Swapnil Talegaonkar is currently working as an Associate Director for Legal & Secretarial at Synechron Technologies, Pune where he started as a Manager in the Year 2013. Mr. Talegaonkar graduated from University of Pune with an LLB Degree and also became a Company Secretary in the same year. In this interview, we would take a look at the journey of Mr. Talegaonkar from his Law School days to becoming a Associate Director.
Trishala Sailish: Please tell us about your formative years. What made you want to pursue law?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: I was always attracted towards understanding more about legal aspects and that drove me towards pursuing my career in law and that’s how I pursued academics in law. You are in a golden spot when you are passionate about something and you end up pursuing it as a career. I naturally ended up putting a lot of efforts into learning law along with the Company Secretary course.
Trishala Sailish: How was your experience at law school? Please tell us about your internship experiences and your early influences?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: During the company secretary course I completed 15 months of Articleship and then I was hired by Sudarshan Chemicals in their legal and secretarial department. My corporate experience was enriched during my stint with Sudarshan chemical where I got to learn and work on several legal contracts and litigation matters.
Trishala Sailish: You are currently leading the working of the legal & secretarial function at Synechron Technologies. What do your responsibilities consist of?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: Synechron Technologies is a leading Digital Transformation consulting firm and is working to Accelerate Digital initiatives for banks, asset managers, and insurance companies around the world and I am primarily responsible for general corporate matters, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, data privacy and employment matters. Additionally, I lead global corporate secretarial compliances at Synechron. I have gained a great amount of cross border experience which includes legal negotiations of various commercial transactions and compliance. Under the able leadership of our CFO, I have been actively involved in completing M&A transactions for the Company particularly in the European region. With my strong experience in legal matters and company secretaryship, it was an excellent opportunity to exercise my expertise and skills to the fullest.
Trishala Sailish: You have been instrumental in closing several M&A transactions for Synechron, What are the hallmark qualities of a good M&A lawyer?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: M&A transactions are high paced, high visibility and demand a quick turnaround. It is very critical to have a neat conceptual understanding of fundamentals, to be strong on the basics and at the same time expects a law professional to be agile and be able to pace up. At Synechron, I have been closely working with our CFO, who also leads the M&A function; it has immensely helped me gain a strong understanding of the commercials, targets/goals and alignment with the management, which is crucial for any M&A lawyer. Having strong stakeholder management skills along with an understanding of the commercials and clarity on expectations and targets/goals and alignment with the management is crucial for any M&A lawyer. You also cannot wish away some of the important skills around negotiations and drafting skills, problem-solving, creative thinking, business acumen, meticulous homework which forms the core of a wholesome legal professional.
Trishala Sailish: You have completed a program on Certified Privacy and EU GDPR Practitioner (CPEGP) from Institute for Governance Research and Certification International, UK. Please tell our readers more about this program and how it has enhanced your skillset?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: Globally, data privacy is gaining immense momentum not only in BFSI or the IT industry but also across sectors and applies to small and big firms alike. Failure of protecting data on private nature results in huge penalties and reputation loss. Governments have to protect the privacy of citizens’ data and hence for those who deliver products or services too.
CPEGP (Certified Privacy and EU GDPR Practitioner) is a practice-oriented course for a privacy professional to understand privacy-related concepts and the way how privacy regulations are being framed. This program will provide a thorough understanding of how data mapping will have to be done, how a data protection impact assessment will have to be performed and what is involved in the implementation of a privacy regulation like EU GDPR. Many case studies/scenarios are discussed in the class.
A coveted certification for those who want to understand and implement EU GDPR. This three-day classroom course is focused on equipping attendees with the knowledge and skills to implement an effective privacy and information security compliance program under the GDPR.
Trishala Sailish: Please tell us about some of the setbacks you might have faced in your career and how you coped with them? How should law students or anyone for that matter handle conflict in their professional lives?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: There haven’t really been any setbacks in my career but there have been huge learnings and I have taken it as a stepping stone. I was expected to fill in the shoes of roles beyond my experience, however, it was greatly fulfilling to learn and grow at the same time.
Trishala Sailish: The M&A market has been hit severely by the COVID-19 crisis. Could you shed light on some of the changes that have taken place in the Indian M&A market and the possible solutions that can be implemented to insert some stability in such unpredictable times?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: Both buyer and sellers have become extremely careful during this high-risk time zone however businesses, both large and small, have utilised this period to close some high potential M&A deals, which are mutually beneficial. We have seen certain positive reforms from the government globally on creating liquidity for small/medium businesses. The government of many countries have been promoting FDI however, at the same time watching all the investments very closely to stop any unwanted/hostile investments.
There have been certain challenges in conducting the due diligence during the ongoing pandemic however, companies and law firms with the help of technological innovations have made their way to overcome these challenges. There are challenges in determining the valuation of the companies and bridging the price expectations of the promoters/sellers and expectation of the buyers considering hampered cash flows and risk of business and uncertainty surrounding COVID. Buyers are expecting transition support from the promoters by employing an earn-out mechanism to protect the business after closing the transaction.
The focus has been shifted on warranty and indemnity insurance, conditions precedence, and conduct of the business between signing and closing
Trishala Sailish: What do you do in your free time when you are not travelling around the world clinching important mergers and acquisitions?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: Work from home has allowed me to spend more and more time with my 3-year old daughter, which is very refreshing. I love listening to classical music and have learned playing Tabala. I also love playing table tennis and badminton regularly.
Trishala Sailish: What would you consider to be your biggest achievement up until this point in your career?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: It has been an exciting journey so far and I have been getting many opportunities to work on M&A transactions. I have grown extraordinarily in terms of my position/title however I feel my big one is yet to come.
Trishala Sailish: In closing, what are your words of advice to our readers and aspiring lawyers? What, according to you are the cornerstones of a successful career as a lawyer?
Swapnil Talegaonkar: Good judgement, sustained and conscious efforts toward the profession, customer focus, business acumen, dedication and relationship building are key to becoming a successful professional in the legal field. All this will be gained largely through experience, I will also ask aspirants to stay up to date with the changes in our legal system and updates to laws, acts, articles and clauses. Keep reading extensively about judgements and case studies and also keep track of how legal aspects are changing for businesses.
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