I was born on June 2nd in Kerala, India. After spending my early years in Kerala, I moved with my parents to Abu Dhabi, UAE where I did part of my schooling before returning to Kerala to complete my schooling. I joined the Kerala Law Academy in 2000 and graduated in 2005. I have had a very brief stint as an associate at a law firm in New Delhi before moving to Bangalore where I practiced corporate law for close to two years.
In 2006, I received a scholarship to undertake a course in Private International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law, Netherlands and I also trained very briefly in International Trade Law from the Academy of International Trade Law, Macau, China.
Life in London
In 2007, I received a scholarship from the London School of Economics to undertake my masters in Law (LLM). LSE, a very diverse university with highly qualified students from all over the world. It was a life changing experience for me. Most of the education in LSE happens from your peers and other student than from the Professors. Perhaps I owe my risk taking attitude in part to my time at LSE. While at LSE, I contested for, and was elected as the President of the LLM students union, Represented LSE at the Willem C Vis International Moot court competition at Vienna and worked part time as one of the sales representative in a start up called Hungryhouse.com
Every day at LSE was an experience in life, law and entrepreneurship. I still remember my first day at LSE, where I rushed to connect with a professor who I had met in Macau. The professor’s secretary gave me an appointment to meet him the next day at his office. I entered his office and he seemed to be working on something. I was asked to be seated. Pleasantries and small talk are very common when meeting people in laid back Kerala and I suddenly remembered perhaps I should try and connect with him, I saw a picture of a teenage boy on his desk, as soon as the professor turned his attention to me smiling, I blurted out, “It is good to meet you…you have a handsome looking son”. The smile slowly faded, he took the picture from his desk saying “That………….”, and placed it right in front of me, “……..is my wife.” Needless to say I was a bit speechless/embarrassed but these kind of faux pas ( many of which has happened since) is almost a routine and I have learned to deal with it in the most professional manner.
My whole time at LSE has been chronicled in a journal, I mean every single day at the university and I do hope to publish it someday. As soon as I was done with my time at LSE, I joined a law firm in London and later on, was a visiting lecturer in International Business Law at Regents Business School.
Businesses: Life as an entrepreneur
Law Pundits was originally conceived in 2008. Initially it was started for providing tuitions to law students. Even after I graduated from LSE, I still used the Old building at LSE campus as my make shift office for providing tuitions (shout out to the security guards at old building!). There were a lot of free rooms and I could not afford an office at that time, so I am happy I was able to be a bit resourceful.
As my students increased, I hired two more tutors and incorporated it as a company in 2011. At some point we branched out into training and legal conferences and in 2011, we organized the first International Business Law Conference in London. Later on we organized a training program for law students in London. There was always a desire to constantly innovate or do multiple things at the same time. When you are starting up, I guess that it is very common. In fact, it was during this time, I happened to meet a friend who was working in Social media space. I was intrigued by the possibility of building brands over the internet and wanted to do something like that for businesses in India. My second business Klientas was formed
Having a business is like having a baby and I have heard that a lot of times. It is true, the baby would need all the attention. So what if you have twins? For me this was the case. Getting Klientas off the ground was a huge task. I wanted to start Klientas in India and I was in London. I had to find a really reliable person and I managed to convince my brother who was working in Ernst and Young at that time to quit and join Klientas and oversee the operation in India. I can’t remember the promises I made to him, but somehow I was able to convince him to join Klientas and fortunately he has been quite a big support for taking Klientas forward. We had signed on two Clients in the first month itself and while the clients were quite popular companies, the office was my brothers room at home in Trivandrum and I was at my office in London, but somehow everything seemed to work fine.
India and UAE
In 2012, I have been travelling to India and Dubai from London, once every three months, I could see the immense potential of the region and in early 2013, we had our first legal training program in India. I knew I should be in India for at least a few years to develop the business operations in India, after all, India was the right place to be for both the businesses. I finally relocated to India, ironically about 100 feet away from my undergraduate law school, the same place where I began my journey in search of …. “well I am still trying to figure out what I am searching for”.
I sometimes feel very privileged that I happen to do whatever I love doing and doing it well. I am really glad I am able to make my contribution to the legal community in whatever way I can and make a difference in a legal professional’s or a law student’s life. Occasionally it feels good to be appreciated. For my contributions to the legal education and services, I was invited as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and recently I have been awarded the fastcase50, as one of the fifty most innovative people in law, an annual recognition that has been instituted by Fastcase50 honouring law’s courageous innovators, techies and visionaries from around the world. Secretly, I am kind of glad that some of the world’s most recognizable names in legal entrepreneurship as well as General Counsels and Officials of some of the largest companies in the world, including KIA motors, Facebook, Google and Apple as well as innovative US and Canadian Judges as well as world renowned professors in Law who has contributed significantly in the field of law, as my fellow award winners.
For every “successful” project I have been doing/done, there are several failed ones. I am glad I had these failed projects in my late 20s when I could have afforded these failures. I am hoping I have learned some lessons from these failed projects. A big mistake/ personality trait was never listening to anyone who said do not do something. I probably still never listen to anyone who tells me not to do something. I guess now, I have a better sense of judgment, after all good judgement comes with experience and experience comes with making some bad judgments.
About the blog
I have been advised, by my CTO as well as several of my friends that I have to document the work that I am doing and how I have been able to do it. To quote one of my friends directly “…The mistakes you make might be a bigger lesson for an entrepreneur as much as what you would have achieved.” This blog is on matters which mostly relates either to law, entrepreneurship or in some cases matters that I have an opinion on.