Lawyer & Philanthropist

THERE IS AN OLD PROVERB USED IN THE VILLAGES OF RUSSIA THAT SAYS – ‘EYES SCARE, BUT HANDS DO.’ SO, STOP WORRYING ABOUT THINGS AND SIMPLY START DOING. YOU WILL NOT EVEN NOTICE THE TIME GO BY AND THE DEED DONE.

His childhood years go back to Nairobi, where amidst hardships, Ramesh dreamt of becoming a successful lawyer someday. Having procured outstanding results in his ‘A’ levels and being recognised as the top all-round student, he found himself at the London School of Economics thanks to the patronage of a family in Kenya – a concrete step towards realising his dream. In what was then perhaps an unprecedented feat of achievement in the United Kingdom, Ramesh was made a salaried partner at a sizeable Central London law firm a mere 18 months after his qualification as a lawyer and in the next two years, he was an equity partner in a top 100 British law firm – one of only 10 from a minority ethnic background.

Ramesh, who has donned the role of mentor to many young lawyers, retired as an equity partner became a Consultant and, over the years, has spent a lot of his time “giving back” to society, by literally climbing mountains for good causes! He has raised, both directly and indirectly, over £1.5 million for various charities, including the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund and Anti-Slavery International, amongst others. In recognition of his social and Charity work, Ramesh was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Years Honours List for 2001. 

An avid traveller, a great lover of the outdoors and physical sports (especially cricket), Ramesh is known for his charm and wit and for his supreme leadership qualities that go hand-in-hand with humility. Having met Her Majesty the Queen, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other world leaders, Ramesh’s biggest inspiration remains Mother Teresa.


My concern is that too many young people follow fashion rather than passion and this leads to so many of them dropping out after organisations have invested a lot of money in training them. Even worse, so many of them end up suffering from depression, anxiety and stress.

What would your advice be to a young person at the start of his or her career and confused about pursuing passion versus being pragmatic?

I would say, ‘Follow your passion and live your dream.’ Success does not always come easily and there is no substitute for hard work. As the late Richie Benaud drily observed – ‘Captaincy is 90% luck and 10% skill. But just a word of warning, do not try it without the skill.’

My concern is that too many young people follow fashion rather than passion and this leads to so many of them dropping out after organisations have invested a lot of money in training them. Even worse, so many of them end up suffering from depression, anxiety and stress. It is estimated that £105.2 million is lost to the British economy through mental illness each year.

I would also advise young people to carefully consider their choice of career. The legal profession is at a saturation point in the United Kingdom and yet lots of young people are studying law at university and then finding out that they cannot go any further as there are not enough training contracts. Many of these young people become paralegals (highly qualified clerks providing cheap labour with no certainty of a career).

Ramesh-1What are the new trends you notice that are changing the complexion of your profession? How do you see this profession faring 20 years down the line?

The delivery process has changed beyond all recognition. There is no place to hide. The technological world we live in means clients demand instantaneous and intelligent responses. It does, however, mean that there is an even greater need for proper reflection as many an email sent in a hurry has caused both pain and embarrassment.

The average working day has increased by 15% in the last decade and the time available to make a decision has dropped by 45%. Communication is constant and the time to just stop and think is non-existent.

Law firms are no longer just lifestyle practices but serious businesses. There are regular appraisals where results, in terms of client wins and fee income, determine futures.

Law firms can be constituted differently and some have also become ABSs (Alternative Business Structures) which allow non-lawyers, e.g. accountants to become part of the same business.

The most successful firms are either international or boutique structures. The days of the high street practices in the United Kingdom are numbered.

What do you do when you are stuck with a problem?

If possible, I take time out and do something different e.g. go for a run or do some physical exercise and return to the problem with, hopefully, a clear mind. Some people meditate before a difficult task, as they find it brings focus and clarity. ‘Transition from reaction to response can really benefit from the interjection of mindfulness,’ I believe.

What are your views on collaborative thinking?

Collaborative thinking is important, but it is equally important for each member of the team to be a leader sometimes and a fully participating member at other times. When you see a flock of birds in the sky, each bird takes its turn in leading, and this ensures no bird gets too tired.

The essential thing is to contribute in every situation but we must remain mindful of the view that a camel is a horse created by a committee! A camel does have its uses but only in a desert!

To achieve excellence is to constantly question and support your colleagues with unending positivity. Let your colleagues challenge you; think bigger and be bolder.


To achieve excellence is to constantly question and support your colleagues with unending positivity. Let your colleagues challenge you; think bigger and be bolder.


The legal profession is at a saturation point in the United Kingdom and yet lots of young people are studying law at university and then finding out that they cannot go any further as there are not enough training contracts.

How do you overcome roadblocks in your profession?

I have been very lucky in not meeting too many roadblocks, but I have always taken the view that you should have a client base and a following and not just be a technician. In any downturn, those who are mere technicians are the first to suffer.

There is an old proverb used in the villages of Russia that says – ‘Eyes scare, but hands do.’ So, stop worrying about things and simply start doing. You will not even notice the time go by and the deed done.

Did you ever want to change the world?

All the time! There is a responsibility on each of us to leave a meaningful footprint!

What’s your advice for a resume that’s just about to enter circulation? What are the musts it should have that recruiters look for? And the absolute don’ts, if any?

Keep it short, relevant and honest!

Differentiate and sell yourself in the first few sentences. If a resume does not grab the prospective employer/HR team in the first minute, your CV could end up in a bin and the opportunity lost!

Also, perhaps write a sentence or two as an introduction about yourself, something along the lines of a personal statement.

And please do not send your photograph unless requested!

How does one network in the beginning to get that initial presence felt, in this profession?

First and foremost, produce quality work to get noticed; then demonstrate people skills in terms of coming across as a warm, interesting person who has an ability to listen and listen with empathy. Finally, follow up within 24 hours or you will be forgotten!

Do not pretend and do not lie, because business development people will read you like a book; their skills involve smelling a rat from a mile!

Specific advice for ladies: Please please do not underestimate yourself and do not dumb yourself down.

Never say that there is something you cannot do, first say you will try and that you will ask questions when there is something you do not understand.


Specific advice for ladies: Please please do not underestimate yourself and do not dumb yourself down.

Interview conducted by Pooja Pande.