As part of our new programme, we’re speaking to various industry leaders to see what daily life looks like for them. This week, we spoke to Jayadeep Bhanudevan (pictured), Founder and Managing Partner of Kuala Lumpur-based Jayadeep Hari & Jamil. The firm has been in the industry for more than 20 years.
Jayadeep has such an interesting and balanced life. He believes that every day has three time sections – “thinking (planning) time, “acting time ” and “down time”. Below are the key take outs from the interview.
1. Plan your day ahead & categorise them
Mornings are Jayadeep’s favourite part of the day. On a typical day, he gets up early in the morning and checks his emails. At this time, he checks the email without taking any action. Soon afterwards, he would plan out his day and list down tasks of the day, considering actions for the emails that he has read. He would set aside half an hour for the planning. His plans will be based on priorities, and will be divided into four categories – “urgent & important”, “urgent but not important”, “not urgent but important” and “not urgent & not important”.
2. Don’t neglect your personal life & reading
After planning his day, Jayadeep would do his household duties for about an hour. He would then have breakfast with his wife before going to work. On his commute to work, he would read the newspaper. According to him, reading and keeping abreast with the current local and international news is very important for those working in the legal industry – you may never know when it comes in handy for your work and during meeting with client!
3. Act on your plan & manage your time
As soon as Jayadeep arrives at the office, he would immediately start doing the tasks he had planned. He would divide his day to four blocks – “9 to 11”, “11 to 1”, “2 to 4″and “4 to 6”. He will strategically plan his work and meetings within these blocks.
4. Respect your “down time”
When Jayadeep arrives home, he would treat it as a “down time”. He will not do office work at home. This is the time he unwinds, by reading, watching some TV and spending quality time with his family.
5. Sometimes you will only know your passion later in life
Jayadeep didn’t know he liked practicing law until he started his STPM. At that time, he didn’t have any specific branch of law to pursue. He even wanted to become a pilot at first. When he earned his degree, he became a research assistant and also started teaching in the U.K. and later, locally getting into practice and was inspired to be a corporate lawyer. It has been his passion ever since.
6. The legal industry can be challenging
What Jayadeep finds challenging in his legal career is breaking the bad news to a client when the case is not progressing well. On top of that, the financial aspect of asking for more funds for trial if the case proceeds to the appellate court.
7. A good lawyer doesn’t just have a good degree, he also has to have the right qualities
One of the most important attributes of a lawyer, according to Jayadeep, is empathy. Treat your clients equally, no matter how much monetary value the case has. The case may mean small to you, but it could mean a life to your client. Other attributes that are equally important for lawyers are logic, thinking on your feet, adaptability and resilience. Also, he emphasised that one’s knowledge ought to be broad-based.
8. Technologies are meant to complement lawyers, not substitute
The emerging of AI and disruptive technologies will definitely impact the legal industry. However, Jayadeep believes that law will never die, as long as system of values is in place. The practice of law will always evolve over time. Lawyers will need to be adaptable and embrace and adopt technologies wherever possible to maximise efficiency. These tools, however, will not replace a lawyer. Strategising and planning must come from the lawyer. It is, therefore, very important for the lawyers to consistently upskill and increase their knowledge, in line with the constant advancements in the field of AI.
9. A word of advice for students aspiring to be lawyers
Jayadeep emphasised to students aspiring to be lawyers to learn how to learn. They need to do their own research and find answers. Do a lot of thinking, and definitely train your mind to think. He also wants the students to understand that law is a journey – there are ups and downs, exciting times and challenging at times. Enjoy your ride, as it’s really a part of life’s long journey and can be as thrilling as you want it to be.