The accidental lawyer has carved an impressive career in a profession that wasn’t his first choice.
--BY AASHIYANA ADHIKARI
Sameer Sharma, managing partner at the prominent law firm S.S Legal, wanted to pursue a career in music. “I never wanted to become a lawyer, I had other professions on my mind,” he says. Not many people know this, but before going to Pune to study law in 1997, Sharma had approached Bangalore University for a graduate course in Music. “Since that did not work out, I got into this profession by default,” he mentions. Only in 1998 did he decide to practice law.
He believes that in both life and work, you must learn to accept your defeats, rebuild your plans and move forward.
Born on May 22, 1978, Sharma lives with his parents, wife and daughter. Sharma completed his schooling and high school from Brihaspati Vidyasadan, Naxal, Kathmandu. He then went to pursue Law studies from Pune University in Pune, India. He completed his five-year law course in 2003 and started practising law immediately after his return to Nepal.
According to Sharma, joining a legal profession was the last thing on his mind even though he comes from a family of lawyers. His great grandfather was the founding treasurer of the Nepal Bar Association, his grandmother’s brother was a lawyer, and his father is a lawyer.
The major challenge while initially practising law was language. “Initially during my practice, when some seniors used specific legal terms it was quite difficult to understand,” he says, adding, “Many terms are from the Arabic and Urdu, so it was challenging, but like everything, with time it became easier.”
When he started his practice in 2003, the legal sector was entirely different from what it is now. He says people sought legal help only when there was a conflict between two parties, but now the situation has completely changed. “People have become more aware regarding the legalities of any company or even personal property matters. Hence, they resort to legal contracts and lawyers beforehand.”
He also says, the wave of corruption within the legal sector cannot be ignored. “Some lawyers take up every kind of work and promise to get the job done even then don't deliver on that promise. This has given rise to the notion that lawyers, in general, are corrupt,” mentions Sharma. “To change the perception that not all lawyers are corrupt has been a challenging task.”
Sharma says he enjoys being a lawyer, but it is a demanding profession and one that requires him to be up to date with all the laws and policies that frequently change in the context of Nepal. “Abroad there is a centric law system which means that if one is a corporate lawyer one only has to be updated with corporate-related legalities, but in Nepal even though we look after corporate and tax laws and its legalities, we have to be updated with every other legality. You might not know what will come up for you.”
Passionate about music, Sharma used to be in a band in the mid nineties where he used to perform in gigs and concerts in different cities. “I still am very passionate about music and have a guitar inside my office, but I rarely have time to play music. So, right now, time is spoiling the relationship between me and my guitar.”
According to Sharma, his major turning point in life was when he argued his first case in the Supreme Court. “In university, I used to be involved in many moot court discussions and law reviews but arguing my first case in the Supreme Court gave me the confidence to show that I can argue a case at the highest level and be in this profession in the long run.”
Sharma joined Entrepreneurship Organization (EO) recently in December 2018. EO is a global peer-to-peer network of over 12,000 influential business owners with 160 chapters in 50 countries. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, contributing to greater success in business and beyond. EO Nepal, which was established in 2003, is one of the 160 chapters of the global organisation. Currently, it has 61 members.
“It’s just been a while since I’ve joined EO, I am looking forward to meeting like-minded people in different professions and from different walks of life,” mentions Sharma. “Also, I am very enthusiastic about the learning events that they organise and cannot wait to attend one soon.”
Despite all that is said about regrets, Sharma believes that one should have regrets or else that person will not grow in life. “I believe that one should have regrets regarding what they have done because making mistakes is a part of the learning process and it helps you outgrow the mistakes and move forward.”
Five years down the line, he wants his profession to grow in general not only for him but also for all the lawyers in Nepal. “There is new work coming up in corporate law in Nepal, so our plan for the next five years is to be in tune with the law and try to mitigate more corporate cases,” mentions Sharma.