Associates, In-House Counsels & Advocates

“Navigating Legal Landscapes Globally – A Journey of Learning, Leadership, and Legal Excellence” Her journey mirrors resilience, international acumen, and a commitment to legal education – Saloni Rai, Director – Legal & Compliance at Aurionpro Payments.

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

You’ve had an extensive career spanning over 14 years in the legal field. What inspired you to pursue a career in law, and how has your journey evolved from your early days to your current role as Director – Legal & compliance at Aurionpro?

A deep interest in Humanities since my school days and an unusual career choice are the two prime factors that inspired me to pursue law as a profession. For me, Law as a career was never a substitute, rather it was deeply ingrained in my mind as I find it extremely intellectually challenging. The journey, so far has been quite enriching and fulfilling coupled with highs and lows. There have been some noteworthy remarkable achievements – be it an association with National Payments of India (NPCI) during its inception, which is the Centre of India’s world-acclaimed digital revolution or an association with Micro land where my promptness to business requirements despite time zone difference was widely appreciated by both the external and internal stakeholders. Nonetheless, it is explicitly implied that my achievements so far have been an outcome of all the learnings and experiences that I gained in various organisations with diversified job profiles but with a common goal of business progression. The current role as Director – Legal & Compliance has ushered in a new leadership segment to my journey. The tenure to this point has been quite challenging and satisfying marked with freedom of decision-making and leading the organisation from legal standpoint.

What unique challenges or experiences in your various roles have had the most significant impact on your growth as a legal professional?

Law as a profession is known to be ever challenging irrespective of the years of experience gained. However, for me, one of the common unique challenging experiences across all the organisation has been in the form of adapting and doing deep-dive in understanding the organisation’s business so as to be positioned to provide suitable legal opinion and guidance without hindering the business growth. The opportunity to be associated with NPCI during its inception time, came with an ardent task of managing and setting up the Legal Department solely, which I navigated through every day learning and guidance from an external Legal Consultant from RBI. The journey is a milestone in my career graph as I am extremely proud to be associated with the roll out of some landmark products such as IMPS, RuPay Domestic Card, Aadhar which have made India standout in the financial world across the globe. This has been an extremely satisfying engagement which keeps me inspired in my current role as well.

Beyond your role as a legal professional, you’ve conducted legal awareness sessions and training. What motivated you to take on this role, and how do you believe legal education contributes to a more robust business environment?

Legal awareness and training sessions are equally important in one’s career as they give you a completely different perspective and outlook. It helps in broadening your learning horizon. This also entails first educating yourself from various journals and through deep research from the open domain. The conduct of training sessions gives an opportunity to interact with a variety of audience from various sectors and knowing their perspective and thought process. The questions and queries posed provides you ample in-depth knowledge and broaden your spectrum with solid foundation. The legal awareness and education are essential for robust and healthy business environment as we have seen so many businesses failing due to financial roadblocks and a lack of adherence to legal compliances. The current corporate world has realised the importance and this is visible in the form of a surge in the demand of seasoned legal professionals.

Having managed legal and compliance workflows across continents, how do you ensure that your approach aligns with diverse regulatory landscapes, especially in the APAC, AFRICA, and MIDDLE-EAST regions?

The legal and compliance workflows across continents and geos do require in-depth studies about various regulatory aspects of different countries and devising a solution in alignment with the same without hindering business growth. This also requires engagement with local legal team for any local conflict resolution for business to proceed further without much delay. Promptness and Collaboration are key in handling such diverse regulatory landscape.

As a legal leader, you’ve been involved in setting roadmaps and providing quick assistance to internal stakeholders. How do you balance legal rigor with the need for agile and efficient business operations?

Sound legal knowledge, strong work ethics and practical solutions to any problems have been my forte. I was fortunate to have been engaged in various diverse projects since the inception of my legal journey which has given me the adequate opportunity to play a key role in business decision-making. Besides, being part of the business team in various meetings and discussions has additionally helped me gain a better grasp of the business requirements.

Beyond the legal domain, are there specific activities or hobbies that you engage in to unwind from the demands of your role? How do you strike a balance between your professional and personal life?

I do engage myself in travelling around and exploring new places both in India as well as abroad. I also engage myself with music and reading especially new developments in the industry that I am associated with. I do value time and believe in balancing both my professional and personal commitments and growth.

Looking ahead, what’s a legal or compliance frontier you’re excited to explore or address in the coming years, and how do you see it shaping the industry?

Looking ahead, the legal or compliance frontier that I am excited to explore or address would be either in the Euro Zone or the U.S.A. to further upskill my international exposure.

Having worked with various organizations, you’ve likely encountered emerging legal professionals. If you were to advise the current generation of legal enthusiasts, what crucial skills or knowledge areas do you believe they should focus on to excel in today’s legal landscape?

My advice to the current generation of legal enthusiast would be to have a very strong foundation and knowledge about the core legal subject-matter, develop an agile approach rather than following a set pattern and be open to new learnings at every stage. Learning coupled with application makes a worthy lawyer.

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