This Couple-preneur Runs the Biggest Law Firm in India
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Vandana and Cyril today run India’s biggest law firm and it takes time and effort to build something of this stature. The couple put in over three decades of hard work to make it this big. Cyril had just started out as a lawyer at his father’s firm, when their parents arranged the match. For Vandana, Cyril’s father was the first ever lawyer she met in her life. Post marriage, it was clear with the ambitiousness of Vandana and the busy schedule of Cyril, she can pursue law and join in the family firm so that both can work towards a joint dream.
When they started, the firm had 25 lawyers and today they jointly built it to be a 625 lawyer strong firm. Talking about her first meeting with Cyril, Vandana remembers, “We hated each other on sight. We met on the March 16, 1986. It is quite well documented because that is my birthday. I didn’t want to spend my birthday evening looking at somebody.” As destiny had it, they got married on May 15 of the same year. The couple is blessed with two beautiful children, who have also joined the firm after completing law. “I always wanted to study further. When I met Cyril, I realized here is an opportunity to work, to create space for myself. Somewhere when you share a vision and you work towards it. It also binds you together,” adds Vandana.
Talking about dealing with different viewpoints with each other, Cyril says, “We are conscious of the fact that we are role models for a lot of people and accordingly our behavior changes to suit the environment. Secondly, when you have a goal or ambition in mind, then you work towards it.”
“We try to look at each other’s viewpoint. Cyril is a consensus driven person and likes to take everyone along. He has thoughts to which everyone would agree as he is capable of looking at the bigger picture,” adds Vandana.
Vandana is an extrovert and to some extent a people’s person. Cyril, on the other hand, is a little quieter. He happens to be the outside face of the company and Vandana is more in the office. From start to now, both of them share the work desk. Most people in the office know that she is approachable when Cyril is not around. On sharing time outside office, Vandana says, “We don’t travel together except may be for holidays at the end of the year, which we really look forward to.” The company saw its split with Cyril’s brother and set up a new entity in 2015. Last year also saw the firm completing the legacy of 100 years. Talking about the expansion of the firm, Cyril says, “We would like to be a 1,000 lawyer strong firm.”
Three Point Advice to Couplepreneurs
1. Keep ego out: In a marriage, there is no place for ego. If you are trying to be better than each other or taking credit, it won’t work.
2. A shared dream: Ability to focus and be determined to make it happen takes the professional dream together.
3. Don’t take fights beyond a certain time: Discuss it out. Never take it beyond 24 hours. Don’t go to bed angry.
(This article was first published in the March issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)