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Harsha Shivakumar: A Leading Legal Expert In Business

Harsha Shivakumar: A Leading Legal Expert In Business

 Harsha Shivakumar,  General Counsel

Harsha Shivakumar

General Counsel

Harsha Shivakumar's impact on company management is profound and multifaceted. With roles ranging from General Counsel to Founding Partner and Business Development Consultant, Shivakumar demon-strates a rare blend of legal acumen and entrepreneurial spirit. His leadership has been instrumental in guiding companies like Adcuratio Media, Folks Media, Phedora Technologies, and more, through complex legal landscapes and dynamic market environments. As a trusted advisor, Shivakumar's counsel transcends industries, providing invaluable insights and strategic direction to businesses seeking to navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

Through strategic investments and incubations, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of entrepreneurship, fostering inno-vation, and driving growth across diverse sectors. Harsha Shivakumar's unwavering commitment to excellence and his relentless pursuit of success continue to redefine the standards of company management, leaving an indelible mark on the business world.

Could you please provide a brief over view of your professional journey?

Following my completion of schooling, I pursued a degree in business management for my graduation. Subsequently, I relocated to Australia to obtain my Master's degree in International Business and Commerce from Deakin University, Melbourne. Subsequently I returned to India after a few years of work experience and pursued a law degree from Karnataka State Law University, known as KSLU. I then worked under esteemed Senior Advocates before establishing our Law Firm Swamy & Kumar Associates with my Partner Adv. Hiran Krishnaswamy. Our firm quickly gained traction, attracting numerous clients.

Now, we have built a robust team of 6 to 7 advocates, each excelling in different fields. While we initially started with litigation, we have since expanded our services to include a dedicated corporate wing as well. With divided responsibilities, my focus shifted towards handling corporate clients, while my partner took charge of litigation matters.

As someone who values continuous learning and exploration, I remain committed to expanding my knowledge base. I recently completed the Executive Strategic Management Programme at IIM Lucknow, which has further enriched my understanding of strategic management principles. With a deep-rooted passion for learning, I embrace new oppor-tunities for personal and professional growth.

Over time, I became a sought-after General Counsel for international companies venturing into India, particularly within the IT sector. I hold the position of General Counsel and General Manager Legal for two prominent American IT companies operating in India, while also providing legal consultation services to various other business firms. This role has been ongoing for the past two years, following two years of experience in-house and several
years of providing corporate law and counsel services through our firm.

Also, I am expanding my entrepreneurial journey through various startups. Phedora Tech-nologies is our team's new venture, focusing on revolutionizing the Fintech space. We are venturing into larger endeavors, shouldering more responsibilities, and aiming for comprehensive growth altogether.

What keeps you motivated nowadays to manage your daily operations?

I find motivation in establishing a streamlined and automated process that encompasses compliance and statutory obligations. I believe that these processes should be automated since the parameters are well-defined. Combining my background in law with the IT field, I see a natural synergy between the two. I envision a future where both industries merge into a cohesive system for handling statutory and compliance obligations, similar to the faceless system adopted by the Income Tax department.

My objective is to contribute to improving the ease of doing business in India by addressing challenges faced by international clients in setting up their operations or back offices in the country. This involves building trust, shouldering responsibilities, and leveraging the expertise of corporate lawyers to bridge the gap between India and the global business landscape.

Harsha Shivakumar's unwavering commitment to excellence & his relentless pursuit of success continue to redefine the standards of company management, leaving an indelible mark on the business world

Could you provide insights into the current state of legal compliance and business strategies, particularly in the context of accuracy and trustworthiness?

Certainly. In today's business landscape, the intersection of legal compliance and business strategies is more critical than ever. As an entrepreneur deeply immersed in both realms, I understand the significance of accuracy and trustworthiness in fostering sustainable growth and maintaining positive relationships with stake-holders.

Businesses must navigate a complex web of regulations and ethical considerations while striving to meet the needs and expectations of their clients. By prioritizing trans-parency, honesty, and integrity in all aspects of operations, companies can build lasting trust and credibility within their industries.

From my perspective, success lies not only in achieving business objectives but also in doing so in a manner that aligns with legal requirements. Additionally, under-standing the client and building a good relationship allows for working smarter. Moreover, the law empowers me to pursue tasks in my own way. This approach not only safeguards against legal risks but also lays the foundation for my long-term success and meaningful relationships, fostering trust with clients and partners.

Can you explain your leadership style? What are some key principles or guidelines you adhere to as a leader to effectively manage your team?

One prominent aspect of my
leadership style is leading from behind instead of leading from the front. While conventional wisdom often emphasizes leading from the front, I believe effective leadership involves observing from the back. This perspective allows me to see the bigger picture, including what my team is doing and what challenges lie ahead. By leading from behind, I can better understand the dynamics within my team.

In addition to this approach, I value recognizing individual potential and achievements. I understand that not everyone has the same capabilities or reaches the same level of potential. Therefore, when someone exceeds their own potential, it's crucial to acknowledge and appreciate their efforts. This recognition fosters a positive work environment where individuals feel valued and motivated to perform at their best.

Furthermore, I believe in aligning all team members with the company's goals and objectives. While tasks are delegated and completed as per the strategy set by the C-suite, it's essential for everyone in the hierarchy to understand and work towards the broader corporate objectives. This alignment leads to improved collaboration, harmony, and ultimately, the successful achievement of corporate goals.

What are the significant challenges you faced during your professional journey and the lessons you learned from overcoming these obstacles?

One major challenge I encountered was transitioning from a litigating lawyer in India to working in the corporate sector with an international focus. Initially, I realized that our education system tends to be inward-focused, emphasizing national boundaries and regulations. However, when interacting with global peers like general counsels and attorneys from other countries, I realized the importance of having a broader, global perspective. This required me to level the playing field by under-standing international objectives, rules, and boundaries, and adapting to a more globalized outlook.

Another challenge I faced was the high expectations and res-ponsibilities associated with being a counsel. People often look to you for guidance and expect you to have in-depth knowledge about various subjects, even if they are not directly related to your field. This pressure can be overwhelming, but I saw it as an opportunity to expand my knowledge base and become a more strategic player within the company.

To address these challenges and enhance my skill set, I continuously pursue and expand my educational background. Through these endeavors, I have come to understand the paramount importance of continuous up-skilling and adaptation in the corporate environment, irrespective of one's age or position within the company. My advice to fellow counselors is to prioritize upskil-ling to maintain competitiveness and effectiveness in today's dynamic business landscape.

Harsha Shivakumar, General Counsel, Swamy & Kumar Associates

Harsha Shivakumar, a graduate of Deakin University, Melbourne, distinguishes himself as a General Counsel proficient in navigating International Law, Dispute Resolution, International Contracts, FDI, and Corporate matters. His expertise encompasses startup investments, incubations, and advisory counsel in Real Estate, Construction, and renewable energy sectors, ensuring legal compliance while driving growth and success for the company.

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