my work in these specialized areas isn’t just about legal technicalities; it’s about empowering clients.

Looking back on your career journey thus far, what advice would you give to aspiring lawyers, particularly those interested in pursuing a similarly diverse and multifaceted path in the legal field?

Reflecting on my career journey, in one sentence my advice would be “Don’t just believe what others say”. With all due respect and humility, the traditional ways are supreme but when time and technology change, so do the challenges in law and the complexities. In the present time when the Data protection bill has been passed and AI law is on the agenda of the government, you think the limited knowledge can help you stand out of the box and earn exponentially. Give it a thought. Stay informed about emerging laws (such as the Data Protection Bill) and understand their implications. According to me, Adaptability is the key.

Legal education doesn’t end with a degree. It starts from there. Learn to serve in addition to earning out of it.

 Your career has seen you transition across various roles and sectors within the legal field, from corporate law to criminal litigation, and from law firms to government agencies. What motivated these transitions, and how have they contributed to your professional growth and expertise? And what valuable lessons have you learned from the unique challenges and experiences encountered in each position?

You are right, My career has indeed spanned diverse areas of law, including competition law, electricity and insolvency matters, NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies), and even criminal law. Indeed, it was my friend Syed Jafri who first introduced me to the realm of investment banking and encouraged me to consider it as a viable avenue to apply my legal expertise. Interestingly, I’ve never worked in a traditional law firm. Instead, my father, being an advocate, was my informal mentor. Our dining table discussions often revolved around legal concepts, both civil and criminal.

My motivation has always been a “go-getter” attitude. When opportunities arose, I seized them without hesitation. Each transition allowed me to explore new facets of law, broaden my perspective, and contribute meaningfully. My journey so far has given me friends for a lifetime and seniors like Mr. Debajyoti Ray Chaudhuri, who in himself is an inspiration for many.

To my understanding, Legal issues don’t exist in isolation. It also needs an understanding of business, technology, and other inter-related legal issues. In essence, my journey so far isn’t just about legal roles; it’s about lifelong learning as well as meaningful connections.

You’ve been involved in drafting a wide range of agreements, from Co-founder Agreements to Software Development Agreements. Could you share a special technique or approach that you believe contributes to excellent drafting? Additionally, what do you think sets your drafting style apart and makes it particularly effective in ensuring clarity, fairness, and legal compliance?

Certainly! Drafting legal agreements is both an art and a science. I have inculcated a special technique I’ve found effective is that before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), I pause to understand the purpose behind the agreement. Why is this agreement necessary? What are the parties trying to achieve out of it? What risks need mitigation? By clarifying the purpose, I ensure that the agreement aligns with the client’s goals.

I always get on a call with the client to discuss their context, concerns, and objectives. This dialogue helps me tailor the agreement to their specific needs. Because it happens that the client being the non-legal person confused the franchise agreement with the service level agreements. They deserve such clarity by me as their lawyer.

In your experience advocating for clients before the Supreme Court of India, what strategies do you employ to ensure that their interests are effectively represented and understood by the judiciary?

Considering my little experience, one thing I have learnt about the Supreme Court litigation is that “it’s all about a team work” because an effective representation requires a collaborative approach. And I am grateful to Mr. Aditya Manubarwala for giving me an opportunity to work with him and his team on a couple of cases before the Apex Court. Before advising a client, extensive research is essential. We have to delve into legal precedents, statutes, and relevant case law to understand the nuances of the client’s situation which further allows us to provide informed recommendations to the client.

Case briefs, arguments, and submissions are the part and parcel in every case, especially when you get a very limited window to mark your appearances with your best arguments before the judges of the Supreme Court of India. To decide which point to be picked for arguments in order to provide relief to the client is the matter of utmost importance. Hence, Supreme Court advocacy is a blend of legal acumen, teamwork, and strategic thinking.

As an authorized representative for a European company, you extend legal representation services in Estonia and Finland. How do you navigate the nuances of international law and cultural differences to effectively advocate for your clients’ interests in diverse legal environments?

In my professional journey I have had the opportunity to represent my client who was from Estonia. That particular case involving a Gurgaon-based individual and an Estonian lady was unique in the sense that the absence of a formal agreement and the cross-border nature of the transaction posed challenges. I engaged in detailed discussions with the Estonian client to grasp the entire situation and her specific needs. Understanding the nuances of each jurisdiction was crucial. Estonia’s civil law system differs from India’s common law system. However, as an authorized representative, I initiated legal action against the individual.

 Beyond your legal career, what are some of your personal hobbies or interests that you find enriching or rejuvenating?

Beyond my legal career, I find immense enrichment and rejuvenation in delving into religious texts. These non-fictional scriptures offer profound insights and guide me toward understanding the true purpose of my life. During my teenage years, I immersed myself in fundamental religious literature, often drawn to the extensive collection housed within my father’s library, where the titles of numerous books piqued my curiosity and prompted further exploration. I firmly believe that to read and to know are different concepts. Now, I’m drawn to delve into more advanced texts. These delve into unique teachings and mystical experiences. The pursuit of knowledge is both humbling and exhilarating. The insights I have gained from these scriptures shape my world view and influence my actions.

As someone deeply involved in consulting and advisory roles, what advice would you give to startups or established companies navigating complex legal landscapes for the first time?

legal compliance isn’t a burden—it’s an investment in your company’s stability and growth” is  precisely what I want to convey to all sincere start-ups. It is apparent that navigating the complex legal landscape can be daunting, especially for startups and established companies venturing into unfamiliar territory. Therefore, seeking professional advice from a seasoned lawyer who understands the nuances of your specific industry and jurisdiction is a must.

Diligence in selecting legal advisors pays off. Look for lawyers who specialize in your field—whether it’s technology, finance, or any other domain. They should avoid generic templates. Each business is unique. One has to customize the legal agreements, contracts, and policies in accordance to your specific needs. Also don’t forget to Maintain open channels of communication with your legal team. Transparency ensures that legal strategies align with your overall business strategy. Share your business goals, challenges, and concerns and let the lawyer find you a way.

I would like to request the given start-ups or companies to rely on someone who is experienced and in the market already. Be diligent in choosing your lawyers and try to keep pace with them. 

Get in touch with Gauri Saraswat–

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