Thavakumar obtained his LLB (Honours) from University of London in 1989 and was admitted to the English Bar at Middle Temple. He went on to obtain his LLM from University Of London and was admitted to the Malaysian Bar, and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Thavakumar practised in Kuala Lumpur as an Advocate &Solicitior becoming a partner in 1998.
Thavakumar joined Shell Malaysia in KL in 2000 and served 12 years during which time he held various positions including General Counsel of Shell Malaysia, leading a team of up to 26 lawyers.
He was elected President of the Malaysian Corporate Counsel Association in 2011. In 2012, he joined SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad as VP Legal Affairs and in 2015, he also took on responsibilities as the Head of Group Legal.