Mr. Muneesh Dhawan is the co-founder and managing partner at Law Veritas which is a full-service law firm and it offers a comprehensive range of legal services in civil, corporate, and criminal law.
He has previously worked as a Legal Officer in Standard Chartered Bank, BSES Delhi, and was the Zonal Legal Manager in ICICI Bank. He graduated from Delhi University and has done his Masters in Law from Kurukshetra University.
Below is an excerpt from the conversation we had with Mr. Dhawan.
Akanksha: The legal field has recently flourished and more students are voluntarily taking up law as their career. What motivated you to take law as your career? Please share your experience.
Muneesh Dhawan: Legal Career is one of the prestigious professions which offers a huge amount of opportunities & job satisfaction. My motivation to take up law as a career comes from challenges this field offer & variety that fulfill one’s personal aspirations. In my personal view, this profession gives a sense of personal achievement with meaningful & satisfying work. What excites me most about this career is that it empowers one to have an ability to make changes in people’s lives meaning thereby those who cannot help themselves or even those who want a guiding hand through difficult times in their lives.
Akanksha: You have ample experience in the legal field. From working with ICICI Bank to working with Capri Global Capital Ltd, and now being the co-managing partner of Law Veritas, you’ve achieved a lot. Out of all your achievements, which ones do you consider as milestones, and why?
Muneesh Dhawan: I have seen & analyzed the corporate legal sector to a great extent in my stint spanning more than twenty years as an advocate & as in-house legal counsel in leading corporates. There is one famous quote that reads as “Life is not a matter of milestones but of moments” hence I have enjoyed every single moment in my career & continues to do the same.
When I along with my partners started this law firm it was the turning point in my career which may be termed as ‘Milestone’, a kind of a celebration to prepare for the road ahead with many more Milestones to come. Our law firm in this short span has more than sixty leading corporate clients to whom we provide a variety of legal services as a full-service law firm which is evidence of the fact that my work in the past have been acknowledged by most of the corporates/clients I had worked with.
Akanksha: You have worked with corporates, like ICICI Bank, Fullerton India Credit Company Ltd, etc and now you are the Co-founder and managing partner of Law Veritas. Yet despite all this, you might have faced setbacks in your career. How did you deal with such downfalls and how do you suggest others to deal with them?
Muneesh Dhawan: Shocks, denials & self-doubt are forms of setbacks that are part & parcel of every person’s career. However important thing here is to stop bargaining on fate but think of failures simply as an opportunity to begin again & yes, this time more intelligently with the focus of what caused such failures/setbacks so that same are avoidable in future. Further, my suggestion to overcome such failures or setbacks as we may call is to chart out a fresh plan or future course of action.
Here I would also like to suggest that not all failures are to be dealt solely who has suffered such failure/setback or facing such failure & rather than retracting from the world itself, face reality & in such crisis situation one should seek direction, insight & support from family or a mentor. People around us make us stronger, wiser, better person hence seek their help/support rather than pushing oneself to extremes.
Akanksha: In order to protect the interest of depositors, the union cabinet has made an amendment in the Banking Regulation Act. The amendment proposes to raise the insurance cover on saving deposits, five times, to Rs 5 lakh. This will help to avoid PMC Bank like a crisis. What is your opinion on this? Please share your views.
Muneesh Dhawan: Union Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman in February this year announced the Government’s decision to raise Rs. 1 lac insurance cover limit to Rs. 5 lacs for greater protection of depositors’ money in banks. This was a long-awaited revision since the last revision was done in the year 1993 when the limit was increased from Rs. 30000/- to Rs. 1 lacs. This move has come after there was a lot of criticism over the handling of PMC Bank in September last year leaving thousands of people helpless & unable to withdraw their own hard-earned money.
As per RBI guidelines, deposits with all commercial banks & cooperative banks are insured under the Deposit Insurance & Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC). Each depositor in a bank is now insured up to a maximum of ₹ 5,00,000 (Rupees Five Lakhs) for both principal and interest amount held by him in the same right and same capacity as on the date of liquidation/cancellation of bank’s license or the date on which the scheme of amalgamation/ merger/ reconstruction comes into force.
Raising of insurance cover to Rs. 5 lacs will give a big comfort to depositors which have become more significant in these Covid-19 times. This will surely help to boost the confidence of people in the banking system.
Akanksha: As mentioned earlier, you have gained a lot of experience by working with corporates and now you have co-founded a law firm. What, in your opinion, are the skill sets that are necessary for one to set foot in the corporate industry?
Muneesh Dhawan: With the growth of the Indian economy growing steadily over the last few years (*discounting the brakes put on growth due to Covid-19 situation), more & more corporates are expanding their horizons. With such an expansion, legal professionals are required to advise corporates on navigating the legal system as prevalent in India. Corporate lawyers are nowadays considered as back-bone on advising businesses on complying with regulations, conducting mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, drafting corporate agreements, corporate governance, advising on litigations to name a few. Hence a corporate lawyer should have strong analytical skills coupled with good interpersonal skills with zeal to take up challenges that come in the way to become a corporate lawyer.
Having said so I would like to emphasize here that it is most imperative to gain an extensive pool of knowledge with regards to corporate laws which gradually can be gained by going through latest case laws, reading bare acts & books related to the same for better understanding. ‘There is no substitute for knowledge….’
Akanksha: Being the managing partner of Law Veritas, what advice would you like to give to students, who aspire to work in law firms?
Muneesh Dhawan: My advice to all young friends who are pursuing law would be to be conscious of their respective goals & how they are planning to achieve the goals set for themselves. A student should start early in his/her career with getting internships in law firms to get to acquaint themselves with the environment.
The corporate culture of Law Firms attracts more & more young people with its jet-setting lifestyle however all this comes with tremendous work pressure working within definite turn-around timelines.
Career decisions of students/young lawyers at the threshold of their career are the majority of times are more influenced at times by the urge to acquire more skills or to earn handsomely. I would suggest that young legal professionals should focus more on acquiring skills rather than focusing on money for the initial phases of a career. The money will flow gradually but don’t run for it. I may sound cliché here, but this is how the legal industry operates since knowledge is base on our profession. There are no shortcuts for the same.
Akanksha: Lastly, what suggestions would you like to give to practicing lawyers who would want to set up their law firm?
Muneesh Dhawan: Starting up a law firm is nerve-wracking which involves lots of strategies, brainstorming coupled with a trajectory as to what legal areas to specialize in & also as to how one can carve out a niche specialization in future. The entire exercise involves choosing the right human resources, office, infrastructure, building up a suitable network of projected clients along with strengthening existing relationships. My advice to a legal practitioner who wishes to start up a Law Firm is to keep their operational expenses under check otherwise one should be ready for a huge setback.
As we all know ‘Time is money’ hence when evaluating the business purchases like laptops, printers, etc., one should keep in mind that cutting corners can often be more time consuming & we end up spending more. Every penny spent for starting a Law Firm counts in beginning hence keep your expenses lean to the extent possible. If one has to invest then investment in Law Books is the most important thing one should keep in mind before starting a law firm. One should dream of having a big library of legal books, journals, etc. from the very start since knowledge is the key to success.
One should crave building up a brand that is a conglomeration of all the promises, expectations & perceptions one wishes to be associated with your firm. A law firm is not a group of people working together but should be considered as his/her own family for which emotional touch is the most important factor.
In the end, I would say that setting up a law firm is one of the most challenging job but a rewarding one if there is a passion for even the smallest of assignment at hand & delivering of services by giving your best.