Coveted Legal Counsel
With an enviable list of distinctions from top global law schools with varied international exposure, Richa Pathak is highly coveted in the corporate legal space. Presently the Corporate Legal Counsel for Larsen & Toubro Limited (India), Richa has more than a decade of experience as a transaction lawyer. Further, she is involved in various social activities; is a motivational speaker and a known name in the legal fraternity attending regularly as eminent speaker invited by various global forums.
For someone who grew up wanting to be a doctor, Richa has come a long way. “I wanted to be a Gynecologist but didn’t score well in the entrance exam, and being an only child, my parents were reluctant to send me away. Incidentally, my father is a lawyer too and has served as General Counsel for top real estate companies in India. I thus decided to try law and eventually got through Government Law College (GLC), Mumbai” recalls Richa.
GLC was first in a long line of institutions where Richa excelled. She secured 1st rank in the University of Mumbai (Law Faculty) and was awarded the M.C. Chagla Gold Medal. In her 4th year itself, she got placed with a reputed law firm and worked there for close to six years.
A resilient go-getter, Richa’s biggest turning point came when she was shortlisted for the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch in the Indian Army. During the physical training, she broke her L1 vertebrae. While continuing to be bed-ridden for 2.5 months, she shifted her focus and was determined to continue her aspirations for her further studies,which later saw her coming out with flying colors from London School of Economics and Political Science. “With excruciating pain and my parents’ blessings, I took my dream flight to London,” says Richa with pride.
In London, she worked with the Westminster (Institute of Economic Affairs), S & P Global, and Global Loan Agency Services. Once back, she worked with an NBFC; Tier 1 law firm and later got handpicked as the Group Vice President – Legal for a warehousing and logistics company. During this time, she completed her executive programme from the IIM-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and Strategic Management programme from Wharton School of the University of Penn.
Explaining her quest for learning, Richa says, “The continued learning and up-gradation helps develop new and requisite skills. This is especially useful in the banking & finance, and M & A stream where I come from, as it explores the dynamics of the fast-paced world of money, shares, credit, structuring, analysis and right investment decisions.”
Further, Richa continues to create impact in the industry through various means. “In regard to my role from various practices- infrastructure, M & A, banking and finance, heavy engineering contracts and tenders, etc, the various initiatives by the government are commendable. The most sought after – The PM GatiShakti scheme, is definitely the most significant one out of the many schemes, which is instrumental in bringing down the costs involved in the infra space and is a boon to local industries. I understand that becoming a facilitator in an individual capacity whichever role we cater to, there has to be a level playing field created and a platform that merges technological convergence and market demand in order to help grow & excel as an industry leader,” shares Richa.
Articulate and charismatic, Richa is also a sought-after industry speaker as well as a mentor to students. “In my view motivation to develop a growing enterprise driven by ‘capabilities’, which invests in processes and people who perform value-added activities that will help build a company’s service offerings, is crucial.,” she reveals.
Herself a leader to many, Richa feels others back off from taking the lead as they live with the mistaken belief that leadership are reserved for a select few. “The only way people give away their power is by thinking they don’t have any. If you lead with the idea of serving others, you will not only stand out but also leave a strong and lasting impression,” she states.
Crediting her strength and success to her family, Richa adds, “I am always thankful to God for blessing me with the love and support of parents and the most important person who always pushes me beyond my limit with an unfettered support – my husband Arjun. Completing the circle of love is our 15-month-old daughter Anayra, who makes every moment enjoyable.”
Although young at just 31 years, the past couple of years has seen Richa receive the global recognition she deserves: Indian Achievers Award 2021; Global Choice Award 2022 for Women of Excellence & Leadership (Legal); Lex Falcon Global Award 2022 (Singapore); and ‘Top 100 General Counsel’ power list by Business World, 2022; Young Women Achiever 2022 by Realty+.