Live Law spoke to G V Anand Bhushan, General Counsel at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Bhushan has decade long experience in corporate and commercial laws. A Fulbright scholar, in this conversation Bhushan speaks about his career, Cognizant, and many other interesting subjects.
Live Law: You are a Fulbright Scholar and pursued your Masters in Law (LL M) from USA. Do you think that an LLM from a foreign University has contributed substantially to your career advancement?
G V Anand Bhushan: Yes. I believe it brought additional exposure and a global outlook in the practise of law. I believe that any additional qualification brings value in this highly competitive environment. I would recommend students not to stop with just a basic law degree but look at other options whether a Masters in Law, an MBA or even an ACS degree.
Live Law: You have worked for a variety of organisations. Can you share with us your experience over these years?
G V Anand Bhushan: Over the last five years the practise of law has undergone a dramatic evolution in the Indian market. No longer are lawyers being viewed as an “expense” or a mere support function. Due to the complex legal issues involved in many corporate transactions, lawyers are now being viewed as partners and enablers of business and that is a positive change that I’ve enjoyed experiencing during my career.
Live Law: You have a decade long experience in corporate laws in the global market. In your view what personal qualities or abilities are imperative to being successful in corporate legal practice?
G V Anand Bhushan: 10 years ago the answer to that question would have been experience and knowledge. However, in today’s world with online legal repositories and CDs, knowledge is easy to obtain. I would state that the single biggest quality for a lawyer is the ability to foresee/anticipate and mitigate risks the organizations or clients face in an ever changing landscape. The second quality is to be an effective communicator. Whether you’re a corporate lawyer or a litigator to effectively advocate your client or company’s position is a top priority.
Live Law: Much has been said about the entry of foreign law firms in Indian market. Do you support their entry in India?
G V Anand Bhushan: I am a firm believer of competition and would support the eventual entry of foreign law firms on a reciprocal basis. Certain amount of advertising and change in partnership laws are a prerequisite before we allow entry to foreign law firms.
Live Law: For the last five years, you have been an In-house Counsel of Cognizant Technology Solutions. How were your early days at Cognizant?
G V Anand Bhushan: In late 2007, I was given the responsibility to build up our APAC team. We are now 70 lawyers spread over India and Asia. It has and continues to be a tremendously exciting time working at Cognizant.
Live Law: What is the criterion that is adopted for recruiting team members?
G V Anand Bhushan: We hire the most capable and brightest minds. We do not want them to look at Cognizant for a job but instead look at building careers in Cognizant. The ability to work “with” Cognizant rather than “at” our company is the type of mind set that we are seeking. We are continuing to expand in cutting edge areas of intellectual property, regulatory compliance, data privacy etc and we want agile, nimble and creative minds who have the ability to take these divisions and the company forward.
Live Law: Your specialisation ranges from Corporate Law to Information Technology and Media Laws. Do In-house Counsels get an opportunity to apply their knowledge in a variety of areas or do they get straight-jacketed into particular aspects of law?
G V Anand Bhushan: Within Cognizant legal while we have specialized attorneys dealing with specific areas of expertise (for example, IP or real estate). We strongly encourage our lawyers to familiarize themselves with other business units and practise areas. I think lawyers should NOT specialize too early on in their career and should build as wide a skill set as possible. In Cognizant, we provide the framework for lawyers to work on the portfolios of their choice in order to provide a more enriching and rewarding career.
Live Law: Have you ever considered switching to practicing law or being a Consultant?
G V Anand Bhushan: Ironically, the first five years after graduation was entirely private practise as a legal advisor to companies that varied from Television stations to Mining corporations. I think that entrepreneurial spirit has served me well within Cognizant and helped me set up a team quickly to support our company’s growing needs.
Live Law: What do you have to say about the In-house legal team of Cognizant?
G V Anand Bhushan: I am of course a biased party in this response but I am honoured and privileged to be able to work with such a team of lawyers. The ability of our lawyers to work across specializations and the ability to support global business units make us a tremendous asset to our organization.
Live Law: What are the future plans of development for the In-house legal team of Cognizant?
G V Anand Bhushan: Over the last several years we’ve started several divisions in-house. For example, in addition to our core corporate and contracts practise, we have also brought, real estate, HR, procurement, intellectual property and compliance in-house. We are constantly reviewing the landscape for changes in law and business to proactively anticipate and address the changing needs of the company.
Live Law: Your message to the aspiring lawyers and to those who have just entered the legal profession?
G V Anand Bhushan: It is a great profession with plenty of opportunities. However, one should not look at it with rose tinted glasses. This is a profession which to some extent is still plagued with a hereditary mind-set (choice of law school or lineage!). But for the right candidate the opportunities to excel either in litigation, law firms or in an in-house role are plenty and I wish them all the best and would encourage them to take the plunge.