Perry Mason and a taste for things spicy? Given his success, it’s hard to believe that these could be the reasons that prompted Anand Prasad to take up law. “Around the time I joined college, people were doing either management or software. My father was posted in Pune so I enrolled for software in Symbiosis but also joined law. I was good at both but then law is so much spicier, so I stayed with law. Besides, I was also a Perry Mason fan,” says Prasad, top corporate lawyer and Managing Partner at the law firm Trilegal.
His reasons for quitting a well-paid job and getting together with former colleagues, to start Trilegal, were no less original. “To make you a partner with equity, the law firms looked at who you were and where you came from, which meant unless you had the family lineage or a godfather, there were no real partnership opportunities.”
Trilegal opened its offices in 2000 in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, and was a success almost overnight. “Our target for the first year was fifty-sixty lakhs. But it so happened, in the first year in Delhi alone we billed one crore seventy lakhs.” Success for Trilegal was not limited to raking in the moolah alone but the firm also picked up some very noteworthy projects in its very first year. Projects ranged from those funded by the World Bank to Petro net LNG. In the banking sector Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank opened their accounts with Trilegal. Since then Trilegal has only been bettering itself every year. Today with over 140 lawyers, the firm provides services in real estate, intellectual property, IT, M&A, capital markets, private equity and capital funds, besides banking, energy and corporate and commercial disputes.
Set up with the idea of delivering a contemporary firm, what went in Trilegal’s favour was a modern approach in terms of both legal and commercial thinking. Realizing there was “a crying need for better service,” Prasad and company ensured that they “delivered crisp and quick solutions with fast turnaround” which got them international clients.
A firm believer in liberalization, Prasad, unlike many of his trade, feels that the entry of foreign law firms will do India a world of good by helping “the system become more professional with diffusion of knowledge and expertise”. And it is this outlook that impressed the UK’s top-notch law firm Allen & Ovary to enter into a referral relationship with Trilegal in 2008— a first in the history of Indian law firms.
Prasad, who hopes the future holds many such fists, says that the climb to the top can be fun only when “life and work balance” has a mix of ambition in it. “The work-life balance comes better when you also throw into the mix, ‘ambition’. So it’s a combination of ambition, work and life that makes for a balance,” he says.
And not one to let stress get to him, this yoga and music enthusiast makes sure he takes time out to relax because he believes that to make a good counsel one has to enjoy his work. “The day I feel that I am overworked and not enjoying what I am doing, I will cease to be a good lawyer,” he says.
Prasad is actually aware that to remain at the top of his game and not succumb to the pressures of long hours, he has to remain at his attentive best. To this end, with enthusiastic support from wife Aarti, a fitness instructor, Prasad keeps a strict regimen of yoga and exercise.
Born to a Keralite father and a Kannadiga mother, this son of an army officer , in spite of his tremendous success, remains firmly grounded. And like every common Indian, he feels the need of the hour is integrity and justice. “Lawyers need to be leaders like they used to be during the freedom struggle and they should increasingly be asking for probilty in life,” says Prasad with ardent honesty.
Do we hear a future leader speaking? That is something only time can tell. For now though, Prasad is content making certain that Trilegal continues to scale greater heights and keeps growing larger and profitable.
We acknowledge “100 Legal Luminaries of India” by Lalit Bhasin (Lexis). The multicolour coffee table book printed on art paper in Hardbound is priced at ` 5995/- and is available at Universal Book Traders, C-27, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001. firstname.lastname@example.org