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India’s Top Lawyers & their formula for success- Part 4 (Harish Salve)

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India’s Top Lawyer Harish Salve is our all-time favorite professional. The one that we aspire to be. He is a role model for all professionals on how one can balance professional work with personal life and work hard while enjoying the fruits of that work.

Salve also represents the ideal mix between technical perfection and raw aggression in the Courtroom.

The best thing about Harish Salve is that he is a “thinking” counsel in the sense that when you pose your problem to him, he is thinking beyond the contours of the law. He is also thinking of the problem from a businessman’s perspective. And so, when he is arguing the point in Court, Salve is able to slip in a practical example of how the non-acceptance of his point will adversely affect business prospects.

Also, Harish Salve’s training as a Chartered Accountant has given him an edge over all others. In matters involving complex accounting or finance issues, you can see that while the other counsel are sub-consciously feeling that their knowledge is inadequate and are diffident in their presentation to the Court, Salve has no such complexes. He knows that there is no one in the Courtroom who knows the subject better than him and this gives him an air of superiority which he exploits to the core.

Harish Salve is capable of immense hard work and has a never-say-die approach. We saw this in full force in the celebrated Vodafone matter where despite having successively lost two times before the High Court and having a seemingly un-stateable case, he did not give up. He was continuously at work, 24 by 7, reading and re-reading hundreds of judgments, developing new arguments, refurbishing the old ones, drafting and re-drafting written submissions, always confident in the strength of his case. Such was Harish Salve’s dedication to the matter, that he gave up all other matters to focus on the Vodafone matter.

Also, because he knew he would be distracted in Delhi, Harish Salve took up temporary residence in London and arranged for his entire office to be relocated there so that he could focus exclusively on the Vodafone matter.

In all the interviews that he gave in the wake of the spectacular Vodafone success, Harish Salve emphasized one point again and again. The need for hard work and industry if one wants to be a good lawyer. “You must have the ability and the desire to work long hours with great concentration and enthusiasm. You must keep thinking about the matter and always keep your mind open for fresh ideas. And you must never give up” he said.

After the back-to-back success in the Vodafone & Reliance matters, Harish Salve has become everybody’s lucky mascot. He is the must-have counsel for everyone. Fees are no question. However, refreshingly, Harish Salve hasn’t taken any advantage of the situation. Instead, his fees are still very reasonable at Rs. 3 to 5 lakhs for an appearance. That speaks volumes for the thorough gentleman and professional that Harish Salve is.



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