Tallina Patnaik

Senior Associate, J. Sagar Associates, India 

What does your current job involve?
I am currently working with J. Sagar Associates (JSA), a leading national law firm in India. It is a full service law firm which provides legal advice and services to international and domestic clients. My practice covers diverse areas of Corporate Commercial Laws including Private Equity Investments, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business Transfers, Foreign Direct Investments in India and Joint Ventures. My role in these transactions includes conducting due diligences, negotiating and drafting of commercial contracts and rendering strategic and regulatory advice. I am also engaged in development of the Defence & Internal Security practice of the firm and have assisted clients in complex foreign direct investment areas, offset requirements, retention of intermediaries, industrial licensing and government procurement issues.

How has your career progressed?
In 2009 I started off as a trainee associate and within the next year I was promoted as an associate in the Corporate Commercial team of JSA which was a fairly large team. During the initial years most of my time at work was spent on research in specific areas of law, undertaking due diligences which was a combination of reviewing of agreements for a transaction, and preparation of due diligence reports, drafting of opinions and memorandums on various aspects, and assisting with incorporation of new companies. As an associate, I was also involved in drafting research papers on cross-border M&A transactions from an Indian law perspective for the American Bar Association. In 2013 I was promoted to the position of Senior Associate, which I continue to hold. As a Senior Associate, I am responsible for running transactions, drafting of the key transaction documentation, participating in numerous calls and meetings with the client and the other side, including negotiating the contents of the documentation.

How did Lancaster Law School prepare you for your career?
The legal training received in Lancaster has helped me immensely in developing my legal skills and knowledge and influenced my decision to become a corporate commercial lawyer. Apart from learning the basics of a legal career i.e., conducting effective legal research, legal analysis, policy and writing, the group tutorials held at the Law School taught me how to think critically, gather information, make decisions and more specifically the importance of teamwork. Certain tutorials were designed to prepare us for future practice in corporate settings and introduced us to corporate legal issues such as contract negotiation, dispute resolution, and joint ventures.

What did you find most valuable about your time at Lancaster University? 
The quality of teaching, the level of student-teacher interaction, and the multi-disciplinary and practical approach to teaching offered at the Law School.

What career advice would you give a current student? 
I would advise current law students to focus on their grades because in my experience grades play a big role in getting interviews. Secondly, it is also important to gain experience i.e., legal internships while in Law School. Although it is desirable to have a paid internship, one can also look at volunteering and unpaid internships as they also give hands on training for students.