GC Spotlight: Navrita Kaur discusses upskilling her team to bring more to the table.

This month we have Navrita Kaur under the spotlight.  Since 2022, Navrita has been serving as Group Chief Legal Officer (GCLO) of Microlink Solutions Berhad, providing expert and strategic legal advice to senior management on a wide range of matters. She is heavily involved in corporate exercises undertaken by the Group, responsible for the negotiation of commercial IT contracts as well as drafting key policies.

Prior to joining Microlink, Navrita was the Group General Counsel and then subsequently GCLO of the Omesti Group. Navrita’s work has earned numerous honours, including Finalist in the Asian Legal Business (ALB) South East Asia Law Awards 2023 in both the Young Lawyer of the Year (In-house) and  Woman Lawyer of the Year (In- house) categories as well as Finalist in the Legal 500 Southeast Asia Awards 2023 for the In-house lawyer of the Year category. Navrita was also included in the Legal 500 GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2022 and the inaugural Legal 500 GC Powerlist Malaysia 2023.

1. Hi Navria, can you tell us a little about your role and journey into law? What excites you outside of work? 

I think law was one of those things I decided quite early on in life I would like to pursue. I am not entirely sure why, but there was something about the concept of justice and advocating for people that perhaps attracted me to it at a very young age. Prior to going in-house, I was a dispute resolution lawyer. I worked with some notable and exceptional lawyers in the industry and learnt so much from them, lessons which I still carry with me to date.  The opportunity to go in-house for me came at a very unexpected time and it was quite daunting, it being a pivot from litigation to corporate law. I was well aware that I would be leaving familiar territory for something unknown but I pushed myself to do it and the rest is history as they say. I currently head the legal department in Microlink Solutions Berhad, a Malaysian public listed company specialising in providing IT solutions for various sectors including telecommunications, the public sector and financial institutions.

Outside of work, I am a mom of 2 beautiful girls, and I love looking at the world through their eyes – they teach me so much and keep me young! I also love a good workout, something I turned to during the pandemic to keep sane but now thoroughly enjoy. 

2. As a Group Chief Legal Officer, what are some of the challenges that keep you up at night? How are you addressing them? 

For me, the main challenge is to ensure that things don’t fall between the cracks and my team and I keep on top of everything. The other challenge is to position the department as an asset, and not just a cost centre. We are there to help safeguard the company’s success whilst navigating potential risks.

I address these challenges by always emphasizing to my team to pay just as much attention to the smaller details – nothing is too insignificant, and our main task is to safeguard and protect the company’s interests. I also encourage them to sit down with the business units and get a feel of a project as early on as possible so that they can provide holistic advice and flag out issues from the outset.

3. What do you think about the use of LegalTech, data analytics and process optimisation to improve your legal department's value? 

These things are no longer a matter of if, but rather when. Legal departments need to first identify what is the issue they want to address, and then explore and find the best possible tool to assist them in addressing these issues. Once this is put into motion, the value add that the legal department can provide in terms of more subjective human elements like expertise, judgment and knowledge will be very significant.

4. What trends do you expect to see in the legal services industry in the next 5 years? 

Legal automation or the adoption of legal technology is the first thing that comes to mind. More legal departments are going to move towards automating their processes and contracts, in order to free up time to focus on more substantial legal work.

As the role of in-house lawyers evolve, upskilling of lawyers is also something that will need to be given serious consideration, if you want to have a competitive edge and bring more to the table than just your legal expertise. Already many in-house lawyers are at the forefront of environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives within their respective companies. Some are also actively involved in drafting policies promoting diversity, equity and inclusion at the workplace as well as heading up compliance functions.

5.  Your favourite tune? And why? 

There are too many, but I would say one that has stayed a favourite would be Where is the Love? by Black Eyed Peas. The lyrics resonate even today, with all that is happening around the world. I am also a big fan of Whitney Houston and many of her songs rank amongst my favorites too.

Lily Evans and Navrita Kaur