Learning pedagogies have been evolving and revolutionising over the past few decades giving birth to new platforms. One such platform is Lawpreneurz, India’s first of its kind digital legal platform that benefits not just law students, practicing lawyers, law firms and budding entrepreneurs but also citizens who wish to learn more about law. In an interview with the man behind Lawpreneurz: Raunaq Kakkar we unraveled the journey that led him to start with the country’s one of its kind legal ed-tech platform.
On being asked who Raunaq Kakkar is he replies, “If I had to define Raunaq in one line, it would be a brat trying to reform. Maybe the journey from being a brat to finding my calling is how I would define myself. I don’t know how people would take that. But I think it’s about being true to yourself. So that led me to start Lawpreneurz. I have no regrets in being a brat”.
Raunaq believes that when you start with a venture, one tends to focus solely on the need. That is, of course, important, but what gives you the edge over others is if you relate to that need, if it affected you personally. Because when you, yourself have been through the problem, it will give you the push to reach out and provide solutions to million others who are going through what you went through. Starting a company from scratch is never an easy task, it requires constant effort and determination. “If you relate to the need, it will drive you to work towards it more than ever, “says Raunaq.
During school days, everyone aspires to become someone. Most of us are brimming with ideas and inklings about what we want to do. We asked Raunaq if he had ever imagined back then that he would be a part of the business world. That’s when Raunaq tells us about how he got into the legal field. He reminisces an incident from his school days and says, “All I knew was what I was not going to do. And that was science and math because I was horrible at both. During my class X board exams, one of my uncles, who was a lawyer in the US, saw me struggling with a physics assignment and told me that even he couldn’t do it and added that a lawyer would never die hungry. That one line that he said made me understand that I did not need science and math to be successful. This led me to start preparing for my Law School Exams”. After preparing for LSAT, Raunaq got into OP Jindal, a premium law school in India that is known for its legal education. For most entrepreneurs, college days are the turning point in their lives. These are the days that define who they are and what they do and it was no different for Raunaq. However, there was a twist in his story.
“I think during my five years in law school, everything went wrong. So that I can today be on the right path”, Raunaq exclaims. He was 18 when he joined Jindal’s residential campus. The first exposure that anyone wants is immediate freedom but not many people can handle that. Raunaq spent more time networking, building bonds with people while academics took a backseat for 5 years and towards the end of the course, he was one of the few students who had to clear 25 papers more than you had to appear for to graduate. However, being the optimistic and confident person that he is, he says, “I made all the wrong decisions in law school, but I have no regrets. Because it’s the decision that has led to me being where I am today being interviewed by you. Had I not made those decisions, maybe we would not be having this interview”.
`The most beautiful aspect about Raunaq that strikes anyone who meets him is how humble and truthful he is and the fact that he takes full responsibility for his actions. Churchill once said that “The price of greatness is responsibility “ and Raunaq lives up to this. He believes that nothing and no one can pull you down if you have the will. Though he had 25 papers to clear, dropping out was never an option for him. He doesn’t have the cliched ‘entrepreneur who dropped out’ story.
He explains, “It was very clear that I have to clear my exams because you spent five years over there. And then if you come out saying sorry, I’m not ready to, you know, go through the last leg up, you can’t focus on your future. So, it’s all on me, everything that I did in those five years. Good, bad, worse than good. It was difficult. When everyone around you is trying to figure out the next thing to do and you’re still stuck there. But I think I’m blessed and fortunate to have an amazing family who not only supported me back then but also supported me in my venture and till date, they do.”
I made all the wrong decisions in law school, but I have no regrets. Because it's the decision that has led to me being where I am today being interviewed by you. Had I not made those decisions, maybe we would not be having this interview.
Raunaq Kakkar, Founder, Lawpreneurz
Acceptance and moving forward
Raunaq has one thing set straight in his mind when you are an entrepreneur and you have a start-up to run, you can’t blame things on others. You have to accept things as they come, the good and the bad. Living in denial will only make things work. His failure story turned out to be an inspiration for hundreds of students who even thanked him after his TED Talks at colleges. From being the student failing exams to giving talks to thousands of students, Raunaq has only moved on to better and bigger things. “Had I not failed? I would not have been here today; I would have been somewhere else. I don’t know, happy, sad, that we will never know”.
When asked about the idea for Lawpreneurz came along, Raunaq tells us that back when he was clearing his exams, he realised he couldn’t go back and learn from his teachers and there were no backup classes or tutorials he could attend to understand legal concepts. When he was in Mumbai, interaction with fellow law students made him realise he wasn’t alone. Many students across India faced the same issue and that’s how he came up with Lawpreneurz.
“No one will sit and teach you legal concepts from scratch in college. There are 1300+ law schools in India and the number is only growing. At any given time, you have 10 lakh law students studying with 60+ students per class and hundreds in each batch. You cannot expect every student to be on the same page all the time because it is not an easy course. And not all colleges provide quality education”, Raunaq continues. Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) coaching is not available to every student out there, even working professionals lack clarity in understanding concepts. That’s where Raunaq ‘s venture comes to play, by creating a platform where every law student or aspiring student gets to be on the same page. “What started as my problem that I did not have any means to go back and learn again made me realize that there is a much bigger problem at hand, which is quality legal education. That’s what we’re trying to achieve at Lawpreneurz”.
Challenges and Success
With a vision to democratise legal education, Lawpreneurz has come a long way today. As Raunaq tells us they get students from all across the country from places so remote you didn’t know they existed! The platform is not restricted to young students, even a vice-principal of a school pursued legal education from their platform. Countless video testimonials from students have helped them grow and develop more and more each day. It doesn’t matter what background you come from, or which law school you went to, the platform is open for all with no bounds in terms of age, finances and geography.
Though it’s a self-funded business at the moment, it hasn’t stopped them from operating. Raunaq says, “It’s not that we are in dire need of funds. But you’ll always be trying to expand. We have expanded nonetheless. We started with five subjects and today, we have 16 subjects, with more in the pipeline. In the month of October, we started preparing students for CLAT and Masters of Law (LLM). In January, we’re going to start preparing students who wish to appear for the judicial services examination. That’s a huge market you’ll see around 70,000 to 80,000 students who appear for that exam every year. But of course, an investor does help in reaching out to your target audience and helping achieve the goal of democratising legal education.”
This is where the background of legal education helped. From Raunaq’s experience, he could relate to the students or their target audience. Your customers are like family, you relate to them so you wish to help them out. Being a digital platform, building trust is very important. If they see you understand their troubles, it builds more trust. Only a handful of entrepreneurs are however able to mix their venture with their experience. It isn’t a mandatory requirement but it helps as in the case of Raunaq. With digital being the future, it takes time to convince people to pay for subscriptions. You will not know whether what you are learning is right or wrong. “We offer free demo lectures, but there is nothing free on the website, if you want to subscribe, you have to pay money because we realized early on that you give it to them for free, then asking them to pay money is a task. Last one year allowed us to test waters, get students on board and get video testimonials. 2020 has been a blessing for us. Not just students, even parents would call telling me that their child cannot go to college or they don’t trust online classes. I don’t want to sound evil, but I think this pandemic is important in the field of law”, Raunaq expresses.
Shortcuts, Ethics, Risks
In business, there are always some easy paths and some difficult ones and there are a plethora of shortcuts available. On being asked if he is willing to bend the ethical line or even cross it, Raunaq humbly replies,
“So, I run a legal platform, I think it’s very important to be ethical. We have experienced a time when we had zero subscribers. We were pumping in money every month and we saw zero return. Some students even said, why don’t you just ask experts to solve our paper. I could have just given it to one of my experts but it would have been morally wrong for us. The whole purpose was to educate and that was more important than shortcuts.”
Running a self-funded start-up especially in the ed-tech industry involves a lot of risks. So much could go wrong and the business could crash. Raunaq believes that as long as you stay true to your vision, risk-taking is just a part and parcel of business. “There may be days you question yourself and your venture if it’ll work out; if it’ll succeed, but just be honest with your work, the rest works out”, adds he. Raunaq is friends with his panel of experts. He loves interacting with his students especially when he is asked to talk in various colleges.
One cannot sit in their little cocoon; you have to go out there and understand and learn from the impact you are making. Throughout the interview, Raunaq was extremely confident and had an edgy honesty in his voice, to which he says, “The first time I gave a talk, I was waiting backstage and I saw hundreds of students filling up the room, and my mind just went ‘I can’t do this’. Since then, I have grown and learnt a lot even though most of my on-stage jokes backfire, the fact that my story inspires them, keeps me going”.
It is never easy to accept failure or move forward from it, it is a painful journey. Raunaq spent days in his bubble escaping people until he finally realised his story could help others and create an impact around him. And this happened only because he accepted that he wasn’t perfect. Every entrepreneur must accept things and move forward. Staying stuck backwards never helps. And every entrepreneur must follow whatever helps him sleep better at night. For Raunaq, as long as he knows he is doing honest work, he sleeps like a peaceful child at night.
There may be days you question yourself and your venture if it’ll work out; if it’ll succeed, but just be honest with your work, the rest works out
- Raunaq Kakkar, Founder, Lawpreneur
Insight into the Founder
We asked Raunaq if there’s anything he would like to change in his past. He replied, “Absolutely nothing. Probably, back and change a slight fumble that I made during my TED Talk, but nothing else.”
According to Raunaq, he is his inspiration. “You can read countless books, you can watch motivational inspiring videos by whether they’re entrepreneurs, or they’re seasoned speakers. You can watch it go to bed. And then again, wake up doing the same thing you were doing before you heard them. If it doesn’t come from within, or I don’t think anyone can inspire you. You’re going to have bad days; you’re going to have horrible days. And it may not just be days, it may be one can even be a year where everything goes wrong. But if it was that easy, everyone would have done it. Just be true to yourself. Some days, you also might end up giving an interview to someone so you never know”. Right before he leaves, Raunaq tells us that if he didn’t have to work, he would spend his whole life underwater or jump out of aeroplanes. “I think every entrepreneur should, once in their life go and experience that because you see an unspoken framework underwater. Everyone knows their role and rules. I would probably spend 10 months underwater and two months jumping out of a plane”, asserts Raunaq. An adventurous person when it comes to business and life, risk-taking is something he enjoys. For as the saying goes, if you aren’t ready to risk for the unusual, you settle for the ordinary.
To read more such inspiring stories, go on and explore the Inspire section of Dutch Uncles –