EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (LEGAL) & GROUP COMPANY SECRETARY
DALMIA BHARAT GROUP, NEW DELHI
YEARS IN LEGAL FIELD: 26+ YRS.
- Inducted to ‘Global Hall of Fame’ by World Auto Forum for contribution and work in the Legal Eco System in India and the World in 2019.
- Felicitated as the most ‘Influential Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary’ by ACOS in 2019 at New Delhi.
- Honoured for outstanding contribution towards facilitating trade and commerce in India by ICCA and the Law Society of England & Wales during Indo-UK Summit at House of Commons, London in 2018.
- Honoured as one of “India’s finest In-house counsels” by ICCA and has been presented with commendation for outstanding contribution towards in-house legal community by ICCA and the Law Society of England and Wales, in 2016.
- Awarded by JCB, UK with the Perseverance in Studies Award for being one of the most academically and professionally qualified employee in the JCB Group Worldwide.
LawSutram (LS): Why did you choose law as a career?
Dr. Sanjeev Gemawat (SG): During my student days, liberalization started in the Indian economy. MNCs made a foray into Indian market. New avenues opened for legal work in the corporate sector. It was the time when change was welcomed and to do something new or different was motivating.
Law as a discipline intrigued me as it is a requisite for all businesses. This new opportunity because of the changing economic scenario coupled with my zest for utilization of my analytical skills made me choose law as a career. I got interesting offers from business houses. And so began my journey as an In-house counsel.
LS: A brief about your work and what you do?
SG: I am currently employed with Dalmia Bharat Group as Executive Director (Legal) & Group Company Secretary. It is a Business house that carries a legacy of 75 years and more. I look after legal, secretarial, regulatory & compliance affairs of the Group. My work profile includes litigation/arbitration, corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory and public policy issues, compliance, contracting, documentation and day to day advisory.
LS: Any special challenges you faced during initial years?
SG: All professionals face multiple challenges at the beginning of their career for lack of experience and fear of failure. The biggest challenge, I faced was at the time when Joint-ventures in India were falling apart. There would be volatile disputes between the partners in the boardroom and to reach an amicable resolution was a huge challenge.
LS: How do you balance Professional & Private life?
SG: This is not only the most important but also the most challenging part of any professional’s life today. Family is important. Due to long hours at office and considering the challenges of my job, I try my best to spend quite time with my family. We have dinner together. We go out for drives whenever we can make it. A two week family holiday every year is now almost a ritual. I also try to visit my home town at least three times a year, even if only for a week end.
LS: Out of the busy schedule, how much time do you take out for yourself?
SG: I have two “ME” times every day. An early morning run or yoga for 45 minutes. This I try to do at least 5 days a week. Second, post dinner, I spend almost 60-90 minutes reading, rejuvenating, writing or some research work.
LS: How do you manage Work-Stress?
SG: Stress is a silent killer. It comes as a by-product of modern lifestyle. I meditate and do yoga regularly. I chant daily even if it is for 10 or 15 minutes. Above all, I keep my attitude positive and my faith in human goodness intact. I also strongly believe that family and hobbies are the greatest stress busters.
LS: How do you prepare yourself before any tough / complicated / high – profile case / matter?
SG: My mantra for preparation is:
- Understand the strength and weakness of the case;
- Understand the adverse impact of the results of the case on the organisation; &
- Build up a collaborative team of internal and external experts.
LS: Your normal day will be like?
SG: These are some of the highlights of my day:
- Wake up with a positive attitude.
- Meditate and exercise for 45 minutes.
- Take a few calls on way to office.
- Any normal day, my routine would be like – review of preparation for the day with the teams, meetings with other functional colleagues & CEO/MD, attending court/ arbitration proceedings, and of course conferences with external lawyers.
LS: Any misconceptions about the Indian legal industry?
SG: Indian Legal Industry is generally perceived interchangeably with Indian Legal System. The legal industry is full of intellectuals and scholars with original thinking. However, they fall prey to the grim image which have been created by the delays and complexities of Indian Legal System. Today in the industry we have professionals who are capable of competing with their international counterparts.
LS: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next THREE – FIVE years?
SG: There are more than a million in-house counsels in India. They are not recognized or patronized by any institution or body. I strive to work with other In-house counsels for a statutory recognition to this profession through amendments in the regulations or the Advocates Act.
LS: How do you differentiate yourself with your competition?
SG: Besides being a qualified lawyer, I am also a qualified Chartered Accountant, Company Secretary, Cost & Management Accountant, Chartered Secretary and due to this, I always had a wider work profile at office. But I never competed with my colleagues. I strive for improvement and excellence every day. Competition, if any should be with oneself to grow and mature in a better way.
LS: Best piece of advice you have ever received in your legal career?
- Never say “NO”.
- Keep all doors open. Many a times, even wild ideas get sold.
LS: Any advice for young lawyers or students?
SG: Never loose the connect with your family, your country and your roots.
- Pay attention to detail.
- There is no substitute for hard work.
- Keep yourself abreast with the latest developments and changes in your field.
SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR LAWSUTRAM GLOBAL?
Every citizen is a global citizen today and the biggest platform is the digital platform. Connecting legal experts from all across the globe is not just a Herculean task but also a resourceful venture.
Take pride in how far you have come, and have faith in how far you can go.