PRESIDENT LEGAL & GENERAL COUNSEL
THE HINDUJA GROUP, LONDON
YEARS IN LEGAL FIELD: 35 YRS.
- Ranked among the top 50 lawyers in India in 2010
- Included in the top 25 Global Counsels in 2015
- Included in the legal 500 GC Power list for 2017 – 2018.
- Hinduja Group legal department is included in Legal 500 Powerlist for 2019.
- Ranked as one of the top/leading 99 Global Counsels from 31 countries.
LawSutram (LS): Why did you choose law as a career?
Abhijit Mukhopadhyay (AM): I did not choose legal career after careful consideration but it was purely by accident. I intended to be a qualified professional Company Secretary. However, I was told that in order to become a fully qualified Company Secretary, one needs to possess legal qualifications and a good understanding of the law would be essential. That is how I obtained qualifications both in law and as a company secretary. Now I find that both are integrated and rewarding.
LS: A brief about your work and what you do?
AM: As President Legal & General Counsel, I am involved in worldwide legal activities of our Group. Ours is a global organisation with an annual turnover of US$ 15 billion, having 150,000 people working in over 50 plus countries with eleven business verticals in the core sectors. I sit in the Group’s international headquarters in London. So, it is a pretty much full on job that I oversee in the legal areas.
LS: Any special challenges you faced during initial years?
AM: In the initial years, the challenge was how to put my acquired knowledge into practice. I have worked in more than seven very large and professionally managed public/private/joint sectors run by commercial interests. Therefore, putting academic knowledge into practice was most challenging.
LS: How do you balance Professional & Private life?
AM: Apart from my regular job, I am also involved in several global organisations in various capacities such as International Bar Association, International Chamber of Commerce, CII UK as also Queen Mary University of London. Balancing all these activities require some skill but my experience is that if you have got the inclination, you have got the time for all.
LS: Out of the busy schedule, how much time do you take out for yourself?
AM: If you utilize your time properly, then 24 hours is not little and you can do a number of things if you balance and execute properly.
LS: How do you manage Work-Stress?
AM: I listen to music, socialise and above all spend time with my Family which is a great stress buster.
LS: How do you prepare yourself before any tough / complicated / high – profile case / matter?
AM: I need to first understand the complexity of the case and then work out an action plan. Without a litigation strategy, one cannot succeed.
LS: Your normal day will be like?
AM: I work almost 16 hours a day, both in office and in my professional activities. I do a lot of international travelling. Everyday is different and there is no typical day for me. However, I try to ensure that I spend quality time with my Family.
LS: Any misconceptions about the Indian legal industry?
AM: Sitting in London and in the West, misconception is that the Indian legal industry do not want to open up and integrate with the global industry. This must be sorted.
LS: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next THREE – FIVE years?
AM: My goal is to mentor the younger generation much more than I do now.
LS: How do you differentiate yourself with your competition?
AM: I am an avid reader and constantly update/upgrade myself with knowledge. This is how you can remain one step above your competition.
LS: Best piece of advice you have ever received in your legal career?
AM: Be practical and apply your knowledge to the best interest of the organisation.
LS: Anything regarding Indian Laws/ Legal Cases/ Personal history?
AM: India needs to open up in the legal industry and integrate more with global legal law firms/practitioners/professionals to learn more and exchange ideas.
LS: Any advice for young lawyers or students?
AM: Be positive and proactive and continuously upgrade your knowledge.
SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR LAWSUTRAM?
Try to spread legal knowledge and education!