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How to become a Partner in a law firm – know from the partners themselves

Any young lawyer or even a law student wanting to work in law firms aims to be a Partner someday. 

Most law firms are organized as partnerships, so traditionally, when a lawyer “makes partner,” that’s the time when he or she transitions from being an employee of the firm (and being paid a salary) to becoming a part-owner of the firm, and sharing in the firm’s profits (and liabilities).

It is a slow and steady growth but worth every hour and penny spent to become one. 

Becoming a partner doesn’t only mean helping clients with their legal problems, it is so much more. As a partner you not only have to retain clients, acquire new ones, manage finance and HR and also look into IT issues when required. 

It exposes you to the management skills like no other business school can teach you and gives you immense respect and power to conduct business with top company officials and at times government too. 

If you aspire to become a partner of a law firm some day, knowing corporate and business law can immensely help you.  Siz 

Here is the list of five partners of some of the leading and mid-size law firms in India and abroad. Their practice in the area of corporate and business law has paved the way for them to become partners at big law firms. 

1. Partner at a leading law firm in India

Raj Panchmatia is a partner in the Dispute Resolution Practice group in the Mumbai office of Khaitan & Co. 

Panchmatia has worked on a number of corporate and commercial litigation matters for various private equity investors, multinational and industrial houses of the country, including prominent infrastructure, real estate, automobile, defence, hospitality, public sector undertakings and ship building companies. Raj has also represented the Government of India on various dispute resolution matters.

As a first generation lawyer, he entered the field of corporate law in 2000 when law could be found only in books and not on Google.  

He says he started his journey with a paltry sum of stipend and long hours of work. He worked with mid to large size organisations before becoming an Associate Partner at Khaitan & Co. twelve years after he graduated.  

2. Journey from an Associate to a Partner

Souvik Paul Mazumdar is a Partner at ALMT Legal which has about 70 lawyers and 20 partners spread across Mumbai and Bengaluru.

He joined ALMT Legal right after college as an Associate in 2005 and gradually moved his way up to become the partner at the law firm. 

Mazumdar’s kitty of experience includes M&A, capital markets, employment law, sports law, entertainment and media law, private equity, labour law etc

When asked about his advice to fresh law graduates he stated: 

“Be yourself and the world will accept you, but yes, you have to be focused, develop new interests, be dedicated and diligent, and control your arrogance”

3. Taking the corporate law interests abroad

Faizal Latheef graduated law in 1998 from Kerala and was a partner at Kochhar & Co, Dubai office until recently. 

As a first generation lawyer, he has professional experience of 20 years in corporate and commercial laws and in the Middle East for over a decade, with leading firms including the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie. 

He is currently practicing in foreign investments, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring and compliance, in particular anti-corruption.

He started his journey in civil and commercial litigation before the Kerala High Court. He worked for close to 14 years without any financial return, that is when he decided to move to Dubai and started working in a local law firm there.

In Dubai he worked in a local law firm for four years before moving into an international law firm as a Senior Associate. When the only Indian law firm,  Kochhar & Co., got a license to practice local law in the UAE they joined hands with Latheef making him the partner of the Dubai branch.

He is currently a Legal Director at AbbVie Biopharmaceuticals where he manages the company’s operations in around 35 countries. 

4. Youngest partner at law firm to forming her own law firm

Akanksha Rajpurohit is a 2012 law graduate who moved her way up from being an Associate to becoming the youngest partner at The Legist. 

After working as a partner for two years at The Legist, she moved on to form her own law firm. 

She specialises in IPR and business laws and says her secret to rise up the ladder was by having dreams for the office which she made her own. 

She helped establish ‘The Legist Foundation’ to spread legal awareness among the public at large by conducting conferences, seminars, workshops etc.

5. A senior partner with a feather of MBA in her hat

Shweta Bharti is a Senior Partner at Hammurabi & Solomon Partners (HSP), a leading Law Firm in India which has six offices in India, clients in over 43 countries and more than 100 attorneys working for them. 

She has close to 20 years of experience specializing in Dispute Resolution (Arbitration & Mediation) & Litigation in corporate commercial matters, insolvency, Bankruptcy and Restructuring and have led some pathbreaking cases, including on ‘Reverse Insolvency’, in this arena.

She says that a partner in a law firm has to wear several hats and having a management background helps managing all big law firms.

Her success mantra is – “A learner of law with an insatiable hunger to learn and excel and give my heart, soul and energy to all the matters that are being dealt with by our firm. Being a first generation lawyer and having been thrown into an ocean of opportunities, I have learnt to swim against the tide and have thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far.” 

If you liked these interviews and are wondering how to start your journey in the field of corporate and business laws then join us for a 3-day FREE bootcamp  on  How to kickstart your career as a corporate lawyer from 12-14 June 2021, 6-9pm Indian Standard Time. 

REGISTER NOW

You don’t have to be from NLU or be good at maths and commerce to excel in this field. 

You don’t have to move to a city like Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore to make a successful career in the corporate law area. 

It doesn’t matter if you have been practicing in a different area of law until now, you can still switch to corporate law and leave a mark. 

What will you learn at the bootcamp: 

  • What are the benefits of learning business laws today for lawyers and law students?
  • Why do 90% of lawyers fail to get jobs in big corporate law firms? 
  • What skills must a lawyer possess which will help them get jobs in big companies in in-house counsel roles? 
  • How much can I earn as a corporate lawyer? Is it possible to work on a part-time basis?  
  • How can litigators secure commercial litigation work?
  • What skills do lawyers need to start their own independent legal practice? 
  • How can you get your first five corporate clients? 
  • I am a criminal lawyer- how should I switch to corporate law practice? Should I also work on corporate matters and how should I do it? 
  • I don’t live in a big city like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore- is it possible to build a successful corporate law practice? 
  • What skills should I learn to build a career as a corporate lawyer?
  • How to perform freelance remote work for international clients and live anywhere in the world and earn more than tier-1 law firm lawyers? 
  • Do I need to be good in commerce, finance, accounts to understand corporate law? 
  • How can a non-NLU student secure a job at a tier-1 law firm? 
  • How to plan your law school journey so that you secure a PPO before you graduate?
  • How to build a track record during law school to secure an in-house counsel job before you graduate?

REGISTER NOW

If you have already registered for this bootcamp then don’t forget to save this event in your calendar: 

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Invite your friends, colleagues and classmates by sharing this link to the online FREE bootcamp on How to kickstart your career as a corporate lawyer from 12-14 June 2021:

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Do you want to know more about corporate law? Check out our YouTube channel which has some of our past webinars and workshops content on this topic:

Looking forward to seeing you at the Bootcamp. 

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