By Rachel Hewitt
For MLS alumna Priyadarshani Sherchan, moving from her home in Nepal to set up a law firm in Bangalore has proved to be very rewarding.
Working in India has provided Priyadarshani Sherchan (MA (Energy & Resources Law) 2015) with the exciting and challenging legal career she hoped for.
Originally from Nepal, Sherchan has just celebrated the second anniversary of Rajaram Legal, a Bangalore-based firm where she is a Partner. She specialises in venture capital and private equity investments and corporate transactions, working across various sectors including e-commerce and digital media.
It’s been a rewarding two years for the MLS alumna, who has helped grow the business from just two associates – herself and the firm’s Founding Partner – to a team of eight.
“My ex-colleague from a law firm that I was engaged with earlier in India wanted to start something and then I joined her,” Sherchan says.
“It’s really exciting because it’s very different when you are managing a firm rather than working for somebody.
“That’s the part I really enjoy about working in India.
I don’t think that’s something I would have been able to do, or maybe I wouldn’t even have the courage to explore, in Nepal.
After graduating from the National Law School of India University, India’s first-ranked law school, in 2008, Sherchan worked in the private equity and venture capital practice of a large Indian firm. She returned to Nepal three years later, joining a Kathmandu firm where her work focussed on the hydropower sector.
Sherchan says the difference between working in corporate law in India and Nepal is “very stark”.
“Especially for a young person and especially a woman to start a career and then continue on – or hope to even make a lot of progress in the field without any family backing – I found … to be a bit challenging in Nepal,” she says.
“There are mostly family-run offices that are passed on from generation to generation – it’s not a very professional set-up.
“If you do a couple of transactions there’s a lot of visibility because it’s a small sector, as opposed to India where the market is huge and therefore for you to stand out you have to be really on the top of the stack.
“I think that challenge is what is exciting.”
In 2014, Sherchan travelled to Melbourne on an Australian Government scholarship to undertake her Masters in Energy and Resources Law at MLS.
Although she had already studied and worked in another country, India seemed “almost like home” because of the cultural similarities with Nepal. Moving to Australia was therefore “the first time to really get out of my comfort zone”, Sherchan says.
To be exposed to students from multiple cultures around the world was very interesting, and then, of course, getting back to the struggles of a student life and how to manage that.
“It was also an important time that I went, with a better understanding of what I wanted in terms of experiences and … learning new skills.”
Sherchan says she holds her University of Melbourne experience “very, very dearly”.
“The kind of network I’ve built and the knowledge I’ve gained from that experience has really helped me.”
After enjoying the “very active” University alumni network in Nepal, Sherchan is keen to explore opportunities to connect with alumni in India.
“Sharing experiences – that has been of tremendous value,” she says.
This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 20, November 2018