“To excel in the legal profession, one must be very sincere, have patience and work diligently with dedication”- P S Suman, Managing Partner, PSS Legal Advisors LLP

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

Can you share your journey into the field of law with us? 

My Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Corporate Secretaryship got me interested in Corporate Law. Thereafter, I finished the Company Secretaryship course as well as a Degree in Law. I enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu. I had the spectacular opportunity to work under Senior Advocate Mr. R. Murari whose mentoring gave me a great start. 

Three years later, I finished my Chartered Governance programme at the Chartered Governance Institute (UK and Ireland). 

A solid foundation in corporate and commercial law is very essential to becoming a successful corporate lawyer. Fortunately, the academic and professional courses I pursued gave me this much-needed in-depth understanding which enables me to handle corporate cases effectively. The journey of my 20+ years in legal practice has been very exciting throughout.

With your background in corporate secretaryship and law, what drew you to specialize in mergers and acquisitions? 

I was very passionate about Mergers and Acquisitions right from the beginning of my practice. It is my constant endeavour to know as much as possible about this topic to facilitate providing extensive in-depth services to our clients. It is this interest that led me to complete a program on ‘Value Creation through Mergers and Acquisitions’ from the Indian School of Business (ISB, Hyderabad). At our Firm, we handle various M&A transactions and we enjoy facilitating each of the aspects involved for our clients. Presently, there is constant activity in the M&A space and it’s a very exciting area of practice for our Firm. 

You co-authored a book on ‘Supreme Court on Insolvency and Bankruptcy’. What inspired you to delve into this topic, and what key insights did you gain from the process?

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code brought about very interesting changes and the law has seen substantial and rapid developments. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has been settling this law on various aspects. I proposed to author a book on this topic and the team at LexisNexis was very supportive. The process of authoring this book gave me a deeper sense of understanding various aspects of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

As the Managing Partner of PSS Legal Advisors LLP, could you elaborate on the range of services your firm provides in corporate matters? 

‘PSS Legal Advisors LLP’ is a boutique corporate law firm. The Firm’s Advisory Practice deals with a wide variety of matters including all matters relating to foreign exchange law. The Firm’s Transaction Practice deals with a variety of M&A and contract-related matters. In our Litigation Practice, we provide comprehensive end-to-end support on all aspects of Corporate, Civil and Commercial Law and represent our clients before all Courts including the Supreme Court, High Courts and various Tribunals such as NCLT, NCLAT, DRT, DRAT, Enforcement Directorate etc., The Firm also has an active alternate dispute resolution practice on Mediations and Arbitrations. We also have a successful real estate legal practice.

Being a co-founder of Beej Network, how do you balance your legal expertise with your involvement in angel investments and startup support? 

I am a mentor by nature and I always look forward to making a difference to people around me. It is because of my knowledge domain and mentoring activities that I was made a Co-founder at Beej Network, which is an angel investing network.

The founders of startups need to focus on their business and hence they require immense legal and other professional support at all stages. It is my endeavour to understand the business of a startup and their business plan, the vision of the promoters, their pain points etc., from a legal standpoint and guide them suitably to enable them to focus effectively on developing their business without facing non-compliance. 

As a corporate lawyer, I am fortunate to have assisted clients at different stages of their life cycle over the years and it is this experience that empowers me to mentor the start-ups and its promoters.

Could you share some highlights from your involvement with the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry? 

I am fortunate to have about 15+ years of long association working closely with Japanese companies on their requirements in India. A few years ago I was appointed as a Member of the Governing Council, which is the core governing body of the ‘Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’ (IJCCI). The IJCCI has been focussing exclusively on Indian and Japanese trade and cultural activities for over 32 years.

At the IJCCI we endeavour to connect enquiries from Japan to Indian businesses and vice-versa. We have organised several delegations from India to Japan to give Indian businesses both prospects and exposure to doing business in Japan. I front-ended an economic survey on ‘Indian Industry expectations from Japanese Companies in TamilNadu’. This report is widely circulated in key offices in Japan with an intent to effectively integrate investments from Japan into India. 

Our Law Firm supports IJCCI by hosting knowledge-sharing programs. 

Your efforts in attracting foreign investments into India are commendable. What strategies have you found most effective in fostering these international collaborations, particularly with organizations like the United Nations Industrial Development Organization?

We have arranged programmes for Japan on investing in India with the help of the IJCCI and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, ITPO Tokyo. I have been fortunate to travel to Japan extensively on several occasions during which I learnt more about their culture, business practices, expectations on investing in India and other important aspects.

In our practice and otherwise, we receive enquiries from Japan and other countries. Japanese Investors expect complete clarity on all aspects and it is only thereafter that they execute their decision to invest in India. Of course, the simplicity of setting up and operating in India is the key to attracting foreign investments. 

Generally, the main focus is on attracting foreign investments into India. However, what we need is to continue to support such foreign investors even post their investments in India by addressing their pain points on priority. The endeavour of the Government must be to turn foreign investors into extremely happy customers which in turn will get such foreign investors to spread the word about and highly recommend their countrymen on investing in India.

I have dedicated a lot of time and effort to advancing Japanese investments in India and I look forward to continuing to assist many more foreign businesses with their requirements in India.

How do you ensure your team stays ahead in such a dynamic field?

This process is the most challenging and yet very interesting. We start each word day with an individual-centric session focussed on their personal development with a brief meditation, mentoring and affirmations. Our teams are aligned to the Firm’s vision. Each member is focused on doing meaningful work every day and on every assignment. The team embraces challenging work willingly and this helps them grow professionally. 

I have addressed sessions at various institutions on succeeding in the profession, fast-tracking careers and other aspects and I endeavour to enable this for the team at the firm as well.

What is your approach at the Firm to protect the interest of your clients?

At the Firm we operate on the principle of ‘Prevention is better than the Cure’. Every commercial action has multiple legal implications and we endeavour to provide clarity to our clients on such implications and also take the necessary steps to protect their interests. Litigation or prosecution leads to complex situations involving huge costs resulting in a financial depletion in a company, diversion of human resources and stressful situations. We proactively address issues with our clients early on by working with them continuously and this enables us to take care of the client’s interest as and when a requirement arises thereby reducing the possibilities of litigation or prosecution.

Based on your extensive experience, what advice would you offer to fresh graduates aspiring to pursue a career in law, especially in the realm of corporate law and entrepreneurship?

To excel in the legal profession, one must be very sincere, have patience and work diligently with dedication. The long hours at work must be seen as a pleasure and must be embraced willingly. Fresh graduates must understand all aspects of the profession in detail and happily align with such requirements. They must also have a clear goal in mind and proceed with a long-term approach and it is necessary to stay on track throughout consistently. Horizontal exposure to a variety of laws is vital, but it is also critical to develop core competencies in a select few areas so that, over time, one can establish oneself as an authority in at least a few selected fields. Interest in and investing in continuous education in chosen areas is critical. 

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