Episode 31

Peak Legal Efficiency: Siddharth Manchanda, IndusLaw Partner & Unacademy External GC

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Introducing Siddharth Manchanda, Partner at IndusLaw and external GC at Unacademy, India’s largest learning platform valued at 3.4 billion dollars.

Finding inspiration to practice law: 1:20

  • Pursuing a career in medicine before enrolling in law school.
  • Comparing the role of an associate in India and the United States.
  • Entering the legal field during the transformation of the Indian economy.

Building a career in India’s tech sector during the Great Recession: 6:40

  • Struggling to find an entry-level role during an economic downturn.
  • An industry resurgence after micro-level shifts and a focus on building for India instead of global markets.
  • Evolving within the start-up ecosystem and learning how it differs from traditional legal work.

Going in-house with Unacademy: 12:59

  • Observing the potential of a client experiencing hypergrowth and taking the opportunity to work with trustworthy founders.
  • Explaining Unacademy, India’s largest learning platform.
  • Democratizing education by offering online entrance exam preparation anywhere in the country.

Key learnings from a first in-house GC role: 17:13

  • Learning and unlearning legal lessons as you work at 100x speed.
  • Not going all in from a legal standpoint from day one in order to allow the business team to experiment.
  • Viewing the business situation from a lens of pragmatism.
  • Presenting your point-of-view to leaders with crystal clarity.

Considering the perception of legal within your organization: 22:21

  • Struggling to measure your legal team’s output in a way that proves success.
  • Developing strategies to assist the core business function, make contracts better, and reduce complaints.
  • Looking to tech to find methods for drafting, executing, managing, and analyzing around 1000 new contracts a month.
  • Analyzing problem statements to develop effective and efficient SOPs.

Reflecting on the early days at Unacademy: 28:32

  • Shifting your team’s mindset away from traditional training to accept tech solutions.
  • Understanding that repetitive and manual tasks prevent lawyers from exercising their strongest skills.
  • Demonstrating speed and efficiency to prove the advantages of tech and AI in contract management.

Marketing reduced contract drafting time internally: 36:32

  • Emphasizing that time saved is time invested elsewhere.

Predicting the future of legal tech: 39:14

  • Finding ways to analyze the bottomless wells of data that firms already have.
  • Fighting back against resistance to change in traditional lawyering. 
  • Asking how tech can increase your efficiency at a fraction of the cost.

Using tech experience to change the way you deal with clients: 46:39

  • Empathizing with clients through a shared understanding of business perspectives.
  • Asking informed questions so that clients know you appreciate their concerns.

Balancing a GC role with a law firm partnership: 49:51

  • Appreciating both sides of the legal equation in simultaneous in-house and client services roles.
  • Leaning on tech solutions to multi-task and becoming a slave to your calendar.

Advice to companies looking to enter the Indian market: 52:27

  • Focusing on what Indian consumers want instead of duplicating what has worked in other countries.
  • Keying into the right metric and Indian sentiment to guarantee success.

What you wish you’d know as a young lawyer: 59:00

  • Recognizing the importance of soft skills like stakeholder management and learning from clients.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Siddharth Manchanda
Partner, IndusLaw. External GC, Unacademy

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