In this rather special episode, I speak with Sachin Malhan, co-founder of Agami about how we can systematically unlock innovation in law and justice in India. Sachin and his team at Agami are patiently knitting the infrastructure we need to foster entrepreneurship at scale.

This conversation with Sachin, though planned for about an hour, ended up being around 2 hours because I couldn’t stop myself from seeking answers and digging deeper about how we as a society bring change in our ailing legal sector. This is Part 1 of the conversation.

Episode highlights

What is Agami? Why does it exist?

  • Coming from a law background, both Agami founders Sachin Malhan and Supriya Sankaran wanted to bring something different and bring a lot more innovation and changemaking in law and justice in India.

  • Law and justice, in particular, is an area that is very stuck, partly because of how dominated by “expertise” it is.

  • Driven by that idea, they both wanted to create a movement for entrepreneurship innovation and change-making in law and justice.

  • See 0:53

End goal

  • The endpoint of this movement would be a change in people’s mindset that the law and justice are changeable. This mindset change will come from the citizens having the power, and the agency, to affect outcomes of their own fate.

  • See 4:46

Building the ecosystem

  • What does it mean when we say “building an ecosystem”? It means building a supportive environment for new ideas — where ideas are more discovered, there are champions of innovation, and making it possible for potential ideas to go to their full potential.

  • This ecosystem-building is agnostic to a specific area. It could look very different for digital courts and online dispute resolution, but entirely different for building open datasets and public goods.

  • Agami takes on specific areas as “projects” to demonstrate how these

  • See 7:00


Agency as a pain point

  • The feeling of helplessness is pervasive in the legal world, because of the way the system is structured. Lack of agency and our own consequences beyond our own control is a common experience for humans across the world, not excluding India.

  • This feeling of helplessness is taught in childhood and it keeps proving itself as true growing up and seeing how the judicial system works. This is what lack of agency and being dependent on a system that doesn’t work is.

  • There is not just a lack of agency in the legal world, there is a complete supplication of it.

  • See 28:29

How do we bring down the cost of innovation?

  • Sachin talks about how a larger unifying goal for Agami is to ensure that the cost of innovation in law and justice comes down, in all contexts — whether economic, social, or cultural.

  • See 40:57

On the sheer importance of building open data sets

  • Sachin talks about why it is of such excruciating importance to us as a nation to have open datasets of legal/judicial data. It is essential for a nation to have such datasets in an open-source format — to foster innovation and make it easier for entrepreneurs to have access to these critical resources, and also to avoid such goods getting hidden behind corporate walls.

  • See 43:37

Tagging together by similar values

  • Not everyone that does the same thing as you is your competitor. Sometimes having the same vision, mission and goals could lead to a strong collaboration and an amazing job and contribution to the main cause than competing.

  • See 48:13


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