Law in Contemporary Society

Inside A Lawyer’s Arsenal

-- By PushkarChaubal - 17 May 2023

Growing up, lawyers were akin to the buddy at game night who always knows the rules. They are the ones who understand the ins-and-outs of their domain and can use that information to empower their friends. Similarly, attorneys wield their knowledge of the system to produce desirable outcomes for their clients. That is the role I wanted to play in my career.

My first year of law school has taught me that the content we are learning is not necessarily conceptually difficult. However, it requires a tolerance for sifting through what seems like endless pages of difficult-to-decipher text. Few have such patience, but that was the appeal of law school for me. Effective lawyers, to me, are masters of the use of words and are able to wield language skillfully to deliver justice, manage risks, or close deals on behalf of her or his client.

My Relationship with Words as an Adult

My relationship with written language, however, was corroded as soon as a graduated from undergrad. After majoring in finance and management information systems, I went into the management consulting field. As a young consultant, I quickly fell prey to the partners and managing directors. These partners used their oral and written skills to cover up rubbish and manipulate people exactly the way they wanted to. Promises made yesterday were null and void the next day.

The disgust these partners inspired in me infected my relationship with words themselves. As someone who excelled in subjects like literature, history, and political science, the fact that words could be wielded for such self-serving objectives made me incredibly cynical to the point where I thought my relationship with words was fractured forever.

However, during the lockdowns brought on by the epidemic, I found myself with spare time and was drawn to my parents’ copy of the Bhagavad Gita. This Sanskrit literature gave me the strength to make it through COVID-19 and effectively ended my literary depression.

Now that I am in law school, I conceive that lawyers wield words as weapons to get their clients what they want.

Using words for my career

My goal since undergrad was to end up in private equity. While business school might have been the more straightforward path, I was drawn to law school because I wanted to be powerful with my words and have a more tactical understanding of the underlying legal framework that drives the business world. The idea is to be well-versed in a wide variety of corporate law, such as securities, transactions, and intellectual property.

Put simply, my ultimate vision is to be a trusted advisor to C-suite executives. I want to bring my strategy consulting and my legal experience to bear so that I can give my clients the advice they need to exceed their business objectives, while adhering to regulations and steering clear of antitrust issues. I see myself fundamentally in a business strategy role, with the law as a guiding framework.

The more I ponder my career path, however, the more I doubt whether a role in private equity will allow me to have that cross-sectional view of business strategy and law. The work in PE seems to be of a financial nature, with limited exposure to the law. While making money is important to me, I want to be in a position to drive differentiated value by bringing all my experience to bear.

What would bring me even more long-term career fulfillment is if I could start my own practice. As we discussed from various readings over the course of the semester, having the courage to start one’s own practice allows one to shape it exactly the way one wants. My ideal firm would be a hybrid law firm and management consulting business. Put simply, I want to be my clients’ go-to advisors for anything their business might need. For example, if an electronics manufacturing client wants to expand into a hot, cutting-edge product category, I want to be poised to advise the client on the best way to go to market, while making sure that they are keeping abreast of legal regulations in that business line and minimizing their tax liability.

While a practice of this nature is relatively unique, and thus may be high-risk, I believe it is filling a gap in the professional services marketplace. The Big Four accounting firms are already demonstrating how they can use their C-suite relationships to provide legal services. For example, EY entered the market for legal services in 2019 with its notable acquisition of Riverview in Europe. Riverview had established its UK presence by providing lower margin legal services. However, over time, the firm started to perform more sophisticated legal tasks with the advent of increased digitization. With increased machine learning and AI reducing the demand for expensive junior associates at large corporate law firms, I firmly believe this is where the market for corporate legal services is heading. While my firm initially will not have the scale of EY or Deloitte, I can start in the lower mid-market to establish a footprint.

In terms of go-to-market strategy, I believe solidifying the management consulting part of my business is the way to get in the door at these mid-market clients. My experience at Deloitte Consulting surrounded the healthcare industry, so marketing my strategy consulting services to low- to mid-market healthcare players might be the way to establish a beachhead. Once my firm has proven its competence and delivered successful outcomes, I hope to then leverage my relationship with the C-suite to then promote my firm’s legal services. It is important to note a distinction here between legal services and legal expertise. Legal expertise may include higher-margin advice, where legal services include everything else – such as more routine paperwork.

In this way, I can use mere words to effect large-scale business outcomes, all while deciding the direction of my consulting and legal practice.


Webs Webs

r6 - 29 May 2023 - 15:27:36 - PushkarChaubal
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