VICE PRESIDENT / HEAD LEGAL & COMPANY SECRETARY
SECURITAS INDIA, GURUGRAM
YEARS IN LEGAL FIELD – 10 YRS.
LawSutram (LS): Why did you choose law as a career?
Prashant Srivastava (PS): For me Law is not just a career, the education related to law empowers us and makes us more informed and aware individuals. The respect this profession garners irrespective of what role you play, is immeasurable.
Working as the head of the department, the trust shown by the stakeholders and reliance they put on your judgement and advise creates a sense of satisfaction. Law as a field is so robust and dynamic, that the learning never ends and no on is absolute. This variety and dynamism of the profession has remained my guiding factor to choose law as a career.
LS: A brief about your work and what you do?
PS: Currently, I am heading the legal function for my organisation and designated as Vice President/Head Legal and Company Secretary. The support include, being responsible for whatever falls within the gamut when it comes to legal for all the business verticals of the group, specifically end to end contracts management, litigation, risk compliance, company secretarial compliance and legal operations management.
LS: Any special challenges you faced during initial years?
PS: I started my career working under a CS, designated as paralegal in one of the Fortune 50, IT Services Company, although the exposure was real good, and fortunately I got an opportunity to work with great leaders who never considered my designation and trusted me with even complex work, but often it becomes very difficult to get to touch all aspects related to legal in a company environment due to department like structure. Even if you are are capable of performing certain kind of work, the transition often becomes really difficult internally in terms of the work due to department structures. Further, there are very few companies and leaders who push you to operate at your best potential, often when you are a fresher, people decide for you what job you take.
LS: How do you balance Professional & Private life?
PS: I like working, my work and profession drives me, so I would say the balance automatically gets created in between while I am working. After a point, its more about the brain hours than the man hours, that is actually a very good position to be in, as you get desired flexibility to take care of your private life also without hampering the professional aspects. With the ease of technology, these days you can respond to emails, collaborate with your team mates, can get engaged in quick discussions locally/globally, just by using your smartphones, so if you are good at prioritizing and multi tasking, the balance will follow.
LS: Out of the busy schedule, how much time do you take out for yourself?
PS: I personally feel that self-connect is very important, all of us should take out time to engage in discussions with self, that is when you get to know and introspect that whether you are heading in the right direction or not. Mostly in the night, when I am done with the work and done with spending time with family, I make a point to do what I like, specifically reading or writing something or listening to music. It helps in rejuvenation and makes me content and motivated towards the professional goals I have.
LS: How do you manage Work-Stress?
PS: I keep telling my sub-ordinates and team mates, we are no singers, no painters, we are not cricketers or for that matters anything which is driven by a hobby, our work stations are our play ground, our laptops and desktops are our instruments, and we are out their to create master pieces in our respective professions. So as far as you consider your work as your art and if you add a sense of contribution being derived from your work, there won’t be any stress. If there is any, then healthy discussions, a good walk and reflecting on how far you have come, always helps in reducing the stress.
LS: How do you prepare yourself before any tough / complicated / high – profile case / matter?
PS: Research is always very important and is one of the most important traits which is a must in any lawyer. We are surrounded with so much information and data, it is very important to refine in terms of what is relevant and what is not and then further drilling deep down to chalk out all possible questions, outcomes associated to the work you are entrusted with. I personally do a lot of research, checking about how things have been done in past, referring to materials, reaching out to colleagues and seniors for inputs often helps in a great head start.
LS: Your normal day will be like?
PS: When you are heading an important function like legal, you always have a field day. As soon as I reach office, there are stakeholders who wait for their queries, so most of the day at work goes into handling work which is planned, unplanned, at times requests which requires fire fighting, reading, finding answers. The industry I am working in, is very dynamic, so I hardly get to see days where there is no or less work, so mostly the days are busy. Which I personally enjoy.
LS: Any misconceptions about the Indian legal industry?
PS: Have heard a lot of youngsters saying that there is lot of exploitation in the industry, I personally have seen that those were all phases of learning and that is sort of a misconception. I think the industry is filled with great people and great minds, its upto an individual how to leverage on it.
LS: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next THREE – FIVE years?
PS: I recently touched one of the goals I had for my career “to head the legal function” and I want to spend some time understanding all the aspects, creating the best legal landscape of the organisation, making it compliant, technologically equipped when it comes to legal management and then obviously creating a legal team which is well recognized on forums. Personally, down the line three to five years, I would like to see myself assuming a General Counsel role for a group.
LS: How do you differentiate yourself with your competition?
PS: I don’t call it competition, its all learning, when I see people who are working in different organisations, in the similar position, I always try to learn from them. There is so much learning out there. With all that learning and the backing I have in terms of the great logos I have worked with and the exposure I got in those experiences is unmatched. So certainly, that is a high light which I know I can leverage upon and create a difference.
LS: Best piece of advice you have ever received in your legal career?
PS: I got too many although, but two of them I have remembered till date.
- Since I am in an house role, one of my seniors once said “ The guys selling…the sales folks….they are important, be friends with them, help them in the best possible ways, understand the business and you will never be a bad lawyer.
- Take time to advise, but once you have advised, own it…your stakeholder never expects you to be right the very first time but they certainly expect you to be someone who knows how to fix things. Try to become the go to guy.
LS: Any advice for young lawyers or students?
PS: Don’t follow the rat race, there are so many areas within legal which is still untouched. Find your calling and accordingly decide. Don’t consider yourself as absolute, there is no end to learning, the more knowledge you have acquired, the more grounded you should be.
People with best of the careers are there through small collective baby steps, they kept growing inch by inch, with a great mix of short and long term goals. There are a lot of lives which turned around in a day, so keep moving, have faith, never lose hope, rest all the good will follow. Be good and great…being good is the new cool.
SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR LAWSUTRAM GLOBAL?
The initiative what this team has taken is really amazing and exceptional, specifically for new age lawyers, we have stories, stories which are in their own limited spaces, are all great stories which can inspire.
While other forums and sites, are focusing on all the well established and known lawyers, LawSutram’s initiative creates a sense of motivation in the budding lawyers.
You should certainly check out their websites, the content and the work done by the team in connecting the legal community in India and across globe is evident by their reach.
I would like to congratulate the team and wish them the best for all their future endeavors.