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Rouse in Profile: Lukman Hakim Basir

Published on 28 Feb 2024 | 4 minute read
Personality traits and philosophical approach of the bass guitarist

Lukman is a Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution Team of Suryomurcito & Co., a Rouse network firm.  He has extensive experience assisting both multinational and domestic companies with a wide range of IP matters, both dispute and commercial.

Lukman has been passionate about music making and bass guitar since junior high school days. He joined a band then, and has rarely been out of a band ever since.  It is a hugely important part of his life.  So is the Law.  Music making and legal practice are complementary in a variety of ways; for example, both involve creativity, interpretation, problem solving, discipline and hard work.  In the complex and nuanced role of the bass guitarist, the level of complementarity is particularly high.

The bass, drums and percussion make up the rhythm section, or foundation, of any band. The bass, however, goes beyond rhythm: it acts as a bridge between the rhythmic pulse of the drums and percussion and the melodic voices of other elements of the band.  A bassist adapts his playing to the demands of the song:  he might, for example, play a simple root note for one entire song, then unleash intricate and complex lines in the next.   He must be versatile, flexible,  and a good listener, always open to the music and aware of what the band is doing.  He also needs to be a problem solver and good communicator, intuitively responding to complex situations and helping the band find the sound it wants, while at the same time avoiding friction among band members.  These skills are all directly transferable to the legal profession, where the ability to analyse complex situations and material, find solutions, and work harmoniously within a team are crucial. 

At school in Jakarta, Lukman was much more interested in the band than he was in schoolwork.  His parents were not musical and didn’t specifically encourage his interest, but they did tolerate it, probably thinking he could be doing much worse things than playing in a band.  When he began neglecting his schoolwork, however, and thinking of a career in music, his mother started to worry.  She was adamant that he should go to university and qualify for a profession  - if he wanted to continue playing in bands he could do so, but only in his spare time.  Lukman initially resented this, but by the time he was finishing senior school - and probably much to his mother’s relief - he had changed his mind, become serious about study, and was aiming to get into a good University.  He had probably been influenced, at least to some extent, by seeing that a couple of his older friends, who had decided to pursue a career in music, were struggling to survive. 

At this point, he was committed to a university education, but had no idea what he wanted to study.  He discussed the matter at length with his father and they concluded that two of his main strengths were problem solving and dealing with people.  He really enjoyed listening to people’s problems and helping find solutions, something that seemed to come naturally to him: it was a role he had fallen into automatically in the band.  Probably no coincidence that he was the bass guitarist!  The obvious study choices seemed to be Psychology or Law, both, in different ways, focusing on helping people solve problems.   His parents steered him towards the Law as probably the sounder profession, and when later he saw, and was impressed by, some high-profile lawyers on television, he was happy to go along with their suggestion.

He enrolled at the University of Padjadjaran, one of Indonesia’s top five universities, located in the city of Bandung, about 155 km from Jakarta. It was the first time he had lived out of Jakarta and initially found life there very strange.  Whereas in Jakarta he always had a personal car to take him everywhere, here he travelled on public transport.  It was a completely different culture:  much more open, and young people seemed to have much more freedom.  By his second year, he was beginning to enjoy being there, and that year he encountered Intellectual Property for the first time.  He knew at once that he had found his niche.  Here was an area of the Law that dealt with artistic creativity, and where his musical background would be directly relevant.   When he graduated, he looked for an Intellectual Property position and was taken on as an intern for one year with Baker & McKenzie in Jakarta.  At the end of the year, keen to learn more about IP, he enrolled for a Masters Degree in Intellectual Property at the University of Manchester in the UK.

While at both the University of Padjadjaran and the University of Manchester, he had continued playing in bands in his spare time.  There has really never been a time when he has not been part of a band.  These days, however, with heavy work commitments and less time, it is not possible to have a regular fixed engagement, so the bands Lukman plays in tend to perform at single gigs or functions. His current band, The Sweets, is now planning to play at weddings. 

Lukman says that playing with the band keeps him sane.  If work is stressful, or the hours particularly long, he is completely restored by a session with the band.  He remains as passionate about the bass guitar as he was when he first picked one up, not just because of the sound it makes, but also because of the role it plays in the band.   This is his philosophy of the bass player:  “ You can be a vital part of the team, a cornerstone, without needing to be in the spotlight.  People might not always notice you - but they would if you were not there”.   As a leading American bassist has put it: “The bassist is the glue that holds everything together, the mortar between the bricks”.  Not bad qualities for a lawyer!

Here is a video of a performance by Lukman and his band

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Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100
Rouse Editor
+44 20 7536 4100