a special supplement of ACC Docket 7
FOSTERING THE IN-HOUSE COMMUNITY IN INDIA: A CONVERSATION WITH PRAMOD RAO OF CITIBANK
During the interim, Rao remained committed to serving the needs of the Indian legal
community. He joined the Fundraising and
Resource Mobilization Committee of the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA)
— a nonprofit, which encourages people of all
socioeconomic platforms to apply to India’s
top law schools. The organization has, since
its formation in 2010, funded the education of
over 60 law students.
“IDIA is a great institution,” he shares. “I feel so
grateful to be a part of this network of support.”
While his experience at IndusLaw allowed
him to expand his charitable work, it didn’t
take long for him to realize that he missed the
in-house profession. After a year at the law
firm, he accepted his current position of gen-
eral counsel for Citibank in India.
“Harking back to when I started my career
journey, being in-house counsel is what I trea-
sure most about my job,” he reflects. “And that’s
when the opportunity at Citibank happened.
I’ve been there for three and a half years and
haven’t looked back.”
In 2015, he was appointed as the chair of Citi
India’s Diversity Council — which helps drive
inclusive policies within the company. To Rao,
this opportunity serves as a perfect counter-
balance between the global legal issues that
motivated him and the diversity initiatives that
As chair of the diversity council, he has
played a pivotal role in seeking inclusion opportunities for women and those with disabili-ties. This has served to position Citi as a go-to
diversity and inclusion workplace in the region
— attracting superior talent as a result.
Citi India has also provided opportunities to
serve on several industry forums’ and provides
Rao with a unique in-house voice to help shape
regulation in the country.
“Working with industry bodies and committees allows in-house counsel to uniquely
contribute to policymaking by providing a
voice to regulators and other influencers. I’ve
been quite grateful to Citi in affording me these
opportunities,” he says.
When asked about specific policy matters affecting his legal team, Rao was quick to mention
the demonetization of currency in India. In an
effort to combat counterfeit currency from entering the economy and to combat the menace
of tax evasion, the Indian government recently
announced a countrywide removal of all 500
and 1000 Rupee notes from circulation. While
many have criticized the decision for being a
costly, and labor-intensive process, Rao believes
that it will further India’s financial strength.
“For the first couple of weeks, the public at
large took a bit of stress because of demoneti-
zation. However, from a banking perspective, it
is indeed a hump that has been overcome and
you can see that positive results have occurred
quickly. I believe, ultimately, that most indus-
tries coped quite well.”
Recently, Citi has taken steps to create an
additional APAC legal hub in Mumbai — in ad-
dition to hubs in Hong Kong and Singapore. To
Rao, this decision creates an essential road for
the next generation of in-house counsel in India.
“There is still quite a journey to be accomplished to reach the levels of what we see in
Europe or the United States. But, I think that
it’s a journey well begun,” he predicts.
While his position at Citi provides him with
the opportunity to relocate, he would much
rather stay in India and witness the continued
growth of a community that has supported him
throughout his professional career.
“When I look around Mumbai and India
through an economic lens, I don’t think there is
anywhere else in the world that is more exciting,” he says. AB