“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela
The above quote is even truer for Kavitha Vijay, Senior Partner at IC Universal Legal (ICUL) as she was more interested in work that required direct interaction with people and assisting them. Graduating in Chemistry, she realized that she was not interested in work that solely depends upon a research-based course of study. And at that time, she decided to become a lawyer.
Kavitha’s law career began when she joined Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai to do a three-year degree in law. After passing out of Law College, she wanted to work in corporate law and therefore joined Crawford Bayley and Co in Mumbai. Her work there was an amazing experience for her and she could not have asked for a better foray into the world of corporate law.
Later, she returned to Chennai and was instrumental in establishing the IC Universal Legal office in Chennai, then set up under the banner Universal Legal. She has been working there for over a decade. She recognizes it as an unforgettable journey for her as she has witnessed the growth of the office, starting with a two-member team, which is now a twenty-five member team. Her experience at ICUL and being the part of the growth of the office has been one of the major events in her life.
Leading IC Universal Legal
For Kavitha, the opportunity to head the Chennai office of IC Universal Legal was one of the most crucial and exciting moments in her life. She remembers it as an extremely daunting thought at that time, but now when she looks back, she realizes that this was the turning point in her life and career along with a revelation that she has the capability to take the firm to higher levels.
At ICUL, she primarily works on mergers, acquisitions, private equity investments, and joint ventures. Her other practice areas involve infrastructure, general corporate law, and advisory services. She is immensely delighted to see the growth of the firm. It is also a matter of personal pride for her that the firm’s team is primarily comprised of women, thereby playing a small part in the women empowerment of the society today.
The Dynamic Law firm
IC Universal Legal is a full-service Indian Law firm with over a hundred members, including eighteen partners across all its offices in India. It advises on day-to-day legal issues, diverse corporate legal affairs, the formation of legal entities in India and overseas, corporate transactional matters, intellectual property rights, commercial contracts, and real estate.
The firm has set up offices across key locations such as Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Ahmedabad. Further, the firm is also affiliated to Chugh LLP, a full-service law firm in various states of the United States of America and Brazil. Through this association, the firm leverages its cross-border expertise to develop an experienced and qualitative legal delivery service to facilitate the business requirements of all the clients.
Kavitha’s Success Mantra
One thing that drives Kavitha is the need to keep expanding her mind in order to provide a satisfactory solution to her clients. She strongly believes that being a corporate lawyer is not solely about advising on legal provisions but rather providing business solutions to the clients that are legal. Understanding the clients, she asserts, “It is about understanding the client, their ideologies, their business and then to always, always ensure that we provide not only the best legal advice but rather a full, detailed and in-depth business solution to our Clients”.
Recognizing the Industry Challenges
According to her, one of the major challenges is the idea defined as “the big 5”, the 5 being the more well-known names in the industry. Hence, there is a constant need to break away from that mindset and to prove to the clients that the quality of the firm’s work is not dictated by the ‘name of the firm’ but by the caliber of people who deliver the work. However, she has observed that in the recent years, considering the number of breakaway firms in the market, the overall mindset is definitely undergoing a shift.
In terms of the working environment, the biggest challenge she recognizes is to set up a team environment where the organization belongs to the employees. Therefore, they must conduct themselves in a manner as if they were handling their own practice rather than viewing a position merely as a job. This poses a larger responsibility on the firm to provide a challenging growth and diverse opportunities to enable professional growth within the same organization rather than having to shift to achieve growth.
Guiding the Future Lawyers
Kavitha’s advice to the law students would be to explore a variety of practice areas, especially to have some litigation experience before foraying into corporate law. She also guides them to embrace different assignments and view them as opportunities rather than difficulties and to never stop educating themselves.
Vision for Future
Kavitha’s passion is all about ensuring that the firm provides solutions to all the clients. With that in mind, the goal of ICUL is to have people know that IC Universal Legal will be a firm that provides both qualitative and business-oriented solutions to the clients. Another goal of the firm is to make the firm a nationally and internationally recognized law firm.