Shashank Agarwal is currently a Partner at Themis & Dike Legal Advisors. Prior to this, Shashank was a Principal Associate at DSK Legal. Shashank’s area of expertise includes various practice areas with specific focus on corporate restructuring, insolvency and dispute resolution.
Shashank is a first-generation lawyer and is also a company secretary. After graduating in law from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, and having practiced with a couple of boutique law firms and then DSK Legal, he ventured to start his own independent practice and set up Themis & Dike Legal Advisors.
In this interview to Bar and Bench, Shashank talks about the considerations that prompted him to pursue as career in law, his practice areas of interest, work-life balance in independent practice and advice to students interested in having a successful legal career.
As a first-generation lawyer in your family, what motivated you to be a lawyer?
The fact that I would be the first person from the family to be a lawyer was a key motivation for me to pursue law. But, frankly speaking, it was the idea of working for top corporate houses that initially prompted me to pursue a company secretary ship degree and it was during this pursuit that I chose to become a lawyer more specifically a corporate lawyer.
You were associated with DSK Legal for over 5 years, how was your experience at DSK Legal?
I had a great enriching learning experience working for different partners at DSK Legal. During my experience of a little over 5 years at DSK Legal I was given the opportunity to deal with different assignments.
While at the start, I was involved in debt-funding and real-estate transactions, I later became involved in few corporate litigation assignments. For about 6 months, I was also involved in some government projects and later in 2017, I became largely involved in insolvency and bankruptcy matters.
Overall, I had a great experience at DSK Legal.
You say your focus areas are corporate restructuring, insolvency and dispute resolution. What made you choose these lines of practices?
Being a company secretary was (and is) a great advantage to becoming a corporate lawyer. As a corporate lawyer, one gets to and has to practice in these areas. It’s the intricacies of the issues, in-depth analysis of corporate functioning, critical thinking of adversaries, seeking a meaningful solution or resolution of the problems at hand for the client and other such nuances that make these lines of practices worth pursuing and practicing.
In fact I had my first my taste of the excitement of pursuing the above mentioned nuances in a moot court competition organised by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. That made me choose the legal profession as well as the lines of practices that you mention.
Also, I must add that I was lucky to have good mentors who helped me to consistently pursue my interests in these lines of legal practice.
What made you go into independent practice, in these difficult times of COVID-19 ?
For a lawyer, that too a first-generation lawyer in the family, going into independent practice is any day a bold step. But, to be a successful lawyer, or even as a successful person, one must take bold steps. As far as COVID-19 is concerned, everybody is now starting to live with it with precautions, of course.
As for the merits of the decision to go independent, I feel, it was important for my personal as well as professional growth. As an independent legal practitioner, one gets to deal with a variety of issues presented by many clients and in this way develop both as a professional and an entrepreneur.
It is understood that you have only recently gone into independent practice. What are the challenges that you are facing in independent practice?
So far, it has only been about 5 months, which may be too early to say anything. But largely, it has been going good.
Of course, I am facing the common challenges that any new entrepreneur will face when starting a new business. However, thankfully, I have been able to pull together a good team.
How has work-life balance been since you started your independent practice?
Of course, after leaving the firm, I have been able to maintain the work-life balance that I had aimed for. However, there are times when I have to work on weekends.
Any words of suggestion or motivation for student lawyers?
Well to students I would say that they keep faith and keep working hard until they achieve their goals, as opportunities may come in the most unexpected ways. Also it is important to network and be friends with everyone.
This interview was conducted by Campus Ambassador, Rohit Kumar.