2nd Annual – General Counsel Roundtable at JGU

JGU organised the 2nd Annual – General Counsel Roundtable at its campus in Sonipat, Haryana. The event saw some of the biggest names in the industry sit down together and discuss the latest regulatory issues and challenges that in-house legal departments are facing on an everyday basis. The aim of the Roundtable was to demystify the role of an in-house counsel in the fast changing corporate regulatory environment today. The event also provided career guidance to law students by on how can one place oneself in the legal spectrum from being a litigator to an associate at a law firm or as in-house counsel for a corporate.

The event boasted of a very impressive line up with Mr. Nilanjan Sinha (Legal Head, ICICI bank Indian and South Asian Division), Mr. Rajiv Mathur (Chief General Counsel, Phillips India Ltd.), Mr. Akhil Prasad (Director Country Counsel, Boeing India Ltd.), Mr.. Rajeev Chopra (Managing Director-Legal, Accenture) and Mr. Gaurav Gupta (General Counsel, Bentley Systems India Pvt. Ltd.). Also present was Maruti Suzuki’s first female general counsel Mrs. Manjaree Chowdhary among many illustrious others.

The Roundtable was a lively discussion where country’s top legal eagles interacted with students from Jindal Global Law School and covered a wide array of topics: from corporate governance and compliance to skills that can make an impression during a selection process. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Nilanjan Sinha who kicked off the discussion with a presentation ‘Beat the Curve’ where he illustrated what it is that general counsels do for the convenience of the students.

The panelists engaged in a conversation about the evolution of the role of the general counsel from just a lawyer to effective business partners and watchdogs. Mrs. Manjaree Chowdhary further shed light on the same and remarked that the primary step for being good at the job is to know the business and that knowing the law is not enough. She also emphasized the foresight that the counsels need to develop to be able to mitigate risks and avoid conflict of interests with other shareholders.

The discussion further segued into the importance of being open to new idea and skills and the need for Indian students to keep in touch with International legal affairs and issues in an increasingly globalized world. Mr. Rajeev Chopra also commended the Jindal administration for having a very diverse student body where the male to female ratio is 50:50 and emphasized the importance of a good work-life balance. Mr.Gaurav Gupta touched upon the idea of the ever-increasing specialization in the legal arena.

One of the questions which got varying responses from the panelists was, “How should a CV look like when applying for a position as a counsel for a firm?” Mrs. Chowdhary shed light on it by stating that one needs to develop a niche in a particular field and that a consistent CV and academic record really makes a lasting impression. While Dr. Prasad gave his own example to make his point, He went from working with Disney to Fidelity Funds to Boeing. The key is to make an impact and market oneself well. However, all the panelists largely agreed that it was quintessential to believe that every opportunity must build a career and not be perceived as a job. Also, every student aspiring to be an in house litigant must research well before making a shift.

The floor was then opened for questions which led to a very eye-opening and enlightening discussion with the very eager student body. The questions were diverse and covered topics from corporate governance, compliance regulations to core value systems of the company and how it impacts the work of the lawyers.

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