Pushkar Thakur is a managing partner at Corrida Legal. He has worked for Kochhar & Co, Emaar and was an AVP at Nomura. He has represented EMC (now Dell), International Air Transport Association, Lumata Digital, RaeBareilly Allahabad Highway Private Limited and over 50 international airline companies that include Lufthansa airlines, British Airways and United Airlines.

While establishing a law firm, you must know the gap you are bridging in the field.” _Pushkar Thakur

In an interview with LawSikho, Pushkar Thakur shares insights on how to establish a law firm

Tell us about your college days.

I’m a graduate of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, NUJS Kolkata. During my college days, I was mostly focusing on getting my internships right, and getting my grades right. Of course, college life is a mix of hits and misses for us. If I could roll back the hands of time, I would perhaps dabble with mooting. I was a sportsperson in my college so I used to represent my university in multiple sports, like basketball, football, and volleyball. 

You’ve worked for such big names like Nomura and Emaar. Did you always know that you’ll get into corporate law or is it something that you discovered on the way?

Corporate law/ litigation is not a choice that one should be making in college. As college students, you need to explore the world before you really choose your path. Today, the world is not of super specialization unless you are working for a really large firm. Corporate law is not something that I decided in college.

Once I started my career, I realized that litigation has some positive and negative sides to it and so does corporate law. And today as I stand, I’m dabbling more with corporate law than litigation and we are a full-service law firm with specialized litigation counsels in our team.

Tell us your top achievements so far?

Any work that we do as lawyers has to have synergies. Whilst I can say that the achievements are mine, there is a lot of help that has come from my seniors and others in the fraternity. When I was with Kochhar and Co, one of the top 10 law firms in India, I got a chance to argue matters before various courts very early in my career. I was arguing matters before the National Company Law Tribunal, Delhi High Court, National Green Tribunal, etc.

I was one of the youngest Assistant Vice Presidents at Nomura. The third achievement perhaps is starting this law firm which is an achievement in progress 

For the learners or young lawyers who want to get into emerging areas of practice of law, how important do you think internships are?

Internships should be started as early as possible for the simple reason that internships are a great way to understand the practical nuances of what lawyers actually face at law firms and as in-house counsels. Any new area of law or its application brings forward with it a lot of knowledge so if I’m advising, say, a blockchain entity or a crypto firm on setting up their operations or their compliances, I’m also somewhere getting aware of how a cryptocurrency system works, how a blockchain works and what are the modes, what are the requirements, how is a smart contract different from a general contract. 

Students should try to do internships in all areas, be it NGOs, be it at a district court, at the state consumer disputes level, at a top-tier law firm, at a second-tier law firm, and then understand what they are trying to do or what they want to build.

How can one get an internship at Corrida Legal?

We keep two interns every month. If you intern with Corrida, you are going to learn nuances of corporate laws, perhaps data privacy, labour, litigation, real estate, IP, etc.

My intention is to give them practical exposure to all the types of laws that are there, and make them understand how they can add value and bring better service to the clients. 

The procedure is fairly simple. They can just follow us on LinkedIn. We keep coming out with opportunities

What is it like to work at a law firm, and also what is your advice for students who aspire to one day establish their own law firms? 

For me, working at a law firm was a slightly different experience. I was supported by a partner who let me jump into any kind of pool that I wanted to. And I was also getting a chance to appear on cases, draft plaints, replies, rejoinders, written statements etc. And once he left, I was also lucky to be given matters independently by different partners.

How to establish a law firm, always depends on the artillery that you are bringing to the battlefield. Different sets of people with different backgrounds have different strong points. For instance, I was more of a generalist and I did a range of things.

Young students and young law graduates should focus on what are they best equipped with, and what are their areas of strength. 

Establishing a law firm is a capital-intensive process for the first two years, you have to spend 14 to 16 hours of your time working on the profession.

And as the old saying goes, you have to do $10,000 worth of job in $1,000 worth of billing. So all these things have to be kept in mind, and then the person should be taking that plunge. 

And the last thing that I will leave all the young students with is that you have to understand what gap you are bridging.

What are some of the most critical skills that lawyers must have? 

First of all, law is a profession, not a job. So that’s what we have to be most focused on. Your legal skills should not only come when you’re handling a case of the law. You need to have your analytical skills in place. Most of the time I have seen lawyers from top law firms giving legal jargon to businesses. That doesn’t suffice. Business wants solutions. You have to understand that. Always be curious. Always keep trying to learn new things. 

Even if you want to specialize, have an idea of all aspects of law, and always be curious.

Thirdly, your presentation is important, not only in the way you dress but also in the way you communicate.

Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skills.

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