Lessons from Leaders: Renowned Dubai-based lawyer Ashish Mehta says young lawyers must be willing to take on responsibility, and be dedicated and disciplined
What are the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
Most young lawyers want to get into the profession because it sounds fashionable to be a lawyer, but they aren’t willing to take on responsibility, or be dedicated and disciplined. They want quick rewards without putting in much effort. There are other challenges in the industry as well. One of them is the growing need for law firms to now act like business advisers.
Clients don’t come to lawyers for a black-letter law solution anymore but for practical advice as well that they can easily apply to their business. This changing nature of legal work requires lawyers to have a wider range of skills, such as the ability to understand the business world and its effects.
Has social networking impacted your organisation or yourself, personally?
It has made a huge positive impact on our profession as well. It makes clients and others well aware of the type of work we undertake, makes it easier and more accessible for them to contact us, and also helps promote the accolades we receive. It also enables us, as a firm, to stay up to date with industry trends.
Do you value education or experience? What is the biggest determinant of a person’s progress at a company or in the industry?
In the legal profession, a person must first have the requisite qualifications, so education is obviously important. Post education, it is all a matter of gaining good experience that’s how you learn the the tricks of the trade. However, setting foot in the legal industry is not always easy, which is why our firm always gives young lawyers an opportunity to join us. How else will they ever gain any experience?
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day usually starts early at 5:30am when I spend an hour or so in the gym. I am in the office by 8:30am and my time is spent meeting with clients, reviewing matters with my team, and supervising their work. I also often have business lunches. Once I’m home, I spend time with family but make sure to be in bed by 10pm so that I’m fresh the next morning.
Can you name a person who has had an impact on you as a leader or a mentor? How did this person impact your life?
My friend, mentor and guide, Salman Khurshid, a leading Oxford educated senior lawyer and former Indian cabinet minister who is also a school alumnus. I tended toward mischief at school and he took it upon himself to channel my energy in a direction. He saw my potential and decided to help me focus on the legal profession.
What are characteristics that you believe all leaders should possess?
Take responsibility for failure and always do things in the best interests of all. Also, the ability to be a motivator.