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Link Legal 40-year young ‘senior’ partner Anand Srivastava goes to Columbia for LLM sabbatical

Link Legal partner Anand Srivastava proves: Never too late for US LLM dream
Link Legal partner Anand Srivastava proves: Never too late for US LLM dream

One of Link Legal India Law Services’ most senior partners, Anand Srivastava, has been sponsored by the firm to take a sabbatical for a year from partnership duties to pursue an LLM in the US, in a bid to specialise in disputes.

Srivastava, a 2000 Delhi University LLB graduate who had joined Link Legal in 2001, began his LLM at Columbia Law School in New York on 15 August. He is widely seen as the de facto second-in-command in Link Legal's Delhi office, behind managing partner Atul Sharma.

“Remember that I'm just 40 years old and in the legal world that's no age at all,” he said. “I thought that I have another 25 years of career left at a minimum, and I need to really galvanise myself for one area of practice at least.

“Given that I started with Link Legal in the last 16 years, I couldn't deep dive into any area of practice.”

“I've been harbouring this decision for two to three years now,” Srivastava explained, noting that his taking a sabbatical had been a “collective decision” between him and the firm - particularly senior and managing partner Atul Sharma.

In terms of what he would specialise on at Columbia, he said that the faculty was excellent: “Prof [George A] Bermann is here, who's a genius on arbitration, so I'm trying to do more of a disputes and arbitration focus. So I'm doing this class, and mediation and possibly next term I'll apply for an advanced course.

“That's the present idea - the good part is that I didn't have to leave my firm and the firm supported me.”

Senior partnerships

Srivastava mused that in India compared to globally there was an irony when talking about “senior partners”: internationally, one would have to have at least 25 or 30 years of having “worked hard on their subjects” to be referred to as senior partners; in India, young lawyers make partner after seven or eight years, which does not give enough time to really dive deeply into most practice areas.

“I started, for example, the banking and finance practice, and gave it away to Ajay [Sawhney, who [had joined K Law in 2015;;... That's why I wanted to take some time off, work hard and understand my subject and go back to lawyering hard, and give the best training platform to our lawyers,” he added.

“That's what I wanted to do but given I was running or responsible for so many things and practices [in the firm] ... I really haven't had time.

“This one year will allow me to get back to the book and I'm talking to the best people. The faculty here is really good - whatever they know, they do so much more comparative law, they know how to do their entire jurisprudence. It's really great, the experience.”

Link Legal chief executive officer (CEO) Jayanarayanan NR confirmed that Srivastava was pursuing an LLM entirely sponsored by the firm. He would remain a partner in the firm for that year and return after, possibly after completing the New York bar exam. “He will be focusing on studies fully, because we don't want him to get distracted.”

Jayanarayanan added: “We thought somebody at his level, at his stage of career, taking a sabbatical and coming back with international exposure will be of great help to the firm. We wourselves want to peg our standards at intnerational levels.”

Link Legal has recently hired international firm Pinsent Masons' former senior partner and chairman Martin Harman to assist on UK infrastructure work and international firm strategy.

Last week we reported that five partners, including four corporate partners, had left Link Legal in the last year, some less than a year after joining.

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