“The most important thing is we should not treat clients as a single point solution for all our financial needs, we should explain to them exactly what we are going to do and the win or lose situation”- Advocate Porkodi Karnan, Founder of Polax Legal Solutions

This Interview has been published by Pragya Chandni and The SuperLawyer Team

Can you share the journey that led you to pursue a career in law, especially considering your background and childhood ambition?

I am from a backward district of Tamilnadu and I am one among the four daughters of my parents. Everyone opted for various professions, but interestingly, this profession attracted me more, even in my young days.  The reason might be that the Sub Court campus at my native is existing near to my school.  I was going to school everyday by watching the court campus, with the busy advocates roaming here and there with robes.  I was very eager to know more about it and lots of questions came into my mind and the same were clarified by my father who was a teacher by profession and the entire outcome was that this is the only profession where I could question anybody, however giant he or she might be. Further I found this profession makes one closer with human problems. I am fond of moving with people and would like to be surrounded with people always. The litigation area turned out to be a good option for me. This is the main curiosity that pushed me to choose this profession as my childhood ambition approximately from my 6th standard onwards.

With 25 years of experience in law, what inspired you to specialize in labor, service, and writ matters, particularly in the high court setting?

Yes… after choosing law as my career, I did not have any clear idea initially. But while studying the Constitutional Law and Administrative law as subjects, my mind was very much obsessed with various decisions of the Supreme Court and High Courts questioning the excessive actions or inactions of the Government and that had driven me to concentrate my work in the High Court.

Founding a law firm, especially one like POLAX LEGAL SOLUTIONS, requires vision and determination. What motivated you to take that step, and what challenges did you face in establishing and maintaining it?

Being a woman, I had to balance both family life and profession, though my family is a supportive system for me. Sometimes our presence is very much needed at home to take care of our elders, kids etc. My husband, Mr.Ramar is also an advocate on the criminal side but I wanted to establish a separate office, though he is very supportive to me in personal life and professional life. I felt the necessity of someone to continue my cases even in my absence to justify my Clients.  The same was felt by my friend, Mrs.Lakshmi. We both used to help each other in all our cases from drafting to arguing. This went well and we both realised our compatibility and thus the concept of a Law Firm was coined.  The Firm was conceptualised into reality in the year 2013. We both had the determination to continue the profession without any break and that was the main reason for the concept of this Law Firm.  It is also time to show our young woman advocates that persuasion and patience in the profession would make you withstand forever. We have to create our own path to success. Moreover, since it was my childhood ambition to become an advocate, I have never felt any stress or depression in my professional life. As we face different cases, dealing with each case needs to be addressed individually and so I feel refreshed in each and every case. In fact I enjoy working and I don’t see any difficulty in family life and professional life. So go by what your heart says and life is so beautiful.  

As a founder-partner of a leading law firm, what are some key lessons you’ve learned about leadership and collaboration, especially in an industry that traditionally has been male-dominated?

In fact, we don’t feel any difficulty in running the firm as all the junior advocates associated with us were more co-operative, helpful and played a vital role in running our Firm. Legal profession is basically a 24 x 7 job and all of us were ready to work even at midnight, if it is necessitated by considering the urgency of the case. In fact, we created an atmosphere of joining together, working together, growing together and celebrating together. It enhanced our personal relationship also. 

Being recognized as the only law firm with women advocates as partners running for 10 years is a significant achievement. Can you tell us about the importance of gender diversity and inclusivity in the legal profession from your perspective?

Of course, it is a male dominated profession. When I entered into this profession during 2000, the daily cause list consisting of the list of cases published in Madras High Court consisted of 95% of male advocates names. And there were only a handful of women judges at that time, though there were well performing women seniors were found at Madras High Court. But going by the years, this trend has now changed.  In fact, I had not considered any of my co advocates, either male or female, as my competitor. I felt myself as the competitor and hence I never felt that I am running in a race along with male.  But, the way male advocates and even male judges look at the woman advocates is absolutely discriminatory. I can put an incident, one Mr.X, who is a sitting judge now, when he was an advocate made a comment to me that “a woman from a good family will not come for this profession”. This did not resist me or my character, but it made me change my perspective towards him.  One more incident to be pointed out, one of the senior advocates, who claims to be a progressive thinker,  threw a question that “from where and how do you get briefs?”. I don’t think that he could have put this question to any of the male advocates ever.

-as in all the fields, there need not be any discrimination between male advocate or woman advocate,  and it should be termed only as “ADVOCATE”. An advocate is an advocate and where does the question of woman advocate or male advocate arise? We both are doing the same work with the same effort and determination. Even today, the Judges used to identify by saying “woman advocate”. We don’t want to be identified and we are advocates as such. 

You’ve had the opportunity to work with esteemed companies as clients. Could you share some insights into maintaining successful client relationships and handling high-profile cases effectively?

The issues of the clients should be given much more importance from the time of discussion with them till explaining the outcome of the cases. It is also needless to say that we have to let them explain the exact disputes or issues they are facing. Then only we can advise them of the legal solutions and we should not blindly follow their words without substantiating documents. The right legal advice given by you will make the Clients have confidence with you, sometimes, the advice could be not to initiate any legal proceedings. The most important thing is we should not treat them as a single point solution for all our financial needs, we should explain to them exactly what we are going to do and the win or lose situation. To be precise, proper legal advice, and  transparency are the key to retain your clientele. 

Considering your extensive experience, what advice would you give to fresh graduates aspiring to pursue a career in law, particularly those interested in practicing in high courts?

If litigation is your option, then  be ready to undergo proper training under the guidance of a senior; Be ready to work for 24 x 7; Be ready to do all the work in office, either it is drafting, research work or clerical work; get updated with latest decisions in important cases of your area of practice; spend more time in reading either case papers or the decisions related to cases; Knowledge is power in litigation so get equipped; consider each and every work as an opportunity as each and every single work done during this period would be an experience for you.  

Get in touch with Porkodi Karnan-

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