A lawyer, a mediator – certainly words that do not go together! Yet, these are the very words that describe B.C. Thiruvengadam. Although one might say that by profession, he is a lawyer, by passion, he is also trained and certified to be a mediator. “I have been practising mediation for several years now. I was involved in the setting up of the Bangalore Mediation Centre, which is the biggest in the country,” says he with pride. A very observant Thiru explains that “a survey of southern states revealed that only 9 per cent disputes come to lawyers, 50 per cent just give up, 30 per cent go to the police and the rest go to thugs or the underworld. This certainly meant that lawyers are not popular. So mediation is a better option. Even from the lawyers’ point of view, the disputes are coming to them instead of the thugs. And if the clients are happy then they will come back to you.” He believes what sets a mediator apart from other lawyers is he should not be influenced or interested in the case, as a mediator has to be totally independent. “Lord Krishna wanted to be a mediator but he failed because his sister was married to Arjuna,” says Thiru, citing the epic battle of Kurukshetra between the warring cousins of Mahabharata.
One might think that since he holds in-depth knowledge of the religious scriptures, he himself is religious. Yet, it is not so. He segregates religion from spirituality. Named after Tirupati Balaji, Thiru is a firm believer in God. It is rather secularism which he would choose over ritualism. He has read the Bible, the Koran and even about Norse mythology. His office, decorated with posters of the eagle, depicts aspirations of the spirit, and its triumph over the carnal nature.
An alumnus of Bangalore University, he is the architect and senior partner of Chennai-based Thiru & Thiru. A brief exposure to Chartered Accountancy has stood him in good stead although he did not get the degree, ultimately. In addition to his three decades of standing at the Bar, he is a Mediator of the High Court of Karnataka. He is also a Mediator Resource Person and Master Trainer in Mediation of the Supreme Court of India and the Chairman of the Society of Indian Law Firms, Bangalore Chapter.
He holds several awards to his credit including Oxford’s International Professional of the Year 2007, Leading Lawyers of Asia by Asia Law Journal from 2004 to 2007 and has the rare distinction of being rated in seven areas of specialization (Banking, Restructuring & Insolvency, Dispute Resolution, IT & Telecommunications, Labour & Employment and Mergers & Acquisition). His vast repertoire of knowledge has seen him deliver lectures at premium institutions such as the New York Law School, International Business Academy, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, etc. He is an active member of a number of associations including the International Bar Association and Inter Pacific Bar Association.
Unlike most lawyers who pursue law as a family tradition, Thiru studied law because he had a case against his tenant when he was studying Chartered Accountancy. “I wanted to assist my family lawyer in evicting the tenant. I did not tell my parents as they considered lawyers as those who break up or split up families,” reminisces Thiru.
It was his ability to take a stand that found him being introduced to Revathi. Although theirs is an arranged marriage, Revathi says that his decision “to marry the first girl he met and not subject a line of girls to screening,” is what set him apart from the crowd for her. The couple was engaged in 1989 and married in 1990. Revathi, a true cosmopolitan, brought up in Delhi, calls Thiru a “pucca Tamilian.” Like her husband, Revathi too holds a degree in law from Bangalore University.
While Thiru has enthused all members in the family to take keen interest in law, his own interests are greatly varied. In fact, versatility should be his other name. Thiru’s paintings adorn the walls of his house. His ear for music finds him playing the congo. The yin dimensions of his personality often finds him wearing the apron in the kitchen and cooking seafood, a cuisine he is master at. Yet, the most intriguing of his interests is his ability to sew.
Thiru, a perfectionist at work expects the same at home. In Revathi’s words, “He likes things spick and span and has no room for carelessness. Even his shirts have to be ironed properly. He does not like a single crease on them!” Surely the right lawyer to iron out all differences!