Anil starts his day with gratitude, giving thanks for everything that he has. “No matter what happens, be it good or bad, it’s important to thank the universe for all I have. What matters is the present, and for us to stop dwelling on the past or the future.”
In a work environment of high intensity and stress, it is rare to meet people like Anil, who is mindful of his emotional well-being and aware of his state of mind. Anil is a civil litigator and corporate advisor who deals with matters concerning company, commercial contracts, loans and employment. Drawing from his prior experience when he was working in-house, Anil had a better foundation and knowledge of corporate law and business-related concerns than what most lawyers had. In addition to his law degree, Anil also has a BSc in Management (Finance and International Trade), which aids him in his practice focus towards corporations and companies. He calls himself a business lawyer who looks after the legal risks in businesses, such as for Mergers and Acquisitions, shareholder disputes, or for corporate agreements.
When asked the age-old question every lawyer is asked at some point in their careers – why law? – Anil says, “Strangely, I just knew.” He put his interest in business down to his family and heritage. “It’s in my blood. I come from a family of business people who have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit.” Numbers excite him as well, which explains his interest in finance. He developed an interest in finance and international trade during his schooling years. But all along, he knew deep down that he wanted to do law.
Although his journey to study law had many complications, with certain regulations hindering his process, his excitement and joy in law school cannot be discounted. Anil studied at the University of Nottingham, where he met schoolmates of vastly different cultures – British, Scottish, Greek, Middle Eastern and Africans – you name it. In his line of corporate law, it is not uncommon to meet clients of different backgrounds either, so having an understanding of the various ways that different people go about doing things definitely adds value to his practice. “When I went to Switzerland for a holiday, I was warmed to find that they were very cordial people. They were also particular about how things were set up, about coming on time and all that. In contrast to that, Asians tend to be a bit more easy going about these matters.” He cites another example about roommates from Cyprus, Greece, whom he lived with when he was studying in England. “They were so loving, and offered you everything even if they did not know you well enough!” he said.
Nevertheless, the study and practice of law are really two different things altogether, and one really needs to work towards having a grip of things in practice. Anil calls himself a justice-driven lawyer. “I work for justice, and it is justice that makes the job fulfilling. When the job goes on beyond the realm of working for justice, that is when I start feeling the effects of bureaucracy and inefficiency. Then, I can’t help but feel that the system should be more efficient. But all in all, what I do is something that I love, which is why I’m thankful to start each day.”
Another thing that Anil is thankful for is none other than the firm and the people it is made up of. For instance, he mentions his secretaries Winnie and Rekha, who has been there with him from the start. “Our motto is: Love is the fabric of the firm. The one thread that binds everyone is the notion that I exist because we exist.”
In the firm, Anil wears different hats. He takes on the role of a litigator when he presents his client’s case in court. His role is that of a skilful negotiator when he represents his client at mediations. Then, when he takes off his jacket he sits down as a business advisor. “In that role, I talk to my client and evaluate if this course of action is truly the right one that can fulfil my client’s interests. When my client is telling me about certain troubles he is facing, or entrusting me with certain facts, I then become my client’s confidante. But no matter which hat I put on, my guiding principles are the same.”
One of the hats Anil wears that strikes me the most is the role of a “father” of DL Law Corporation. Anil shares that they are incorporating an encouraging environment of acceptance and growth, where it is accepted that mistakes may be made. But more importantly, that employees feel encouraged and supported to grow from mistakes and therefore improve.
As Anil faces me opposite a desk in a room, soon to be converted into a new meeting room, he shares his thoughts on intensifying office spaces, which is all the more pertinent in today’s climate where working from home is more or less a normalised phenomenon. The increasingly blurred lines between work and rest prove a deterrent for having a flexible workspace. Anil is all for optimising business spaces, and capitalising on working from home. He hopes for lawyers in his firm to be able to work anywhere, and to be able to provide that kind of infrastructure to make this a reality.
“I think this is the era for law firms to have a Chief Technology Officer, or a Technology Support Team because we are now inundated with data.” In addition to that, it is also the era for increased productivity and efficiency, and what better method to achieve that than through technology? “For example, templatization is one way to minimise human error.” But again, that begs the need to balance creativity with efficiency. These areas of contention are what makes Anil intrigued by technology.
Currently, what has caught Anil’s attention is Elon Musk, SpaceX and space travel. Apart from space, one of his hobbies includes reading as well. He sagely shares with me a pearl of wisdom from a book he had read. “Our brain automatically triggers a fight or flight response. But there is a third response – to do nothing. To not react allows for time to think, and to reflect.” From space to finance to meditation, it is clear that Anil is on a constant quest to better himself.
And when I ask Anil how he wants to be remembered, he pauses for a moment before answering. “I want people to remember that I helped them.”
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to a practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.