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"You are as good as your last mistake. Do it as if it were your last matter"

Shardul Shroff, Executive Chairman, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
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Shardul Shroff, Executive Chairman, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.

Q. What was the problem that you were grappling with?

A. As a family of lawyers, when you are working, you feel you can make a mistake. Or you actually make a mistake. As lawyers, we draft pleadings, we look at case law. If you wrongly interpret something or wrongly write a principle, you lose in the courts during argument.

Q. Who did you approach and why?

A. I got advice from my father (Suresh A. Shroff), who was the head of the firm at that time.

Q. What was the advice?

A. My father said, "You are as good as your last mistake". That gave me a direction for the future, that whatever preparation you do, do it as if it were your last matter. If you make a mistake, you won't get anything more. So, put in the care and caution, and make the best effort every time. Don't be lackadaisical because a mistake can hurt your future. That advice stood me in good stead throughout my life.

In every matter or aspect or any transaction that I did, I did with detailed inputs. I didn't do anything slipshod. I put in a lot of refinement in the way the product was to be delivered. That's how I employed that principle that you should not be making a mistake because you have to pay for your mistake.

You look at things a lot more carefully and put in a lot more effort than what a junior would. You see it with the eyes of a senior, and therefore you do better. I have done about 39 years of law practice. With that age, you make out immediately whether it's a good product or not.

Q. How effective was it in resolving the problem?

A. Our success rate shows that. We have a very high success rate except in hopeless cases which are more bad facts than good facts. Our error rate would be no more than 5 per cent. A 95 per cent success rate is very high when the global average rate would be 70-75 per cent.

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