But making a difference in this regard is legal expert PS Surana, the brain behind the successful Surana and Surana International Attorneys. It has been rated the largest firm in South India and ranked among the top in India.
PS Surana attributes his success to hard work and having an open mind in accepting international practices. At a time when it was thought standardisation was confined more to the manufacturing sector, Surana got his law firm certified by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Now, the International Law Centre has the rare distinction of being the World’s first ISO 14001 and SA 8000 (2204) certified law firm and Asia’s first ISO 9002 Certified law firm.
Surana, a student of commerce, went into law, being inspired by freedom fighters, like Gandhi and Nehru, who were all advocates at first. “I entered the High Court with fond hopes of making a difference to people’s lives. But then the tough competition there threw up a different world and what held me together was my refusal to lose out on principles and values for quick money. What needs to be done today must be done now and advice must be practical and legally perfect,” Surana said.
His first breakthrough came in 1971 when a case pertaining to export and import took him to Italy. The cogency of his arguments before the judge won him a favourable order the same day. Today, he is looked upon as a goodwill ambassador between countries. Government delegations from the United States, Uruguay and Brazil visit his law firm to thrash out issues that can ease trade.
Though a sense of regret prevails that he could not become a judge, Surana’s philosophical approach is based on positive acceptance: whatever happens, happens for the good. Even when it comes to fighting cases, Surana says, “A bad settlement is better than a good victory in court. Most times a contest in court can drag on for 10 years, and the victory thereafter makes no sense. But unreasonable demands ought to be taken to court to ensure that justice prevails.”
He has principles that he espouses firmly: for example, he accepts no legal work, however lucrative, from the alcohol, tobacco, meat and gaming industries. “What actually takes one to the top legally is hard work and values,” he says, urging aspiring advocates to not sell their souls to make money.
Surana’s wife, Leela Surana, co-founder of the firm, is an advocate too and so is their son, Vinod and daughter-in-law Rashmi. Together they form a formidable force and one happy family.