Entrepreneur & Alternative careerists

Raghu Ram, Founder and CEO, Law Abode LPO, on his startup, and the challenges of starting your own venture

Raghu Ram completed his graduation from Jagarlamudi Chandramouli College of Law, Guntur in 2005. He then went on to purse his MBA from University of Central Queensland (Australia).  He is the CEO and founder of Law Abode LPO. He has more than thirteen years of experience in business development and legal operations management. Prior to this he has worked at Acumen LPO and Pegasys LPO.

In this interview he talks about:

  • Legal skills required to work in LPO;
  • About his startup Law Abode LPO;
  • Challenges of starting your own venture.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO OUR READERS?

I would like to introduce myself as Founder & CEO of Law Abode LPO, a boutique legal outsourcing firm catering legal and technical services to American and Canadian Attorneys. Over the past six years I have been running the firm. At the age of 29 I started Law Abode LPO. Prior to this I worked with two startups as a legal and business consultant. I am self-motivated guy who believes in hard work. I got my B.A. LL.B from Jagarlamudi Chandramouli College of Law, Guntur in the year 2005 and M.B.A from Central Queensland University, Australia in the year 2007. I take care of business development and legal operations of the firm.

 

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR COLLEGE LIFE?

My college days are unforgettable. Those days are the happiest days of my life. In college, I met two important persons of my life. I have learned a lot from my principal (Dr. Sudhakara Babu). He is my guide and mentor even today. He is my backbone and like my father. Another person is my wife (Jaya Lakshmi), now she is working as Judge in AP Judiciary. I was very proactive student in the college with good academics. Not only academics, I participated in cultural, sports and all other activities held in college. I was the college topper and secured awards for meritorious performance in university exam. I gave paper presentation at national level symposiums and was a regular participant in college debates and moot courts. I believe college life has a great impact on me in shaping my career.

 

YOU PURSUED MBA FROM UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL QUEENSLAND AFTER LLB. WHY THE DECISION TO PURSUE MBA AFTER LLB?

The main reason to pursue MBA after LLB is to get different combination. In early 2000 I heard about LPO and outsourcing concepts. There were debates about foreign law firms entering to India. That time I thought in this changing global scenario Law and Management combination will definitely give me good career. A law and MBA degree helps professionals build expertise in either field, for example, marketing in management, or litigation in law. But in a rapidly globalising economy, a combination could take one’s career much further. And, given the demand for a combination of law and MBA qualifications, this dual combination helped me lot to start my own firm, because I have knowledge in legal services and I know how to market these services.

 

WHAT IS THE WORK PROFILE OF A LEGAL CONSULTANT AT AN LPO?

My first work profile was of  legal and business consultant; I was part of both business development and legal operations. Work profile for the legal consultant depends upon the LPO firm. Some of the LPOs offer only contract management services and some of them offer personal injury services. Now most of the big LPO firms primer service is contract management and document review. Normal job of legal consultant would be doing the legal research, preparing legal memos, contract drafting, contract review, its mostly attorney supporting work.

 

COULD YOU EXPLAIN TO OUR YOUNG READERS WHAT IS AN LPO AND WHAT ARE THE TASKS UNDERTAKEN BY IT?

Legal process outsourcing (LPO) is new concept. Its part of KPO (Knowledge process outsourcing). Most of them think it’s also something like BPO. But it’s absolutely wrong. In BPO person’s qualifications and subject knowledge is not much required. But in LPO it is different. If anyone wants to work in LPO, they should have law degree for most of the work. Basically in LPO firms, most of the work would be legal support services, legal research, legal drafting, contract drafting, contract review, personal injury claim matters, e-discovery, preparing bankruptcy chapters, intellectual property matters. These are the main tasks LPOs are taking right now.

 

WE HAVE HEARD THE LPO WORK GETS REPETITIVE AND THERE IS LIMITED GROWTH IN THE SAME? IS IT TRUE OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO DISPEL THIS WIDESPREAD OPINION ABOUT THIS CAREER CHOICE?

Yes, LPO work gets repetitive. Because you are working with attorneys, they have every day paper work. As long as they are in regular practice we will receive work. It’s the beauty of the industry; I have close to ten years of work association with some of my clients. It’s all about trust building with your quality work. Once you are accustomed to their way of work, it is really happy to work with. I am completely disagreeing with your opinion about career growth, there is huge scope of career growth, with in span of 10 years one can reach to good position in LPO sector. We will have lot of exposure about international market and foreign legal issues. In terms of salary wise also LPOs are giving good packages.

 

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR OWN VENTURE? WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES INVOLVED?

I started my own firm when I was 29. After four years of real time experience and witnessing a few key moments of work culture led me to start my own firm. Since my wife is into judicial services, she use to have a transfer in every three years. This is also one of the reasons to start my own venture. Now I have comfort to work from any place and I can make the decisions on my own. There are challenges involved running LPO firm. The biggest challenge is convincing the client and getting work from them. It’s really a herculean task. We can convenience the attorney only with quality of work. If you research is less than perfect, its no use. Timely delivery of the projects and resource availability are major concern. Firms like us, we are working in tier two cities, and availability of resources is less as compare to metros. W get good resources in metro cities but it’s difficult to get in small places.

 

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL SKILLS REQUIRED TO BE WORKING IN AN LPO?

LPO is perceived as an alternative career option for lawyers. LPO provides an attractive alternative to legal professionals, offering them higher salaries, work-life balance and better working conditions. Working with foreign attorneys always a tough call. We need to adapt to their way of working and usage of technology. Lawyers who want to work in LPO need have good command over the english language and legal analytical skills. Lawyers are required to be well versed with the legal procedural differences including expertise in online legal databases.

 

DOES LAW ABODE LPO OFFER INTERNSHIPS TO LAW STUDENTS? HOW CAN A LAW STUDENT APPLY FOR THE SAME?

Yes, we offer internships to selected students. Students can send their information to email: info@lawabodelpo.com

 

WHAT SKILLS AND QUALITIES WOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN ANY LAWYER BEFORE OFFERING HIM A JOB WITH YOUR LPO?

I strongly believe that there is no substitute for hard work. Working in legal profession whether its regular legal practice, working in corporate legal department or working in LPO, lawyers need have lot of patience. They should be ready to work long hours. The skill-set we see in resources is mainly their communication, use of online tools, understanding about legal issues, research skills and their academics.

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR WORD OF ADVICE TO YOUNG LAWYERS AND LAW STUDENTS?

I personally believe, working in legal profession is always challenging. Every day is new task. Particularly for law students, they have lot of career opportunities like judicial services, corporate legal departments, traditional court practice and working LPO sector. It better to have clear goal in which they want to go. Basing on that they have to upgrade required skill set. It’s always better to participate in moot courts and debates to enhance their speaking skills. In changing global scenario they have to observe latest trends in legal market. Use of online tools and technology always has an advantage to do the things faster.

 

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