Mr. Anupam Shukla is a Partner at Pioneer Legal and has extensive experience in private equity transactions, having worked on several investment deals, including joint ventures and foreign investments. He has experience in drafting and negotiations of investment agreements, shareholders agreements, share subscription agreements and other transaction documents and also specialises in the education sector and has advised various schools and educational institutions on diverse issues.
Sannidhi Buch: You began your career as a paralegal. What was the work like, and what were your lessons from it?
Anupam Shukla: Working as a paralegal allowed me to gain practical knowledge and awareness of how firms operate. There are aspects of being a corporate lawyer which are unfortunately not taught in law schools. Unfortunately, even interning for a month at a time is not sufficient. Consistently working at a place allows the firm to involve you in assignments to a greater degree even when you are a student. This provides you with a deeper understanding of the matter and better equips you for the profession.
Sannidhi Buch: RSG India Report 2019 recommended you for Corporate M&A. What would you like to tell the budding lawyers about Mergers and Acquisitions and the points to be kept in mind while having negotiations for the same?
Anupam Shukla: M&A is a very interesting field. You are effectively assisting people in acquiring or selling off companies or businesses. The level of responsibility is pretty high and skill requirement equally so. It is important that you are extremely well versed in laws applicable to your situation. Awareness of the business sector in which your client operates is always a plus.
Every negotiation is unique. You need to be able to tailor your approach basis a lot of factors. You must be willing to adapt to the changing undercurrents of the discussions. At times it is all about finding the right compromise for all parties involved, instead of merely indulging in fighting and arguments.
Sannidhi Buch: Recently, there have been updates on the data protection bill, and it has been changing. What is your opinion on the same issue?
Anupam Shukla: Data protection is going to have significant importance in our country. The absence of a robust data protection bill is sorely felt every time we read about a new data breach by a major company.
It is hoped that the government will be able to implement the bill shortly. More important will be to see how effective such a law is in protecting the rights of common citizens of India.
Sannidhi Buch: How has the Software and IT law developed after the Information Technology Act, 2000, and what do you think are the areas which still require work?
Anupam Shukla: The IT Act was a very relevant piece of legislation when it was introduced. However, there have been significant developments in the tech space in the intervening years. Like the development of blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, etc. At times, the IT Act proves inadequate to tackle all the new age technological advancements and therefore there might be a need of certain additional laws or regulations to govern such technologies as well.
Sannidhi Buch: With online being the new “normal”, how has your experience working on transactions and deals changed? What problems were faced by you which you worked on over time?
Anupam Shukla: The pandemic effectively transformed the way the world works. We are living in a new normal. People are willing to have negotiations over VCs. Technology has helped a lot. But it is important for everyone to adopt suitable infrastructure and train themselves to better use the features available. Being able to review and revise the agreement live using a screen sharing option may feel weird the first time you try it, but will soon start feeling natural.
Sannidhi Buch: Can you shed some light on Cryptocurrencies and the steps taken by the Reserve Bank of India for the same and what, in your opinion, should be done further in this direction?
Anupam Shukla: There is a lot of confusion surrounding cryptocurrencies in India. In 2018, they had been banned by RBI. Then the ban was released after a Supreme Court judgement in 2020. Now the government is deliberating over-regulating cryptocurrencies by way of new legislation.
The most likely outcome will be that cryptocurrencies will not be allowed to be treated as legal tender in India. They will be allowed as a separate asset class regulated by an authority. The government will still go ahead with its plans to implement a national digital currency though. But at the moment all this is mere conjecture.
Sannidhi Buch: Many individuals fail to streamline their internships or decide the area of law they want to pursue after college. Did you face a similar problem? What, according to you, can be done to channelize our interest into a particular field?
Anupam Shukla: From the law firm’s perspective, it is always best if the intern has knowledge or experience in the relevant sector. This ideally requires the interns to have interned in similar fields again and again. However, that being said, I think internships are best thought of as trials. You can intern with different teams and in different fields, be it litigation, corporate, insolvency, banking etc. Depending on what you find the most interesting, start gathering knowledge and expertise in that field. It will help you find the right career.
Also, most importantly, don’t worry. Things usually end up working out.
Sannidhi Buch: Can you give a few tips which can help in enhancing and developing our CVs? What, in your opinion, is the best format to present our work through CVs, especially while sitting for a job interview?
Anupam Shukla: Put your experience front and centre. What kind of work have you been involved in? What was your specific role in the same? What did you learn from it? The interviewer will want to gauge your expertise and skill level. Short and to the point CVs are always the best. Also, instead of using the same CV for each interview, try to tailor the CVs as per the role you are seeking if only to rearrange the information in a manner better suited for such purpose. And finally, be prepared to discuss almost everything you have mentioned in your CV, in greater detail.
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